Friday, December 21, 2012

The Final Stretch

Today we enter the final stretch of Christmas.  So far, our Christmas preparations have been few other than the initial decorations. Son has been stretched thin with end of year exams, registering for the new year, trying to search for a job, and applying for grants and loans. I have been getting estimates on house repairs, researching my house as is and concentrating on plans of all types (primarily house and travel goals) for the new year! Whew!! More on those results next week, I do have lots to share.

We have not avoided Christmas, we just lowered the amount of activities we planned with everything else going on. Son has had his twenty/thirty something Christmas party and gift exchange at church. I've had both my small group celebrations. We've both been involved in church activities as always including the traditional celebration of lessons and carols. We'll help decorate the church on Sunday, and Sunday after church my supper group will have a brunch where all family is invited.

A few things have changed this year. When it comes to gift giving, we normally make some of our gifts but not all. This year, by choice and circumstance, I am making all of my gifts except for those for my own children and my in laws. As I've mentioned, on my husband's side of the family we share gift lists.  While they often seem to have a wide variety of choices, this year it seems like EVERYONE has requested mainly gift cards. Unfortunately that isn't  feasible from this house this year. Although I did share a small list, I also put the word out at Thanksgiving that I would be making all my gifts.  My family was as always understanding-I'm the different daughter in law, lol. I'm finalizing those plans in the next day or so.

 Many of my recipients need little, and I hate to give decor or clothing gifts, as tastes can vary. This leaves mainly "Christmassy" items, with a few exceptions-or food gifts.  My son is making this refrigerator pickle recipe and may make homemade peanut butter cups or another item.  My daughter is baking and making gifts in a jar. I am sewing and crafting.  For the three brothers and law, tile coasters made with on hand fabric (to my knowledge none read this blog). 

An easy gift that can be used at home or office. One brother in law is a marathoner, biker and golfer.  His tiles are above. As you can see by the college tiles, my first effort was less than successful.  I learn as I go, and the tiles are twelve cents a piece and fabric is on hand.  My sisters in law are all receiving sets of cloth cocktail napkins in a Christmas theme. These are eight to ten inches and can be used for lunch, cocktails, as coasters,or even dinner-and they all do some kind of entertaining.

 I like these so much I will be making more for other holidays and seasons. They are more sturdy than cloth napkins, easily washable and make a great  gift. I'll add little ornaments from Germany and candy to all the gifts. If I have time I may also make Mexican hot chocolate. Who knows? My niece is getting a multi media scarf and holiday coasters for her apartment or office. My nephew I am at a loss.  I think I will show him the scarf I am making that is unfinished, give him a GC to a quilted item of his choice, along with a small Starbucks gc and candy.  As aways it is four days before Christmas and I am lost when it comes to my in laws. I have a table runner finished, but need to do something nice here. I just realized that they have redbox gift cards, so my solution may be that and a topper and coasters.

On the cooking/baking front, I have held off until today.This year, no event was held in my home (as opposed to a dinner group and two small group events last year). Neither son or I need a ton of cookies or baked goods and we are giving other food gifts this year. So while I have mixed and refrigerated in that baking corner I showed earlier-today will begin in earnest. I want us to have enough cookies for now to the middle of next week.  Ill be making sugar cookies, cream wafers, brown sugar shortbread, chocolate chip, and lime basil cookies. That should keep us through the tradition of cookies and eggs for Christmas eve and Christmas day breakfast, as well as snacking. We'll be going elsewhere for the big meal so my only concern is Christmas eve brunch for three or four and dinner (dinner is usually either premade lasagna or appetizers in deference to church preparations) for two.

Until we go to family, it will just be my son and I (and my four legged children). Although my daughter and I lived far apart for seven years, this will be the first time we have had separate holidays when we were geographically close. It was bound to happen of course-she'll be be spending Christmas with her significant other and his parents.....and come to visit us on Christmas eve for brunch.  I think this is a perfect solution. She spent Thanksgiving with the whole family. While I will miss her I don't want her to feel that she has to helicopter between celebrations. Christmas is hectic enough as it is.

I have finalized my decorations. I cannot find my mirrored lake for the Christmas village anywhere. Either I wrapped it away so well I don't know where I put it, or it broke last year and I forgot to make a note. I was hoping to get a new nativity this year, but I found none in my thrifting or shopping-until I remembered there is a miniature one hidden in my advent wreath!. I did get one of my two simple patchwork quilts finished. I may quilt it free motion after the holidays but right now it is done in the ditch and bound.  This one is not meant to hand on the wall, but be folded over the couch and be used. Christmas decorations remain up in this house through the twelve days of Christmas and are removed the day after Epiphany (7 Jan).  After all folks, Christmas has actually not yet begun.  Christmas begins Monday at midnight (sorry, that's my annual lecture).

And now, I'm off to bake and sew. Candles are lit, as is the tree and Christmas village.  Christmas music is streaming through my laptop.  Time to go and do Christmas things.

Oh, and somehow I hope to fit one of those in the theater movies into my schedule in the next few days.  I think I've mentioned this before.............I fully admit that I love movies where the good guys get the bad guys.  If things explode and such, that's all the better. Ellen Ripley is my hero.  I fully admit when it comes to film I enjoy mindless drivel as much as the good stuff. Many of the movies I go to I would never have let my kids see until they graduated from high school.  I will, however, NOT be going to see "Zero Dark Thirty". I'll stick to fiction such as "Gangster Squad" and perhaps even "Jack Reacher". I know, I know what I said, but have you seen the reviews?  Apparently even book fans think its pretty great.  Still trying to decide whether I can handle the new Quenten Tarantino movie-I suspect that's one of those that gets saved for DVD so that I can fast forward through the icky parts. 

Happy Weekend, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. "And now, I'm off to bake and sew. Candles are lit, as is the tree and Christmas village. Christmas music is streaming through my laptop. Time to go and do Christmas things."

    Merry Christmas Barb.
    May the joy of the Christchild fill you each and every day of the new year!


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