It has been hard not to think of this as a placeholder Christmas in our temporary housing, but I did try.
I wanted to give the boys something really special this year. Since their sleepsacks are their absolute favorite thing other than their families, I thought I would make them some adorable, custom sleepsacks. They want to wear their sleepsacks all day long and have consequently worn them ragged. Peppers has even forced holes in the bottom of all of his so he can walk around in them more freely. Wouldn’t it be cute if all of Christmas break they were tooling around the house in little Santa sleepsacks instead of looking like little street urchins with their sweetest PJ’s constantly covered in rags?
Yeah, that would be totally cute. Didn’t happen. I mean, I spent all this time concocting little Santa sleepsacks with pre-made footholes, white trim and even a belt–all without a pattern–and then when we dressed them the sleepsacks they hated them. They both started tearing at them as though they were made of fiberglass insulation instead of flannel and demanding their other sleepsacks be put back on.
I also spent hours on December 24th and 25th cooking an herbed turkey with gravy, stuffing from scratch with sausage and chicken wings cooked on top to make it juicy like stuffing cooked in the bird, two kinds of potatoes, asparagus with lime-chile dressing, cranberry-orange relish, pumpkin cheesecake, the works. The only thing the boys would even touch were the roles Martha Ethington had made us.
On the upside, they went cuckoo for cocoa puffs over the Hess cars the Bates sent our way. The thrilling thing about the Hess collection (other than them being the most amazing, high-quality die cast vehicles with lights, sounds, special features and smaller Hess vehicles inside the larger ones, and that we got them free) was that their collection had two of everything!
We decided to dole out the collection over several birthdays and Christmases, so we gave them each an identical set of four cars so they wouldn’t fight over favorites. How naive were we? Within the hour they were both playing with their version of the same truck and they started to fight over that one. “They are exactly the same! The one you are holding is exactly the same as that one!” That’s adult logic, though. In kid logic, Salty had the cool one.
As for Fluffy, on the afternoon of December 24th, she asked me how to spell “please”. I asked her what she was writing. “I’m writing a note to Santa to tell him what I want for Christmas. I’ve already got it almost all done.” Indeed, she did have a lovely card all written. Oh, no! I didn’t make her sign a “no changes” contract. I tried to take deep and slow breaths picturing myself running out to the mall on December 24th in search of something I’ve never heard of that she just saw on T.V.. “Let me see that note.”
“Dear Santa, Can you please bring me an American Girl doll, please? Love, Gwyneth,” it said in inventive spelling.
PHEW! Santa picked up an NIB Marie-Grace with accessories and book for $80 off of Craigslist in November, and Mom and Dad had bought her some outfits. P.H.E.W.. And the double please was very polite.
Unlike last year when Fluffs leisurely opened her presents wanting to play for 2 hours with each one and being coaxed and forced to open the next, this year she tore through everything else like a madwoman in search of her American Girl doll.
Fluffers and I made four batches of gingerbread cookies together. The first got eaten before decoration. The second got the old Wilton’s royal frosting treatment before being left out for Santa. And the third and fourth were super yummy chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies that Fluffy helped me sugar coat before baking. Most of those were distributed to others when we went caroling.
Caroling is such terrific fun after you get past the fact that it’s going to be totally awkward to give someone an unsolicited concert on their doorstep.
I hope you are all enjoying wonderful holidays. Merry Christmas!