Holiday Hoopla: Part Deux
Ok, as promised (although a few days late), my responses to my own posed questions about the holidays. It isn't too late - feel free to comment with your own experiences or blog about them.

What is the one holiday ritual you would absolutely never give up?
Oh this is a hard one - we have so many! I can't chose one. I will chose two. First is our Winter Solstice celebration. My kids adore it and I look forward to it as our one best meal of the year. We celebrate this longest night of the year and the subsequent longer and longer days ahead by having a very rich meal, hanging golden "sun" ornaments on our tree, opening the ornaments that my Dad and stepMom give to us each year and hanging those and we burn a huge golden candle all night long. The meal is homemade chicken tortilla soup, pumpkin muffins and piping hot wassail. Yum. And then we all watch my favorite Christmas show, The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus.
The other big ritual I would not give up also, coincidentally, has to do with food :-) Our Christmas Eve hors devours feast! This is a ritual that I did as a child and I carry on some of the same recipes we had each year. When we were little, we went to church on Xmas Eve and then had hors devours late into the night and finally passed out. I don't know how my mom ever did her wrapping! Haha. We don't go to church so we have the appetizer earlier in the night and get the kids off to bed early. It takes them about 100 hours to fall asleep, thanks to the excitement of Christmas looming ahead. Meanwhile we feverishly wrap and wrap. Plus there is always some big gift to *build*. This year is no exception. I think I love Christmas Eve even better than Christmas day!

What is the part of the holidays you find the most tedious and exhausting? I have worked VERY hard to cut out any and all parts that are tedious or exhausting. If it isn't enjoyable, we just don't do it. Some people have told us that we are selfish for thinking this way but you also won't find me bitching on Christmas night about all the negativity that a lot of people are faced with. There is enough negativity thrust upon my life the other 364 days of the year. Christmas is PEACE. Period. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that it is keeping up with stupid online orders. I have had a HORRIBLE year with Circuit City customer service. I will save that for tomorrow's rant. Above and beyond that, I ordered 4 things from online resellers (ebay, half.com, amazon marketplace) and of those 4 things, THREE of them never showed up and of those three, TWO were "oversold - oops!". But there is always a little Christmas Miracle along the way and yesterday was definitely my Christmas Miracle redeeming day. More on that later.

What is the worst or weirdest gift you have ever received? Once I received a used wallet. Another time I received a pair of leggings that were well worn and way WAY too short for me. I'm really REALLY unpicky about gifts and rarely get any so I can't say much negative in this area.

What is the most memorable gift you have ever received? I was given an engagement ring by my boys' father during my eldest son's first Christmas (he was six weeks old). That was, by far, the most memorable gift I have ever received - COMPLETELY unexpected. That was the same year he also bought me this really hot "little black dress" that fit me like a glove and I had just given birth six weeks ago so it completely turned around my self-esteem and made me feel like a woman again. He gave that to me on Christmas Eve so I could wear it to church. That will probably always be the best Christmas I ever had and definitely one of the only Christmases in my adult life where someone really paid close attention to what I deserved and what would make me feel good and worked really hard to make me happy. And, sadly, it is probably one of the few decent days I ever had with my ex! haha.

What is the one thing you do to make organizing your holiday a little bit easier? This year I made an Excel spreadsheet for gifts! I am not even kidding. This way I can sort it by kid to make sure that one kid or another didn't get totally shafted in the gift department and I can also track what was purchased, what was sent, what was received and what has been wrapped. Guess how many checks are in the "wrapped" column so far? Anyway, as I said before, we have seven kids to shop for. If I did not have some sort of system for gifts, I would have totally forgotten about the abovementioned three unsent items from online resellers. And I would probably overshop for some kids and undershop for others. Plus if we need to make any returns, I have a written list of where we bought from which is nice because I often buy and return until I find the best deals so it is impossible to remember where any one thing came from.

If you could make one holiday wish, this year, what would it be? Sadly my holiday wishes are usually the same every year. Let's just say it involves never having a repeat of the past year. That may sound strange since I don't blog a lot about the very personal areas of my life and this past year brought my Addy-Mai. I am definitely grateful for a lot this year but being grateful is different than being happy. This year also brought more heartbreak and pain and turmoil and chaos and did I mention heartbreak? than one person ought to endure in a year. It brought cancer and lies and betrayal. I would not wish this past year on anyone. So my wish is that, Addison aside, my next year is better. I know that is selfish. I should wish for peace, no more war, no more hunger, etc. But right now I feel selfish. So there ya go. Maybe that's why my wish rarely comes true?! haha. So if I have to have another heartbreaking year, then my wish is that I have it in Houston :-)
posted by Stepping On Legos at 12/19/2006§

Aw I love your answers :) Honest and real. Happy holidays and I wish you were in TX as well!!!!
I absolutely love that movie, I record it on tv every year, lol. I've never actually heard of anyone else enjoying it though most people I tell think it's pretty dark and a little weird, oh well.
Merry Christmas, enjoy the kids-they're all stunninly beautiful! :)
That excel spreadsheet sounds very impressive. I should do that - only I'm so not a linear thinker. Hardly even make lists! But I bet it keeps you super organized and saves tons of time.
Hope you get your Christmas wish this year.
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Name: Stepping On Legos
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