"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Speed Christmas (I've Doubled my Trouble)

In my last post, in which I described a few Mexican Christmas traditions I was looking forward to on our vacation this year, I mentioned that I was relieved to not have to participate, this year, in the frenetic endurance test that is the modern American Christmas.

Ha ha ha, and of course, Ho Ho Ho.

Opting out of Christmas is not an option, even if you will be out of the country. In fact, planning to be out of the country only increases the Christmas related stress, because all your relatives will insist on having a pre-Christmas Christmas with you before you go. At least, that is what happened in my family. So I still had to make, buy, or otherwise scrounge gifts for everyone while simultaneously trying to organize and pack for a three week trip. And wrap them, because there is no greater shame, in my family, than handing over a gift - no matter how expensive or thoughtfully picked out - in a plastic bag. So the annual rummaging-through-of-the-drawers for scissors and scotch tape was held as usual.

Then my children, who are in the prime Christmas years of their lives, being eight and six, became alarmed that they were going to miss out on things like a live Christmas tree and visiting Santa. For some reason, regaling them with tales about the joys of midnight mass did not relieve their longings. While I wasn't going to buy and decorate a real live tree, I decided to resurrect a tradition we had when we lived in the city and had no room to plant a Christmas tree every year. I went down to the Learning Store and bought some thirty feet of green butcher paper, cut it into tree shapes, and the kids and I decorated them with potato stamps and glitter glue. Then we taped them to the walls to make a Christmas tree forest.

Last weekend, we attended an annual event that we enjoy very much - Old Time Christmas at Pioneer Park in Ferndale (City of Ferndale - Parks - Pioneer Park). Pioneer Park is one of the coolest parks around - the city has moved some fifteen original pioneer homes to the park and furnished them with authentic period furnishings - everything from stoves to bedsteads and quilts. In the summer, you can tour the homes with a docent guide for the measly sum of $3 per adult and $1 per child, the best bargain in the county. The park is closed in winter, except for one weekend in December, when the cabins are all decked out in Christmas decorations, there are activities and crafts for the children, and Santa is there to hear your child's wishes. You can even take pictures - for free.

I wouldn't miss old time Christmas at Pioneer Park for a stocking full of bourbon and cash. The kids loved it.

But Christmas before Christmas wasn't over yet. Hope wanted to have a Christmas themed slumber party before we left. Frankly, I just couldn't face that idea, so I haggled her down to a Christmas cookie decorating party. That was today - thank God for sugar cookie dough in a tube is all I can say. I had six children over and we decorated about a thousand cookies. Even now, some four hours later, my kids are buzzing around the ceiling on a sugar-cookie and purple frosting high.

But at least I have something to leave in the neighbor's mailboxes before we go. Green angel with pumpkin seed wings, anybody? Merry Christmas!