a christmas horror

Let's set the scene:

Your gorgeous, children bound down the stairs Christmas morning, complete with bed head and holiday pjs (possibly opened the night before).  Their eyes widen and the magic of the holiday engulfs them.  One shrieks with delight as he opens the ONE gift he was hope, hope, hoping for!

"Can I open it up?"

"Of course, baby!"

wait for it....wait for it.... wait for it....

"Honey don't cry.  Daddy just has to find a pair of pliers and a screwdriver."

What has caused this Christmas horror?  Toy packaging!  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  Here are few images to simply remind you of the hassle you are about to encounter:

I am not sure the purpose for these torture devices.  Display?  Safety?  Theft?  One of the great mysteries of my world.  Learning many painful lessons, I now swoop in with a preemptive strike.  Before I wrap those little treasures-I make sure it is easy to play with right away.

Get rid of all those twist ties, disc holds, and screws as you drink a glass of wine! Then tie the ribbon around that Nerf Gun.  In all honesty it is more for me than my kids.  Christmas morning is much more relaxing for me and really that is what is all about, right?


christmas frantic

Oh, I do love this season.  So far our tree is up and shimmery.   The lights outside pop on at 4:30 (yes, that is dusk in these parts!).  Each morning means an advent treat and finding our scout elf, Elfie.  Today brings Santa pictures.   We could plan a trip to ride the Holiday Carousel and visit the gingerbread houses in downtown Seattle.  Holiday song fest and cookie reception, Christmas pageant practice and a big solo to practice for-the list can go on and on.

Meanwhile Santa hasn't completed essential tasks, which will mean having a sitter next week since the kids are on break starting Friday at 3:30.  All of these check lists and must-dos can cause one to be "Christmas frantic".  

Keeping things in perspective, I cherish traditions and look for ways to create memories with my kids.
Things I make time for each year:
  • add one new ornament to our tree each year.  Some are just pretty, others have stories.  This year's ornament comes all the way from NYC.  (That just puts a smile on my face!)
  • adding a new page to an album every year with our family's Christmas card and the boys' Santa picture.  We only have it out this time of year and it is such a treat to look through.
  • crab on Christmas Eve.  This is a new tradition for me, one that I have borrowed from my husband's family.  It is the BEST dinner to ready for.....the cook does almost nothing.  Buy the crab cooked and cleaned and ......Viola!  Dinner is served.
  • chose one classic holiday movie and watch it with my kids for the first time.  This year (although it might be classified as a modern "classic" since it came it out in the 90's.) it is Home Alone. I love to hear hear the belly laughs from all 3 of my guys!
  • lunch date with a friend.  A girl has got to eat and why not squeeze in time to lunch with a friend.
  • buy new wrapping paper.  I choose 3 or 4 designs and find ribbon that compliments them.   
  • make Santa Cake on Christmas Eve.  Every other day of the year it is known to us as Rice Crispy treats.  Santa is gluten-free in our house. :)
Things I have given up on:
  • cutting down a tree. 
  • the perfect photo for the holiday card.  If all 4 of us are in it....that is good enough.
  • buying for everyone.  The kids in our lives still get gifts, but the adults share a good bottle of wine and some merriment instead!
  • the mall.  I try to do most of my store shopping in local independently owned shops.  The rest is done online.  Nothing like shopping in your pj's in front of the fire. 
  • making it all perfect.  It is not attainable, so I try to find humor in all that goes wrong.
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