As you may have heard, the Puget Soud region was hit by some insane wind storms the night before last. A million and a half people were left without power and over 24 hours later half a million still don't have any. I am sure this is incredibly awful for the people it is affecting. Last night at the grocery store people were stocking up on firewood and coolers. We were very lucky because we never lost power, not even our cable (and thank god for cable!). Matt's office building, however, was without power, so he didn't have to work yesterday. Therefor, I say "hooray!" because it was really nice to have him home one extra day this weekend. We did a little shopping yesterday (one of the stores hardly had any lights on at all, but they were open!) and I was able to run to the post office all by myself (ah, peace and quiet!) to finally mail out the Christmas gifts. Now we just cross our fingers that they will get there by the big day! I am officially done with my shopping/sending. Matt is apparently still going to buy me some things, which I am not sure why since we did say that our present to each other was going to be the very laptop I am typing on. Hmmmm. He was concerned that Miss Iris would get the idea that Christmas was all about her since Eloise would have a couple of gifts, he and I wouldn't have any, and then she'd have about a billion to open on Christmas morning. Good point! I'll take more presents :)
We are trying to start all sorts of fun Christmas traditions for our family. One of Matt's is to get a new CD of Christmas music every year (this year I got him the Sufjan Stevens multi-disc set!). We actually listen to Christmas music quite a bit! Tonight we went for a drive to see lights, which I suspect will also become a tradition. Then there is the advent calendar filled with chocolate, the St. Nick's stockings, the Christmas day stockings . . . well, you get the idea. When two people try to combine the traditions of both of their families, what you get are a boat-load of tradition to fill many days of festivities!
I have thought alot about what I'm going to do differently next year, as well:
1. Next year, I will have all of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. I got a good start this year, but next year will be better!
2. I will not be dead-set on using the photo we take in front of the tree for our Christmas cards, thereby making it easier to get them printed an out in the mail earlier.
3. I will also not be dead-set on creating a huge amount of photo gifts on Shutterfly. Although I love the company and their products, man, they are so frickin' expensive it's insane. I have found much cheaper places to do my photo gifts for next year! Which brings me to my next one . . .
4. I will create my photo gifts MUCH earlier next year so I don't have to pay extra for express shipping to everyone and will use all of my own pictures of the grandkids for the calendar I make for my parents. Man, trying to get my brother and sister to send photos was like pulling teeth, I swear! Next year I will just use the photos that I will tae on vacation this summer.
5. We will set a budget and start saving ahead of time!
6. I will get Iris and Eloise involved in making crafts and goodies for gifts.
And for the biggest one . . .
7. We will be with extended family next year, one way or another! We decided not to travel this year for alot of reasons, but it will feel lonely this year. I especially miss my immediate and extended family this time of year because whenever we get together the kids are SOOO much fun to be with.
Has anyone else learned anything from this Christmas or have any good tips to share with me for making the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful and consumer-filled?