Friday, December 28, 2007

The Christmas Package

Last week Mom told me she'd sent our Christmas package and I should call her when it arrived. She said it would be here in a couple of days. Christmas packages are a Big Deal(tm) to my mom, so I immediately went on the lookout. Lo and behold, the next day there was a notice in my box that we'd gotten a package but I had to go and sign for it. UGH! With our commute there is just no going to the post office on weekdays. I'd have to do it on Saturday. I was annoyed my mom sent something I'd have to sign for, but I figured she just wanted it to get here in time.

So Saturday rolls around and I FORGOT TO GET IT. They close at 1 on Saturdays and I totally spaced it. It still wasn't too late though. I knew I'd have to get that package on Christmas Eve Day Monday, come hell or high water. I still had my city mentality and I figured they wouldn't close early, at least not before 1. How wrong I was! I got there at 12:20 only to find they'd closed at noon. I almost cried. Not because I wanted the presents, but because I knew my mom would be so upset.

The first thing I did was phone my sister to try to make her tell me what was in the package. My plan was to find out and then lie to my mom and say I got the package and we loved everything in it. This was a little lie for the greater good. A necessary lie. My sister let me down though! She refused to say what was in the package. I was soo upset. How could she hold out on me like this??

I ran the rest of my last minute errands and on my way home stopped to get the mail. We don't get home delivery, our box is about 1/2 mile from our house with all the neighbors' boxes. A bunch of folks were already there waiting for the mailman which gave me a brilliant idea: I would ask the mail-lady if I could wait at the post office for her to finish her route and she could get my package.

I had little confidence my plan would work. It had to be against the rules but it was worth a try. When she arrived I told her about my problem and she volunteered to pick up the package and deliver it to my house after her route! I could barely believe it! This would never happen in the city. I got such a warm Christmas spirit feeling and I wished I'd given her more than a bag of Moose Munch this year.

That night I took my daughter out to see Santa riding through the streets on his fire engine (more small-town goodness) and on the way back I stopped at the mailbox. Sure enough, there was my mom's package! All was right with the world.

When I got home my husband said, "The mail lady brought by that package." I froze. What package? I had the one I had been fretting myself crazy over for almost a week. He said, "Your sister-in-law overseas sent us something." It took only moments for me to process. I'd been worrying for days over the wrong package, for the wrong reasons. My mom's package didn't need to be signed for, it was just very late.

Feeling silly about all that worry and stress, I realized I still got a great lesson on Christmas Spirit, and we got to eat chocolates from Belgium on Christmas Day while opening presents from my mom. Not to mention the discovery of my sister's traitorous streak!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New Traditions, Old Magic?

This will be the first year since Mike and I met that we won't be traveling to Idaho for Christmas, and I've been thinking a lot about what makes Christmas at home magical for me. My family has always had a lot of traditions and I want the same thing for my kids. We trimmed the tree tonight and I had to laugh at what will eventually become the new Christmas traditions for our children.

First, instead of going to the woods, or even to a Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree (this included stopping at McDonalds for burgers and looking at Christmas lights and singing carols in the car for us), Mike made the trek into the storage room in our basement and hauled up the giant box that holds our fake Christmas tree. It comes out of the box looking more like a green rectangle than a tree, so we spent a good half hour pulling the branches apart and trying to make it look "real." This is a painful process because those wires are really jabby!

While we trimmed the tree I wanted Christmas music, but we don't have a stereo, nor do we have any Christmas albums. So I set up my laptop and played youtube Christmas slide shows set to Nat King Cole, Andy Williams and Karen Carpenter songs. My daughter decorated the bottom half of the tree with kid ornaments and I did the top with nice ones, and maybe I will re-do it while she's sleeping tonight. My mom always did, and Mike says his mom did too. ;)

After we finished the tree we washed our hands. Not because of sticky pine sap. Mainly because of the lead warnings on the tree and on the lights. Seriously, can't we make anything without lead in it?

Finally, I plugged in a pine scented air freshener to get that Christmas tree smell in the air. It is good and actually does smell like a tree! After decorating the Christmas tree a family should sit down to a nice dinner of comfort food, so Mike warmed up a can of soup for him and DD to share.

What wonderful traditions our children will have to look back on and try to recreate with their own kids, haha. The best part is that DD really DID have a great time. I think maybe Christmas can be magic regardless of whether the soup's from a can and the tree smell is an air freshener. Maybe the magic is about family doing Christmas things together. My next project is to buy Christmas cookie dough and bake it with DD. I'll let you know if that rates on the Christmas magic scale too. ;)