Friday, December 19, 2008

Froehliche Weinachten!

For whatever reason, I felt like throwing out that little morsel from my days as a German minor in college (it means Merry Christmas, fyi - or more accurately Happy Holy Night!). I am actually at work right now, finishing up a bunch of odds and ends, because THIS IS MY LAST DAY FOR 2008!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Jesus!! I'm still not quite completely caught up with Xmas-prep work at home, but nevertheless I'll be hitting the road in the ol'Honda one-horse open sleigh tomorrow morning to head home to the Pittsburgh area for vacation. Tonight I have one last happy hour with friends, and then its home to pack up! At some point I have to convince Bailey and Pepper that they really WANT to get into their portable prisons, er, um, carriers for the 5 hour trip north, but I'm hoping that will go smoothly this year...

Until 2009, then - have a wonderful holiday season everyone!!

Monday, December 15, 2008


The holiday stress finally hit me today. I decided weeks ago to take today off to "finish up" wrapping presents and sending cards. I'm leaving this coming Saturday for my Christmas vacation, so I pretty much planned to have everything done this week. Well, that plan went a bit awry, shall we say. I didn't "finish up" anything! I didn't even have anything to the point that I could attempt to finish it! I had taken a prolonged hiatus from all of my handmade gift-making over the last week or so, so I HAD to get those things done today. I also needed to get on-line and order the few non-handmade gifts I'm giving (first I had to come up with some vague idea of what I wanted to buy). Oh yeah, and I had to actually BUY the cards to send out, not to mention write and address them! Yeah, it suddenly occurred to me about 3:30 this afternoon that I am WAY BEHIND!!! The fact that my sewing machine broke this afternoon - and its key to the crafting process - did not help. So, this post is just a short breather in the long night of crafting I have ahead of me.

I'm trying to take deep breaths...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Kitsch

After 3 consecutive nights of trying, I finally have my Christmas tree up and decorated. This is my second year having a real tree that I chose myself from a tree lot. Even though my teeny, tiny house is almost too small to move around in comfortably, it is at ground level, which makes it much easier for a single gal to haul a tree in from the car. In past years when I inhabited 3rd and 4th floor walk-ups, I had my Grandmother's old fake tree (apparently, this is a common tradition - see Miss Bess's post regarding the phenomenon) and it really did have a charming, Charlie Brown-esque quality! But, I must say I LOVE having the real tree. I love the smell when I open the door after work, I love the way it glows softly in the corner in the evening. Oddly, my cats pay absolutely no attention to it whatsoever. They both like to oversee the watering of the tree every night before I go to bed - they both have their noses in the tree stand and have a little sip for themselves. But otherwise, they don't even seem to notice it. Hmmm.

My other Christmas decorations consist of a hodge-podge of knick-knacks that I've collected since my college days, and of course my collection of Colonial Williamsburg caroling dolls. I know, I know - its bordering on creepy! Some people really hate these things, but my mother started givng me one every Christmas several years ago, and I've grown rather attached to them. I mean, come on, they're dolls for adults! Anyway, this year I put fresh pine all around them. I think they look pretty spiffy.

So, I hope you enjoy the photos of my holiday decorations. I am an appallingly bad photographer, as my friends know, so I swear my tree really looks better than it does here!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Well, I've done my good deed for this holiday season! Last night, G, E, L, S and I (otherwise known as Gretchen, Elizabeth, Laura, Sarah and myself) descended on our local Target armed with an Angel Tree tag bearing the name of little 8 year-old girl named Anissa, who's only Christmas wish is for a stuffed puppy dog. Well, she definitely got the stuffed puppy dog - along with a pile of other stuff! I admit, we might have gotten a bit carried away. We spent quite a bit of time in the children's clothing section squealing at the adorableness of various outfits (we also ended up buying her a pink winter coat with matching gloves). And then - AND THEN - we made our way to the toy department. Oh, the toy department! I haven't had so much fun in the toy department since I was an 8 year-old myself! Did you know Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears are back in vogue now?!?! I nearly had a child-size fit over the new Barbie TV Food Chef play set that G discovered (oh yeah, we bought it) and E was pretty much obsessed with an automated puppy that fits in its own little purse. It was good fun.

Today at lunch time I took the haul of presents over to the Salvation Army headquarters, and I was happy to see a long line of people dropping off their donations at the same time. Inside, I handed the goods over to an employee, and I made her swear that Anissa and only Anissa would get these presents - we've gotten a little attached to our Angel Tree kid, and I didn't want Anissa's wealth getting spread around. I left feeling very satisfied that at least one kid is going to have a very merry Christmas!

On another note, I watched the annual showing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the other night, and as always it made me cry. When I was a very little kid my dad thought it would be great to start the tradition of watching that clay-mation classic every year, so one evening while my mom was out he and I sat on the living room floor and watched it. About halfway through I got so upset that I started bawling and begging him to turn it off. I think I've been traumatized ever since. However, I still watch it every year - Cornelius Yukon, Kirby the Elf who wants to be a dentist, Clarisse, Skinny Santa - its just great stuff...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Everyone's an Angel to Someone

So, I'm back from Thanksgiving at home with my parents and the rest of our crazy fam, and I am 100% ready to tackle this whole Christmas thing (well, as soon as I take a few more naps to sleep off the turkey coma that still seems to be lingering!). I think I've mentioned the fact that I plan to make all of my Christmas presents this year, and so far its going pretty well. I haven't had any meltdowns over crafty-project directions that just DO NOT work the way they're supposed to, and both of my finished items look good. I should totally start an Etsy store (well, let's not get carried away)!

Anyway, I have made the decision to deviate from my handmade Christmas plan just a bit, and for good reason. This morning, I read an article in my local newspaper about the incredibly tough time the Salvation Army and other charities are having this year in getting people to "adopt" children, the elderly and underprivileged families through their gift-giving programs. For years, I've been trying to participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program, but usually by the time I get my act together all the tags on the trees are long gone. This year, with our failing economy, things are different - and there are a lot of people out there who need help. So, this year, I'm not going to fail these kids - I'm going to give someone a happy Christmas morning, and I'm SO EXCITED about it! Several friends including G are lending a hand - thanks ladies! So, to any of you out there who I haven't already roped into this, PLEASE consider checking out the charities in your area. Here's a link for the Salvation Army program.