Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hooray (sort of) for wind storms!

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?


  1. Hooray indeed! Days off are wonderful!!! Glad to hear that you still have power too!

    Like you, I am a huge fan of photo gifts. I just spent WAAAY too much on calendars for my family at the Kodak site... and now I get an email saying they won't be with my family in time for Christmas. GRrrrr. I ordered them on Dec2!!!

    Anyway, it made me determined to spend less next year and to get the Kidlet involved in crafting. We are going to buy construction paper and get photos printed and then make our own calendars! Lots of glitter, crayons, paper shapes and all the photos of the Kidlet she wants to include. It should make for a very personal calendar!!!

  2. You have learned some great things that we all can strive for this Christmas & Christmases to come!

    Oh, and I am LOVING Sufjan's Christmas CD this year, too!

  3. I try to start shopping in the summer! I pick up things on clearance or sale. This also helps spread out the purchases as well. I have also found some cool stuff at garage sales that was still new or giftable condition or on Mama Barter...a Yahoo trading group.

    Next, I'm trying to DOWN-SIZE gifting. Especially to extended family with whom we will not be spending the holiday. We draw names or agree to just buy for the kids.

    Lastly, I have learned that my kids get way too much. Family sends us packages in the mail, etc... so, SANTA brings 1 big item and stocking stuffers to the kids. Mommy and Daddy get 3 gifts for each of the kids. They get so much that it is hard to appreciate each item because they are over-whelmed.

    We try to focus on the real meaning of the holiday and put less focus on the gifts. It helps to keep things into perspective.

  4. That is a great idea about limiting the number of gifts. My problem with buying early is that we ended up waaayyyy over-buying. Even today I was out and about and had to stop myself from buying Iris even more gifts! Sheesh!

  5. I don't know ... I'm pretty happy with my x-mas card picture with my daughter in front of your x-mas tree. I may be back next year to do the pcitures at your place again.

    This morning we made little individual gift bags filled with cookies that EJ made and decorated. Then she gave them to all the kids at church. That was really fun and didn't have the "consumer" part of x-mas in it.

    I'm trying not to get EJ all psyched about the "getting presents" part of x-mas but I think it's inevetible. Her grandma gets to town this Wed. and the first thing EJ said was, "What is she bringing me?" Sigh.

  6. I love this list-- so many of those things ring true for me too! I try not to get caught up in the shopping-wrapping-shipping frenzy but when I put things off until the last minute, ugh, it's like there's no way around it. Next year will be better, I will be the first one in line at the Post Office on December 1st, parcels all beautifully wrapped and ready to go. Actually I think your list needs to be taped on my fridge on September 1, 2007 :)

    I'm glad you have power at home and that your husband got a surprise day off.

  7. I feel you on the list. I'm not even thinking about next year and all the "have-tos" yet-let me just get through this year.

    I'm glad you got through all the storms okay-when I saw the stuff on the news, I was thinking about you guys. Sounds like you and Matt are doing well, which makes for a very Merry Christmas indeed!


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