Dec 6, 2011

Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart, But Never Got Around to Posting It

I found this post in my queue from Christmas last year, which I never published (and we all know by now, that's just one of those things I do). Sinter Klaas festivities are over now, which means that today everyone puts away the shoes and the kidnapping sack and puts up the Christmas trees, as the two holidays are entirely separate here. So to kick off our Christmas celebrations in Holland, here it is, a blast from our Christmas past.

December 2010:
Sometime between all the chestnut roasting and fa-la-la-la-la-ing going on around here, I opened up the pre-heated oven to find a plastic plate of play-dough creations Sam had put in there a few days earlier and forgotten about. I can't believe we didn't smell all that plastic melting, probably due to the overwhelming stagnant water aroma coming from our flooded crawl-space. So I did what any responsible blogger would do and ran for my camera. Only the battery was dead and the charger has been missing for months. So when I picked up my cell phone (which was also dead; do you get the feeling things have been going very smoothly here? Good.) to take a picture, Sam's reaction, naturally, was "Mom, are you calling the police?"

No, but that might not have been a bad idea. This woman seriously should not be baking with small children present.

So, yep, the Holidays are in full-swing around here.

In fact, Sam just sat down with me and told me the Nativity story, using our supposed "unbreakable" nativity set (ha- my kids never met a nativity set they couldn't break). According to Sam, Mary and Joseph's story also involves some elements of Mary Had a Little Lamb, and at the end, one of the Wise Men needs to go off and be alone. I can relate to that.

I have a theory about Christmas: it goes better when you do most everything in advance. I also have a theory about doing things in advance: actually, no, I almost never do anything in advance, so I wouldn't know much about it. Therefore, Christmas and I will always have a very strained relationship. If Christmas and I could go to couple's therapy, it would go something like this:

Me: Your expectations are too high! My life is not a Hallmark commercial!
Christmas: Your not trying hard enough. I don't see why you can't find the exact perfect balance between meaningful spiritually-infused experiences and non-stop fun for 25 days straight, all while avoiding the trappings of blatant and empty consumerism. It's really quite simple.
Me: Well, how exactly do you do that?
Christmas: Easy. You either stay awake 24/7 from November on, or you work on it 1 hour each day starting immediately after Valentine's Day. Also, it helps to be insane. And, drinking lots of egg-nog. 

Speaking of insanity, we decorated the tree with the kids last night, and thereby began my favorite Holiday tradition. Admittedly,  I'm not putting in nearly the effort I have in years past. I've maybe moved 2 or 3 ornaments out of Nate's reach, and haven't even put on my glasses to look at in high-def. In fact, if you want to know what it looks like to me, here it is, courtesy of our camera phone and poor lighting (thanks to the aforementioned camera issues).

It's fitting this pictures gives the tree an awesome 70's vibe, since while decorating the kids were inexplicably singing Funky Town. That's right, one of the worst songs of all time was our soundtrack for decorating our Christmas tree.
You're singing it now too, aren't you?
Technically Funky Town is from 1980, but it reeks of the late 1970's. You know what else reeks of the late 70's? This picture of my very first Christmas:


Are you loving that couch?

If my kids think Funky Town is acceptable holiday music, or any kind of music really, I've utterly failed them. So why not just go with it? If you can't fight it, embrace it. I've been thinking about how to expand on the 70's Christmas theme. 5-course all jello dinner? Instead of pajamas, matching polyester leisure suits from Santa? Did the Bee Gees make a Christmas album? Instead of acting out the Nativity story, we can have an evening of Performance Art and Interpretive Dance. Sea Monkeys and Pet Rocks are timeless gifts right? I'm not sure those are even from the 70's, but it just feels right, and tacky.

Tacky, like that melted plastic and play-dough I found in our oven. Maybe I should go hang it on our Christmas tree. And then I'm hitting the egg-nog. 

How are your holiday celebrations going? And what were you doing last year at this time? Anything different?

Dec 5, 2011

Sint in Sepia

Holiday Rule #57: Disguise bad photos in sepia tones. Added bonus: instant nostalgia!  

Sinter Klaas drops off a sack of presents on the doorstep after dinner. 
But only if the kid's rooms are clean.  

 I don't know why, but all Sinter Klaas wrapping paper is unbelievably ugly. 
Trust me, it's an assault on your eyeballs. 

Hey kids, remember that time when we celebrated Sinter Klaas in Holland? That was awesome. Right? And you're not going to forget on Christmas morning and complain that you didn't get anything, right? Because we all agree that one gratuitous gift-giving holiday in one month is enough? Right? Good.