Adventures in Christmas Decorating

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Welp, it’s that wonderful time of year again. You know, Christmas and holidays and trees and presents and magic. Which is great to witness in movies, but a PITA to experience.

Ok. Fine. I have a somewhat squelchy heart made of coal. (How can coal squelch? Wouldn’t that require more soggy material? Clearly mixed a metaphor or two back there. I digress.)

Anyhow. The only reason I even care about Christmas is because I want to create traditions for my children. (Ok, not the ONLY reason since I do believe Christ’s birth and its incumbent scandal is worthy of remembering and celebrating.)

I don’t particularly care for decorating and all of that stuff but my kids LOVE it and actually are old enough to remember doing things in previous years. So, because I love them, I force myself to go through with all this folderol.

Also, I am a sucker for making memories. I know. I am just overflowing with Christmas Spirit.

And since we don’t do Santa (I personally don’t like connecting an old white dude who lives in the North and knows if you are naughty or nice and rewards good kids and punishes bad kids with Jesus’s birthday because it sounds suspiciously like a draconian god and when kids find out Santa isn’t real, why would God and Jesus be real and OMG I AM THE WORST BUT MY KIDS ARE STUCK WITH ME SO TOO BAD FOR THEM), nor do I give the kids individual presents (we do communal presents from Hapa Papa and I but they get presents from family and teachers) —

breathe —

So pretty much the only thing we do is buy and decorate a tree and our bannister with a bunch of crappy shatterproof ornaments from Target, cute crafty ornaments made from their hand and footprints when Cookie Monster and Gamera were very little, and make new ornaments and crafts for the tree this year.

I quite enjoy seeing the old ornaments come out even though some are falling apart already. I guess my heart isn’t entirely ossified. (Don’t tell anyone.)

Anyhow, this is all just to say that the tree and decorating it are THE THING WE DO AT CHRISTMAS TIME in the Mandarin Mama household so even if it’s a royal PITA, I suck it up and do it because this is all we do.

Geez. I really am a kill joy. But I tell you what: I am never stressed out at Christmastime and I don’t have to find presents for the kids or anyone else other than my nephews and my mother and my kids’ teachers.

Anyhow, with that preamble out of the way, here is how our yearly tradition went this year.

1) Bought a Christmas tree with all four kids. BY MYSELF.

Seriously. This is one yearly solo with kids tradition I could do without. I hate it. Hapa Papa hates it. I may or may not have passive aggressively texted my dismay to Hapa Papa.

Good man that he is, he cleaned the house and prepped the corner for the tree and brought out all the Christmas stuff from the garage as an apology. (He also washed the cloth diapers.)

Apology accepted.

2) Had to use clippers and hand cut off more branches because I forgot to tell the Home Depot guy to trim 1.5′ off the bottom instead of the usual 8″ they do.

I have a deep stand, ok?

Try not to make that sound too dirty.

3) Put up Christmas tree and had to go out and buy new lights because I forgot that I threw out all the lights last year.

Bought lots of chocolate as a reward. Kids stole half my chocolate.

4) Put up new lights.

Realized I didn’t have the heart to toss the star last year because it is pretty but should have because I forgot it is broken and doesn’t light up so now I have to go out again and get a new star because Cookie Monster insists.

5) Successfully did not yell at kids for their help decorating the tree. After all, nothing makes warm Christmas memories quite like Mommy yelling because you aren’t decorating right.

6) Listened to Christmas music because it is Hapa Papa’s favorite part of Christmastime. I think. Either way, he is a big fan of Christmas music.

7) Last year, Glow Worm’s favorite thing at Christmas time was to take ornaments off the tree and throw them. This year is no exception.

8) My kids can make even Christmas decorating a dangerous sport.

9) Glow Worm also thinks the ornaments are toys (same as last year) and uses them as balls, food, whatever. He has been driving them around in his Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (which he also) did last year. Glad to see that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

10) And despite my alleged dislike for all the effort it requires, seeing the tree and bannister lit up every time I pass by makes me feel happy.

11) Of course, my entire house is littered with scattered ornaments and the little green hooks from which they hang.

These will conspire to trip me as our tree gets barer and barer and our floor gets more and more treacherous.

I could pick them up and put them back on the tree but then Glow Worm wins.

12) I must have succeeded in hiding my actual feelings because Cookie Monster kept commenting how I must love Christmas (or something to that effect). So yay, me!

Anyhow. May your holiday traditions be in full swing and full of joy for you and your families. Happy Wednesday!

My Top 3 Christmas Pop Songs

Merry Christmas, party people! Hope you and yours are having a great day full of memory making activities. (Oh, let’s face it. If you have small children, hope today is not like every other day and you have 0-1 meltdowns and time outs. And that you got to sleep in an extra ten minutes.) If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then, happy Wednesday. 😀 Enjoy your day off courtesy of the tyranny of the hybrid religious/pagan festival from pseudo-Christianity!

In light of the festivities (and also because I’m sure you want to get back to that merry-making vs. trolling the interwebs – get back to your family, you!), here are my Top 3 Christmas Pop Songs of my youth. I would come up with something more recent were I aware of any.

3) River – Joni Mitchell

Ok, so it’s sad and melancholy and depressing. The best kind of music! And perfect for the holidays if you’re feeling The Sads this time of year.

2) Last Christmas – WHAM!

Um, because this song is AWESOME. AWESOME. Hapa Papa and I randomly quote this song throughout the year. Because WE are awesome.

1) All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Instant classic. This song makes me super happy always. 😀 I don’t care that it’s cheesy and overplayed. LOVE IT. I remember when I used to work in Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd right across from the Scientology building and every Christmas, they would play holiday music on full blast for two weeks and I would hear this song at least a million times a day so by the time Christmas rolled around, I had heard it at least 14 million times (true fact). It hasn’t affected my love in the slightest. Enjoy!

Alright, your turn! What are your favorite Christmas pop songs? Tell me in the comments and include the YouTube link if you can!

What I REALLY Want for Christmas

Since it’s right before Christmas, I figured I would join the fray and throw out what I want for Christmas. (Yes, it’s a fluff piece today. TWSS!) After all, this is the season of getting, right? The thing is, in my household, I’ve just told people not to get me any presents anymore. Anything I want, I get (within reason). I tell Hapa Papa all the time, every day is Christmas thanks to Amazon Prime!

Truthfully, there’s not much I want. Most of my acquisitive instincts have been subsumed into my children’s wants/needs/desires. However, I would like more of the following:

1) Sleep

2) Time to myself

3) Time with my friends (without children)

That’s it. I imagine that’s also what Hapa Papa wants. Too bad for him I’m the Taker in the relationship.

But really, these are all easily attainable. I would also get more sleep if I didn’t act the fool and actually went to bed at a decent hour. Now that the kids are older and play with each other so well, I get a LOT of time to do what I want (as long as the kids are around) when Glow Worm is napping. And I usually get to spend some alone time with my friends on the weekends because of Hapa Papa’s kindness.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m some kind of Zen ascetic. I’m sure I have mentioned that my house looks like a toy store vomited and then a cyclone full of toys and Play Doh hit at 100mph. That’s because I have too many toys. (Which I’m trying to get rid of.) I have both a storage problem and a supply problem! And what do I do about it? BUY MORE TOYS. Because, you know, Cookie Monster is getting older. So, um, I need different toys. I mean, he needs different toys. For big kids. *sigh*

The only good thing about getting rid of toys, (other than all the space it frees up for MORE toys) is that I am having Cookie Monster choose which toys to donate/sell/disappear. He’s not too bad about it, so at least he’s okay with choosing toys he doesn’t really play with (and no, he’s not “donating” the toys Gamera plays with). He does ask why some kids don’t have toys, though. I don’t know that I have a satisfactory answer yet that makes sense in his world. But I’ll keep trying!

Anyhow, what do you want for Christmas? Let me know in the comments.