Monthly Archives: December 2012

Cheers To Simplicity This Holiday Season!

I am choosing simplicity this holiday season.

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No elaborate Christmas light display this year for us. – Which means we didn’t spend the $1000 (?!?) to have our home professionally lit by off-season landscapers. Who does that? (Sadly, quite a few in our neighborhood.) Except for our two tasteful mini-lit trees flanking our door and the traditional candles in each window, I’ve convinced my husband to skip his traditional fling-up-to-see-what-branches-the-Christmas-lights-hit approach to decorating our yard. Seriously. One thousand dollars? You could feed a small village for that amount.

No lugging every single Christmas decoration box up from the basement. After a day of decorating, I called it quits. The tree is up. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. I have my favorite advent calendar, a homemade advent wreath, a creche, a few favorite Santas and snowmen. But that’s about it. I looked around and thought, this looks festive enough. Key word = enough. Less clutter. More time for baking. Sounds good to me. And to my kids.

No guests to entertain for the first time………well, ever. The Jane household will be empty-ish. Just us. Me. Husband. Three adorable children. It will be quiet. It will be sane. It will be easy. Compared to years past, when we’ve entertained 3-4 weeks straight, of various out-of-town relatives and friends, this holiday season will be a breeze!

No laundry list of gifts to purchase. After working two food drives and our typical Salvation Army bell ringing stint the boys have decided they have too many toys! Well, that and the fact that they would love a pricey handheld gadget this year and knew they’d have a better chance of receiving it if it was the only thing on their list. I don’t care. Less shopping for me, less wrapping for my husband. Win-win-win.

No menus to create. I’m gonna stick with the standbys. Honeybaked ham, scalloped potatoes and bacon brussel spouts for Christmas Eve. Turkey, turkey fixin’s, green beans and lemon cranberry jello salad for Christmas Day. My famous-I-can-make-it-in-my-sleep-cranberry-relish will grace both meals. Come to think of it, all the above recipes I can make in my sleep. Holiday cooking this year will be a piece of pie! Probably apple. I haven’t decided yet.

No jam packed weekends for the month of December. My husband and I sat down and actually said no to a few invitations this year. It felt naughty but now our weekends look nice. Relaxing even. We’re actually looking forward to the few things we have penciled in. What a concept.

No blogging schedule to follow. For a few weeks, anyway. I’m taking a break to enjoy the season, enjoy my family and enjoy the peace and quiet we are actually going to be able to enjoy during this frightfully busy time of the year. I haven’t left. I promise not to disappear. But I’m taking a bit of a long winter’s nap to recharge.

Wishing you all a very Merry, Happy, Joyful, Restful, Relaxing, Healthy, Peaceful, Simple Holiday Season and New Year!

(And provided the doomsday prophets aren’t right and we find the Mayan’s new calendar, I’ll see you next year!)

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Filed under Holiday, How We Roll

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and Jane: The Holy Trinity of Trickery And Fraud

“Mom? Are you the tooth fairy?”

Stunned, I can’t look up from the puzzle I’m working on. “No, Sweetie. I’m your mom.”

My son walked away satisfied.

Oh. God. What did I just do? I lied to my son. But I was unprepared and I knew the inevitable question was next, “Are you Santa Claus, too?”

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My husband chastised me. “You can’t lie. If he asks the question it means he’s ready for the answer.”

Well. That might be so. But maybe I’m not ready for the answer.

I’m not. Ready, that is. I fully believe in Santa Claus. Not in the concrete way that children do. But in the esoteric, allegorical sense. Think Miracle on 34th Street or the amazing Colonel Harry Shoup. And the Pollyanna in me clings to this belief for dear life.

I’ve tried to prepare for the inevitable. I’ve practiced speeches in my head. But I stumble and fail. I found this amazing letter that another mother wrote for her child. I’ve bookmarked it, hoping to be inspired when the time comes. But that moment will sneak up on me, just as it did the other day, and catch me by surprise. And I will bumble and fumble for the right words. I pray they come to me.

Think back to the time when you believed in Santa. This extraordinary man, who encourages goodness and kindness and magic. The joy, racing down the stairs, to see what was left under the tree. Finding just what you wanted and he only wanted a cookie, some hot chocolate and a carrot for his reindeer in return.

As my children grow older, I’m trying to come to terms that this magical time is ending. The mysteries of Santa will be revealed. And to those of you who have never lied to your children about this mythical man, you may now smile smugly as I wrestle with my lie and the fear that my children will lose confidence in me. I am a fraud, just as Santa Claus is a fraud, and I may never again be trusted.

Sigh.

“Will you put the dollar under his pillow?” I ask my husband.

“Me? Why me? You ALWAYS do it!” My husband is panicked and I try to get him to take the dollar.

“Well, that way I haven’t lied. I’m not the tooth fairy. You are.” Loopholes. I’m always on the lookout for loopholes.

“Well, I can’t. I mean. Uh. I don’t know how.” He stutters and stammers.

I glare at him. “You don’t know how? What is that supposed to mean? You slip your hand under his pillow, remove the tooth and leave a dollar in its place.”

He sheepishly trudges upstairs and I follow for moral support.

He tries to sneak his hand under the pillow but our son shifts in his sleep. “See? I’m going to screw it up.” He hisses.

I glare again.

He tries again, barely slipping his hand under the pillow and gives up. “I can’t find it. It’s not there.”

Ticked, I snatch the dollar, slip my hand under the pillow, immediately find the tooth and replace it with the dollar bill. My glare has now turned icy and menacing.

“You made a liar out of me,” I snarl.

My husband just stands there, with a sheepish grin.

I guess he’s not ready for the inevitable either.

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Filed under children, Holiday, Motherhood

O Come All Ye Old Fashioned. And Joy To The Handwritten Word.

The older I get, the more like my grandmother I’m beginning to feel.

She resisted change. She denied it’s existence. She’d pine for the way things were.

I have always thought of myself as someone who can roll with the changes. I may not have the latest iphone but I’m familiar enough with technology to create and maintain a blog. Okay. That may not be saying much but I still know people who use their computers for email and online shopping and that’s about it. At least I’ve taken it a step further.

I’m frustrated that a 4 year old computer is past its prime. I still have an old Blackberry and my daughter is dragging me, kicking and screaming, to update my phone. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure I’m overdue for a new phone by about 2 years. But it’s working just fine and I’m cheap. (I blame my Scottish great-grandparents for that trait.)

My friend just came back from a conference about her daughter’s progress. She, like me, is frustrated with the lack of emphasis on penmanship and math facts. They gave her some hooey about critical thinking skills being the focus. That calculators and computers are where it’s at. That someday, even typing skills will be obsolete. We’ll soon be talking into handheld devices that will type for us.

And here it is, December 6th and I’ve yet to receive a Christmas card. Oh, sure. There’s still time but I remember years when receiving a card after Thanksgiving got my butt into high gear, pushing me to finish our stack. Currently, our cards are gathering dust in the corner. I’m apathetic about sending them out. I guess I need the motivation. I need to know that others enjoy the holiday card tradition, too. C’mon, people! Send me a card so it’ll guilt me into getting with the program. Someone has to keep the US Postal Service in business. Let it begin with you. And me.

I have a feeling, within a week or so, I’ll start receiving holiday ecards.  Silly elves with your faces plastered on them, dancing a merry tune. A happy holiday catch phrase. And then your e-signature. Or maybe you’ll send a shout out on Facebook or Twitter.

Today, I sit here pining for the old days. The days of multiplication facts dancing in my head. Crystal clear penmanship, in silver script, on a good old fashioned Christmas card.

Call me an old fuddy-duddy. It’s okay. I can take it.

For as connected as we think we are with all of this new technology, I can’t help but feel we are missing something. True connections to the people we love. Fine motor skills. Exercising our brains with good old fashioned memorization. Do you rely on your address book in your phone as much as I do? Heaven forbid if my phone should die. Without caller ID or the numbers in my phone, I’d be lost.

And then there’s the care and time it takes to sit down and hand write a holiday card. The delicious thrill of seeing personal mail addressed to you among the bills and junk mailers. Instead we have fallen prey to mass-emailings and status updates.

O come, all ye old-fashioned. Pick up your pens. Write a card by hand. Stamp it and mail it.

Joy to the handwritten word!

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Filed under Deep Thoughts