Christmas 2009, a retrospective

Sarah, our neighbor, the only one who will read this post, has already heard about this twice now. I need to make a mental note not to complain – I mean, gush! – about our Christmas trip anymore to her. She will surely enjoy the pictures, though. I hope. As I was uploading the photos from our break I realized I had a nice little story in pictures.

This year I let the whole Christmas consumer thing pass me by…as a BUSINESS OWNER. No matter how hard I try or how many promises I make to myself in January, I get to about November 29th without thinking about Christmas at all and then I start to panic about what I am going to give everyone. Can I just go on a short rant here?

Henry’s extended family is wonderful. They are generous and creative people. We always get some kind of goodie-filled basket from each of his stepdad’s siblings. And they don’t ask for anything in return! They don’t even see us most years. But the gifts keep on coming!! And I think: “who are you people? Don’t you know how this makes ME – the neurotic, guilt-loving, overachiever feel?!” I think the answer here is, just say thank you Jenn. But seriously. It’s not even like they give us cheap gifts that don’t mean anything just for the sake of covering all their bases. I really do eat the homemade apple butter. People and their generosity. When will they ever learn?

I know that I am coming about 40 days too late for this sort of rant but I just feel like Christmas this year was the roller-coaster you’re not sure you want to be on as you are slowly ticking up that first hill. We are winded and a little sick.

My only Christmas contribution business-wise was a set of four bracelets for the daughters and daughters in law of a woman named Jill from Wisconsin. Her own mother passed away last year and she had inherited a bunch of antique and vintage costume earrings. She had the idea to turn them into bracelets as a gift and it was my happy task to make it happen. After some fits and starts, here’s how they turned out:

Jill sent me a lovely email after the holidays to let me know they all loved their bracelets and that there was crying.

I think it was the move and the fact that I hadn’t planned anything, as usual, and the fact that we were going to do so much traveling and the fact that I have to constantly remind myself that the fate of the free world does NOT rest on my shoulders; I was a little more, shall we say charged, this year about what to do for gifts.

I LOVE to make things for people. I love to spend a couple of hours making dinner and then watch Henry devour the first bite. I love wrapping gifts and seeing people’s eyes light up when they get them. I want them to feel special. I don’t love thinking I have to make a terrarium and an ornament and a tin of cookies AND buy a sweater for every girl on our list. Why do I do that to myself? Now, just to disclaim: we got some much-need gifts from our parents this year which we will use and treasure and for them I am grateful. But our younger siblings can’t afford to get us anything life-changing. Neither can we afford to get anything of much substance for everyone…and THAT’S OKAY. I put so much anxiety into choosing and making gifts that get opened and forgotten about by the fireplace until everyone is packing up to leave. At which point the only thought is: how is this going to fit in our car? The whole reason we put ourselves through this is to see the people we grew up around, so why don’t we all just give each other a little bit of traveling money and call it even? Just to underline my point, here are some pictures of the presents I spent 4 or 5 hours wrapping. But that was probably the most fun part of it. Just saying.

And, this may be presumptuous but don’t be jealous. I got it off of designsponge.

To end: I can only say about our trip that we love our families and we DO like to see them, but we are probably going to find a different solution henceforth. But here is the fabled Bedford Road, Charleston WV and the equally fabled 99 year old Edwin Shuffle:

One thought on “Christmas 2009, a retrospective

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  1. Edwin’s bedford! what a treat! but jenn, if you say one more thing about your Christmas, i’m going to crap my pants.

    JUST KIDDING. that is precisely why we’re in each other’s lives, right??!! hearing tales and watching (now, after all these years) felicity!

    my only regret regarding this post is that i didn’t see your wrapped givings in person. they are beautiful!! and i can see why you enjoyed that part.

    ALSO. do you know what else is beautiful?? MY NECKLACE. i still can’t believe you gave it to me. i had to make myself take it off for bed last night. thank you and i love you!!

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