Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Christmas Revolt

It wasn't until yesterday at Church that we realized what exactly we had done by not going to family's on Christmas Day.

We had taken back our own Christmas life.

Well, in truth, we never had it, seeing as how this was the first time we had ever done anything like this.  We felt like teenagers sneaking out of the house - and only one of us is a true teenager.  And we did the opposite of sneak out - we snuck in !

Now before the flaming starts, let's set some background:

We've been married 23 years.  We have a sixteen year old.  In all that time we have had no fewer than three FOUR Christmases a year.  Get this....

....With all the same people.  Who live within the same 60 mile radius.  Who we see at least twelve times a year already.

The year our daughter was three, we had SEVEN Christmases.  All with the same people; we just changed houses.  It started on December 21st and culminated on January 1st.  By the seventh gift opening, our daughter curled herself in an Ikea doll bed as far away from the rest of us as a 24 foot room allowed.  She lay under her blanket in a too small bed, sucking on a fake baby doll bottle.  The family had to open all her presents.

Okay, stage set?  Do you see where I'm coming from?

Last year, Thanksgiving, we decided we were done having two of those.  For 22 years we would have one Thanksgiving in Seattle at 1:00 and drive to Portland to have the other one at 6:00.  Cray, cray, right?  We decided we were doing the alternating thing like most, normal, sane people do.

Cue the music.

Christmas 2014.  The invite came in for the January 1st gift opening.  Then came the invite for Christmas Day 2:00 dinner.  Then Christmas Eve dinner.  The first two are with the same people - just different houses.

I think we could have started a couple fights!
Okay, revolt time.  As a family (and since it was December 18th when we made this decision and there were no more rooms available in any respectable hotel in Costa Rica) we decided that Christmas Day was going to be OURS.

I know, I know; cherish these moments.  Family is family.  No one is going to live forever.  I get that.  We drove 300 miles every Christmas for six years, sometimes in blinding snowstorms,  because it was "Grandpa's last Christmas".  And finally, one year it was his last Christmas.  We were bitter that everyone else was in charge of our time and we felt we were guilted into this arrangement.

I made the announcement that we would not be joining my family at my brothers on December 19th, 2014 (at about 12:43, it was such a monumental announcement).  Word got out within a matter of minutes.  The inquest began.  Wait, what?  I'm sure you'll change your mind.  You should come anyway, just for a while (yeah an hour and a half away, no thanks) What are you going to do? (underlined with: make it a good reason)  If you change your mind...

We didn't change our mind.

Our teenager woke up at 10:30 am.  In years previous, we would have already rushed through the opening of our own stockings and presents, eaten breakfast at the in-laws, opening stocking there and be showered and ready to drive to the next Christmas.  By 10:30 am.

We opened stockings and presents, made breakfast, went to our own corners to play with new toys, watched House Hunters International and Buying Islands, dressed and went to the 3:40 showing of the Hobbit.  We reaquainted ourselves with the X-Box and a new Lego Marvel game.

Serious Lego Game going on here...
We had Chicken Noodle Soup for Dinner.


Or so we thought until we brought it up to church.  During the meet and greet, we were asked what we did for Christmas.  We told them (it's church, you can't lie).  The husband was fascinated.  The wife was amazed.

They wanted to be us.

The simplicity.  The lack of stress.   No schedule.  No guilt. The fact that we were our own unit.

We will go to the traditional gift opening on New Years Day.  It will be fun and I will enjoy it more now that I'm not bitter about someone else deciding what I am going to do with my time.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tree Hoarding - Seriously???

I went out today and purchased a once-live Christmas tree, just like I've done for the past 24 years of our marriage.  This one was pre-cut (although farmed locally) so there is nothing sustainable about it (sorry).  It was $14.99 plus tax.  I strapped that sucker on the top of the Highlander and drove home (only stopping once to make sure it was REALLY tied down).

To my five acres of Christmas-tree-loaded farm.

Say whaaaat?

Honestly, we have hundreds of five to eight foot Douglas Firs, Nobles, Frasiers, Spruces, and I don't know what else planted across our property.

We have for seventeen years.

You see, when I announced my pregnancy to my husband, he went out and purchased about fifty trees - oh, and a tractor.  Go figure.  I don't know what his thought process was - he was procreating too?

Just one section of the rows and rows of trees.

See, in a bucket, ready to (some day) be planted.
And grow more.  That I can't cut down.

Anyway, he has purchased several hundred trees in the past sixteen years.  He goes to the supplier who supplies the Conservation District, so he gets little saplings for pennies.

Hundreds of them.

And pays teenage kids to plant them.  And he plants them.  And I plant them.  And everyone who ever comes on our property plants them.

Many of them are big enough where they aren't saplings anymore (like they were when we bought them).  They are full fledged Christmas tree size.

THAT HE WON'T LET ME CUT DOWN.  Not one.  Once a year, can't I have one?  Nope.  If I take that one, there will be a hole and we can see the neighbors.  Nope, that one and we can see the train.  Nope, take that one and we can see the one behind it.

Tree hoarding.  Never heard of such an affliction.  

One of us needs therapy.  And it's not me. :)