“Are you as tired as I am?” This was a part of a text from a dear friend, one I haven’t seen in a while. We were trying to schedule a date night out with our husbands and the two of us and spoiler: it never happened.
I’ve been busy working, helping Raines apply to high schools (yes, it’s public school, yes, it’s ridiculous), buying Christmas presents (after consulting and then updating my Christmas gifting spreadsheet), and packing the family up for our Christmas in Vermont. And while I always envision my December looking the one I grew up with (my mom hand-writing Christmas cards with a pot of tea and effortlessly baking 8 different kinds of holiday treats), my December so far has looked exactly like my November and my October…but with the additional crushing weight of unmet expectations.
Last weekend, as I sat in bed on Saturday morning, working on my laptop, Mike looked over at me. “Babe,” he starts. “Can we send my mom a sweater for Christmas?”
I remember drawing in deep breaths before speaking. I know he thinks he’s being helpful. In his brain, I know he’s all, “SWEATER. DONE” and will literally congratulate himself for “helping” to brainstorm such a unique and perfect gift!! Then he’ll go on with his life without giving it another thought. Mike has zero understanding that his directive of “sweater” involves a discussion of sizing, searching the internet for one that – call me crazy – she’ll actually love and want to wear, one that will arrive in time for Christmas, and (this may be asking too much), could even arrive gift-wrapped, or at least with some sort of festive presentation. Additionally, “we” already sent her a sweater for Christmas in 2019. I know this, because, according to my Christmas gifting spreadsheet, 2020 was linen sheets, 2019 was the sweater, and 2018 was this micro needler.
Which is exactly what I detailed out, for his benefit. Now Mike is a very smart man, so by the time “2019” came out of my mouth, I could see the wariness on his face. He wasn’t quite sure where I was going, but he knew enough to retreat.
Sidenote: My MIL is lovely – I find her very easy to shop for – and her 2021 gift, at this point, had been already purchased and sent (and yes, recorded for next year in the gifting spreadsheet).
But other than the execution of the gifting spreadsheet (aka I’m *almost* done Christmas shopping) I have done virtually nothing to celebrate the season. There are no lights up in our house, no tree, and there have been no nights curled up by the fire in matching pajamas with a hot cocoa bar and snow falling softly outside.
Instead, Raines and I accidentally opened the gift my brother sent – the most amazing chocolate I’ve EVER had from Calgary-based Cochu Chocolates – and the two of us scarfed it down in under a minute, standing up in the kitchen, guiltily glancing over our shoulders.
We didn’t even savor it, you guys. IT HAS BEEN A DECEMBER WITHOUT SAVOURING.
I can’t stop thinking about a recent HuffPo article I read, “Holiday Magic Is Made By Women. And It’s Killing Us.” The intro starts with an intensely detailed description of the actual steps that go into the sending of holiday cards (starting with booking the family photoshoot in October) and I found it refreshingly honest in its excruciating detail. Frankly, I felt seen. Obviously, this article was written by a women. If Mike were asked to summarize the holiday card process, he’d probably say something like, “buy a card, send it out, done.”
It’s the complete and total oversimplification that makes me LOSE MY MIND.
As my mom would say, “Good thing he’s cute”.
And by “cute” what is really meant is “good thing I am completely and totally in love with this often infuriating man who is absofreakinglutely living his best possible life THANKS TO ME. Also, YOU ARE WELCOME, LOVE OF MY LIFE.”
Now “we” have to go and finish ordering the rest of the Christmas gifts.
Those chocolates, though. Cochu Chocolates does ship to the US, and the one my brother sent – spicy chocolate and peanuts and spongy toffee – is the “Racha”. Apparently, it’s currently sold out, but will ship after the holidays. 110% WORTH IT.
My Santa gift is always a book. And this year it’s going to be Love & Lemons Every Day – More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal. It’s the latest from one of my favorite food bloggers and I’m excited.
Dammit, Scotti. I can’t stop thinking about Scotti’s bananas-cute Moonboots outfit. Only Scotti would make me want to wear spanx leggings and moonboots again for Pete’s sake. And OMG – apparently my mother owns this pair? Nice, Mom. Oddly enough, that’s probably the pair I’d pick, too.
A little something for NYE. I just ordered these PARTY headbands from ShopBURU. I will likely wear mine with a black turtleneck and J.Crew’s plaid heels (which are fantastic, btw) and call it a day.
Quirky & Cute. I’ve been eyeing up some of the quirky little handbags (under $50) at Amazon for years now…so I decided to order a bunch in the name of research. And? They’re REALLY good. This one is my personal favorite, but I did a quick video on all six. Definitely worth checking out.
Drawn to brown? I don’t quite know why, but suddenly I find myself wanting…brown. It feels fresh and rich and almost exciting. Case in point? Banana Republic’s fair isle sweater in ‘burnt umber’ and Vuori’s new RIBBED joggers in ‘quartz heather’. These are two verrrrry different browns, which reminds me that I need to schedule a color consultation with Julieta. She’s prob gonna tell me to give up all my grays. Sigh.
Mark your calendars for Dec 24: It’s the launch of the Webb Telescope, a next-generation telescope that is Hubble’s successor. The Webb telescope is going to travel to the Legrange point, a point in space where the pull from the Sun and the Earth are the same, so it’ll basically stay in its own little orbit. Scientists hope that the Webb will be able to find data on the earliest stages of the universe so…yeah. It’s a BIG deal. NPR has a good article on the whole thing.
Hang in there, Gang. December can be…rough.
I love the Christmas spreadsheet!!! But yeah, I’m JEWISH and i do all the Christmas stuff. How did that ever work out? I “trim” the tree, buy and wrap all the gifts (including MY OWN because how else am I going to get anything good?) plan any “events”, cook all the food, makes the Santa cookies (even though my kid is 12 and should not believe in Santa anymore) and boy am I exhausted. You are seen and heard!!! My husband does go get a tree and puts lights on it.
I love me a good spreadsheet! But for Christmas gifts I use an app called Santa’s Bag. It’s just a database with a fancy UI. It would be easy for those who don’t like spreadsheets. According to my summary home page, I have 21 gift recipients and 60 gifts purchased. It sounds worse than it is though because most of that is my nieces and nephews who are older and throughly appreciate cash gifts! I’m currently $9.22 under budget 😜, go me!
I’ve never done Christmas cards. I’ve never understood the point of them. I gladly receive the ones our friends send, and then I dutifully recycle them in January. I don’t assume anyone outside of my immediate family wants pictures of my kids in their house, so the whole enterprise seems like a waste of time and paper. We also only gift the children, not the adults in our household (don’t even get me started on the lunacy that is coworker gifts/white elephant/teacher gifts). I do bake a lot, but I love it, and we make a wonderful feast, and watch all of our favorite holiday movies in the nights leading up to the big day. We give generous end of the year cash tips to anyone in the service industry who has made our lives easier in the past year. But on the whole our holidays aren’t stressful at all, especially once we stopped traveling to visit extended relatives during the busiest and most expensive travel season of the year. You can just opt out of all of the hustle and bustle, if that’s what you want.
Agreed, Alexa. The whole Christmas card circus is a self-inflicted injury.