Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Twelve Days Of My Christmas - a review

12 - number of gifts I wrapped
11 - thank you cards I've written
10 - gifts for the kids
9 - adults at dinner
8 - dozen cookies eaten
7 - times I yelled
6 - pairs of panties received
5 - fights over toys
4 - checks instead of gifts
3 - hats made
2 - DVD's of porn
1 - successful holiday!

Yes, Christmas is over. It was a big success. The various family events all went fairly smooth, minus a few typical head-shaking moments about my mother (what's new) and her need to re-hash my high school exploits for all to remember. I'm not sure why that all came up, but it did. I'm (almost) over it.

Christmas Eve found us at my sisters house for a big dinner feast. The kids got to unwrap one (pre-determined) present: pajamas. Both of mine and all three of hers opened at the same time. There was frequent checking of the Santa tracking website all throughout the evening. It's wonderful that my oldest nephew, who is 8 yrs old, still believes. It just makes it so much fun when all the kids are still on the same page in that department. We went to church (except Mr. Chick, who begged off with the excuse to buy one more gift) and it was as expected: boring. I was not impressed with the Mass. Forget the fact that church doesn't play a role in my life these days and I'm a lapsed Catholic at best. Usually Christmas Mass is at least pretty with the decorations and the music and such. But not this one. Well, there was one pretty tree of pointsettias... mostly I was just entertained with Lauren deciding to wink at everyone. I opted not to go to Communion (not wanting to be a complete hypocrite) and that raised an eyebrow from my mother. Love that. We were home by 8:30 and quickly sprinkled the reindeer food outside and assembled cookies and milk for Santa. Then the kids got tucked into bed and drifted off to dreamland where I doubt there was much in the way of sugarplums, but I'm certain there was more than one appearance of a Leapster.

The next morning started early, but not too early. Mr. Chick must have been nuts to think he could ask the kids to wait until at least 7am before ripping and tearing into the Santa stuff. Lauren was still sleeping, but Nicholas was sitting on my side of the bed, chattering about what he was sure Santa had brought for him, and counting down the minutes - literally - until 7am. "Mama! It's 6:54. Just 6 more minutes!" followed by, "Mama! It's 6:55. Just 5 more minutes!". Yep, we all got lots of rest. Good thing we made him wait.

The kids were beside themselves with excitement when they saw that Santa had really come. Oh my! It was chaos. Ripped wrapping paper flung everywhere, shrieks of, "look! A (fill in the blank) - just what I wanted!" and mumbles, mostly from me, wondering if the coffee was made yet. Nicholas received a new Razor scooter (not what he asked for) from Santa, a Cars DVD in his stocking, and a few other minor stocking stuffers, mostly along the lines of socks and toothbrush stuff. Lauren received a dinosaur that roars (exactly what she asked for), a small My Little Pet Shop toy (another requested item) and the Curious George DVD in her stocking. Also toothbrush stuff to round things out. After breakfast we moved into the living room (where the tree is) and opened "family" gifts. The kids got an outfit each from us. We choose to let Santa get all the toy glory this year in an attempt to simplify Christmas and not go overboard. Nicholas didn't seem too disappointed that he didn't get the Leapster he so dearly wanted (there was no way in hell I was buying him a hand-held video game, "educational" or not. He's 5, for chrissakes!). He consoled himself with the thought (planted oh-so-cleverly by me out of sheer necessity) that Santa brought him a new power source for the V-Smile game system that would make it work again instead. A poor-man's solution to the problem, but it worked.

Mr. Chick's stocking was a bit more racy than the kids'. The gift I'd ordered for him didn't arrive in time, despite ordering the damn thing on Dec. 3rd (this is why I'm not a fan of online shopping!). So at the LAST MINUTE, given a rare morning to myself, I mustered up the balls to go to an "adult" store. It's not the first time I've patronized such establishments, but I'm never very comfortable doing it. But I knew it would bring the biggest grin to Mr. Chick's face if he received something from such a place. So I played Naughty Elf and did a little shopping. I ended up with two "full-feature" DVD's (hey - they were having a Buy One, Get One Free sale on previously-viewed movies!). they're Vivid productions, which I'm told tend to be of higher quality. Whatever. They're porn. It spices things up sometimes, y'know? So I wrapped them up and put them in his stocking from "Santa's naughty elf, open with caution" and reaped the rewards. If he got nothing else, that gift totally made his holiday. He was thrilled and impressed that I would do such a thing. Remember this for next year, fellow wives. You won't be sorry and he will totally cater to you for quite awhile after receiving such a gift. Seriously. So that was fun. And, like usual, he got me some fun new underwear. So we were perhaps both thinking along the same lines, it seems.

After breakfast we dressed and drove to my parents house for more family Christmas. The kids opened up more gifts and joined their cousins for hours of raucous play. The adults enjoyed my brother-in-laws famous gin fizzes and played board games, a family tradition. It was good. The kids did well and after a casual dinner we drove over to a friends house to drop off a gift for Mr. Chicks goddaughter and called it a day. We all collapsed into bed utterly exhausted and happy.

I only have one gift to return. I know! Shocking! Just one. No, I take that back - I have two gifts to exchange. One is too big and one is too small. Not bad. I received more cash than gifts from Mr. Chick's side of the family, but will have to spend a big wad of it on the dinner we went to last night for my parents 40th anniversary instead of for something for me. Somehow, I ended up paying over $100 for Mr. Chick and I to have an $9 burger + $5 salad, a $13 chicken caesar + $5 cup of soup, a beer and a glass of wine. I know - the math totally doesn't work. My sisters and I plus our husbands took our parents out. Two of my sisters work for Intel and had "2-for-1" discount cards, so my parents meals were essentially covered by those. That left the meals we all had, plus the bottle of wine we shared, and the cocktails my sister bought for everyone else who arrived before we did. So since she's single and only having to cover herself, she was exempted from the bill because she'd already forked over $45 for drinks. That left the 3 of us to split the bill of over $330 (including the automatic 18% gratutity. Gah - I HATE those policies because our service wasn't so fantastic and I want the choice to decide how much to tip based on the service level). I don't mind that much, since it was for a good cause and all, but somehow it just doesn't seem fair that Mr. Chick and I ate two of the least expensive meals, didn't have any drinks beyond a single beer for Mr. Chick and a small glass of wine from the community bottle for me, and yet had to pay as much as everyone else who ordered the seafood specials and such and got to enjoy several cocktails. So much for budgeting. I had asked how we wanted to handle the bill before anyone ordered, saying we could just pay for ourselves. But I was overruled by the group and the restaurant policy to not do separate tabs for large parties. Damn those bastards. But it was a lovely time, minus yet another discussion of my high school mishaps.

I hope everyone had a memorable holiday and enjoyed the festivities with those you love. Now we can all get back to normal, right?

I agree with you on those Leapsters video games. My SIL, husband's sister who has no children, bought it for my boys. They are only 4 and 1! We set it up, and he is too young to enjoy it. By the time the 1 year old counld use it, there will be something else. Ia m not a fan of video games, educational or not!

Glad you had a great Christmas, and yes, we can get back to normal!
Glad you had a good holiday. My husband would be happy with that present too! :) Maybe I'll try that some year!!! Wish I could say my almost 7 yr old wasn't into video games but we did get him a gameboy this year (santa did actually) and I've been fighting that one since he was in kindergarten. It was something I"d prefer him not to have but I let him due to the fact that he had a good report card and that in his school, pretty much all kids have them by 1st grade. Not that I should give in due to his peers but I don't want him to feel left out. Probably not the best reason but he just loves it. I can monitor him pretty well and limit his time on it. School days he just doesn't have much time to do it at all with school, homework, and wrestling practice 2 nights a week. Weekends he will be allowed to play some. ANd he will have to choose either TV, gameboy, or gamecube for his free time fun. BUt I know what you mean. IT starts way early. A mom in J's preschool was planning to get a gameboy for her daughter (4 going on 5) I think that is a little young. My daughter, 4, has no interest in video games as of yet.
I don't know call me prudish...but I don't find porn something that I'd give in my dh's stocking. I just think that Christmas is more about the season and birth of Christ vs. gifts and porn...

I do sound tight laced and yet I'm not at all. Just found the though of getting port kind of un-Christmasy!
I suppose porn IS rather un-christmasy if you focus your Christmas solely on the religious aspect. We don't. We tend to look at it more as celebration of the season of giving. So in THAT respect, not totally inappropriate.

I suppose it's more Christmasy to give less racy gifts like tons of toys and electronic gadgets. I fail to see how giving someone a sweater celebrates the birth of Jesus. A gift is a gift. Unless you're just against porn, which many are and I totally understand. I'm not a big porn pusher or anything, but we - as a married, monogamous couple - enjoy it from time to time together. A marital aid, you might say. But I know it's not for everyone and repulses some, so whatever rocks your world.

But, whose to say that religious people don't enjoy sex? I've always heard that that was one of the main reasons to GET married: sex. Which of course leads to children/family, etc. blah blah blah. But first: sex. The only people NOT having sex were Mary and Joseph (and really, we only "know" they didn't do it for the conception of Jesus, not that they didn't do it ever. They were human. And I, for one, have my doubts about the "virgin" birth. They just didn't know as much about biology as we do now and it's more likely, at least to me, that they were messing around, didn't have intercourse, but got pregnant anyway. Since it wasn't "known" that could happen, it was then deemed a "miracle" and virgin birth. Just my take.) The rest of us? sex. Even priests, apparently.

So the gift of sex to ones spouse can actually be seen as a good thing - it can lead to greater intimacy and a better relationship overall. I look at my naughty contribution to Mr. Chick's stocking in that light. Just a fun, silly gift that made him smile.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Good point about a sweater not exactly a celebration of Jesus' birth. I think that ANYTHING that brings you closer to your huband in a fun and sexy and lighthearted way is wonderful. Giving a gift that brings intimacy to your hubby is MUCH more in the Christmas spirit than most things you can buy.
I've got to admit, I'm extremely curious about the last deleted message (ambulance chaser, I guess)
Lastly, I just don't get it when parents succumb to peer pressure in buying something (or letting them watch something, eat something,etc...)that makes them uncomfortable. While I really try to not pass judgement on other moms (we are so in this together, regardless of styles...)I can't help but cringe when a mom says she got her kid a game boy because all the other kids have one, though she really didn't want to. HUH????? There are kids in my daughters 1st grade class that watch R-rated movies, and hell if she will progress beyong the occasional pg, as she is 6! Regardless of how she begs. Since when do pleading or manipulating kids call the shots?
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