Monday, December 10, 2007

Writing that previous post helped kick my ass, a little. I've been doing a lot more, at least, with the crafts and such. And I'm not staring out the window for quite as long as I did before.
This Saturday I took CJ to a Christmas tree farm to harvest a tree (well, really to watch some guy slice our chosen tree down with a chainsaw). This is his first Christian tree experience, and it's the first one I've been in charge of, so I was pretty excited. CJ was too, and he assisted with all manner of tree acquiring and trimming. He seemed to enjoy the whole affair, especially after I entrusted him with the hanging of the lights on the tree. I put on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack, and he drank some eggnog, bemoaning the fact that he didn't have a big blue cable-knit sweater to wear. He did claim that he could feel his foreskin growing back on account of all of his Christmasy participation, so I guess the spirit of the season is truly upon us all.

Here is a thumbnail of the tree, with a cameo by two semi-interested cats (they sniffed the tree with great fervor, but so far haven't batted at a single ornament):


Full size image, a close-up of Junebug, and future photos will be added here. I still need a tree topper, which I'm about to go whip up myself. I was tempted to get something shiny and flashy and cheap at Target, but that's not really my thing. At least, it's not my thing when I have this much free time on my hands.

I need to stop thinking I have to make more ornaments, though. The tree is already fairly full of them, most of which were given to me by my grandmother. She'd give me and my sister one new ornament every year, usually purchased at a church fund-raiser, and this will be the first year I don't get one. The ornaments were better some years than others, and I don't have anything close to 34 ornaments from her here... Either I left them at my parents' house so I can see them on their tree when I visit for Christmas, or I left them at my parents' house because I kind of can't bear to have them in my house at all. I'll miss getting them every year, though. I loved picturing my grandmother at her church's craft fair perusing the folding tables full of weird vaguely-holiday-themed things made of yarn, walnuts, felt, and pinecones, looking for just the right ones to give to me and my sister.

I'd love to do something like that for my niece and nephew, but from what I hear from my sister, they already get way too much stuff from the kids' grandparents. My sister has a small apartment that's already packed to the gills. If I had that much stuff, and was gifted with a whole lot more stuff that I didn't need or ask for, I'd start feeling a little crazy. So out of empathy for my sister and brother-in-law, I've only gotten each kid one gift. I am afraid that this will mean I am losing the gifts arms race with the older members of the family, and the kids will like me less as a result, so I'm very conflicted about this. It would be easy for me to buy/make a lot more stuff for them, because they are adorable and I love them. But I also can't bring myself to add to the problem.

If I were my sister I'd like to think I'd do something radical like this: After the gifts have all been opened, have the kids choose their favorite four or five (because they have already gotten DOZENS of gifts from one set of grandparents alone) and donate the rest to a shelter. (I think I got that idea from AskMetafilter, but Metafilter's been down all morning so I can't link to it. Will edit this post once it comes back up and I can find it.) In reality, this would probably lead to a lot of screaming and whining and crying, and the kids would probably be upset too (see what I did there?). But how else can you stop the madness? Cutting off the supply chain seems impossible: Grandparents are notorious for not listening to their children's pleas for moderation in giftery, and that certainly seems to be playing out here. If I ever have kids, I guess I'll find out how difficult it is for myself.


Avani said...


Bailey said...

It's hard to know when to say when. I know, being the doting Aunt that I am and have been for 17 years plus. But sometimes the solution is simple. Try buying one cool multipurpose-gift for ALL the kids in the family. Here's a Great Gift Idea for them and for a lot of the grown-up kids in the family as well. All us adults remember growing up with the timeless classics of our youth. Well----Here's a box with all your favorites on video! There is a wonderful gift item on the market now. It is called the Original Christmas Classics and it is a Limited Keepsake Edition. It contains all the wonderful Christmas Classics we parents grew up on during our Christmas’s like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town. There are 4 other movies included and a bonus music CD as well. This is a Great bargain for all ages. You can purchase it wherever DVD’s are sold or you can use the convenience of online shopping by going to
This great gift is sure to delight everyone at your Holiday gathering and be sure to buy extras as emergency gifts to households with kids that you may have forgotten on your list. I work for them and I personally can’t wait to buy my own copy and wax nostalgia with my honey and a hot of cup cocoa. Enjoy your Seasonal festivities with the gift of warm fond Christmas memories with your family today.

Sandra said...

Well, why not give those kids the gift of crafts?

My boys love to draw, and they don't even make a mess. There's a really cute online sketchbook they've been using obsessively lately at It's really easy to use, and my boys can even animate their drawings and turn them into cartoons - with music, voiceovers and everything! They get better with every little movie they make, and I'm blown away each time they call me over to the computer! I even draw along with them sometimes and even I think it's fun.

You can also get the videos they make on DVD, and I'm definetely buying one for my mom for Christmas. She'll love it!

I only know about this because I work with Kabillion, but it really does encourage kids to develop their creativity (and keep your house clutter-free as well).

Anyway, with all the output my kids have been providing through the site, it might be fun to give your niece and nephew's grandparents a taste of their own medicine. Encourage the kids to give an endless supply of their drawings to their grandparents. ;)

Happy holidays!

Short Hands said...

I think you have to leave the objects behind and plan one special outing/trip/concert that auntie takes with the kids which is different and special and memorable each year. Of course photos from the trips should be gathered in a lovely scrap book. maybe some little tidbit given on xmas that alludes to the trip would be a fun way of incorporating the xmas thang.

Avani said...

spin the kids around in the air, over and over. they will love you forever, because you give them butterflies in their stomach.

Avani said...

please post another entry, I keep being afraid to see the word foreskin.

debl said...

There's nothing gross about foreskin! Or the lack thereof.

Avani said...

I agree that there is nothing gross about the lack of foreskin. And on the rest we will have to agree to disagree. "foreskin growing back" is like totally gross.

Anandi said...

A friend of mine invites all her nieces over for a slumber party once a year, or takes them all shopping when it's time for new school clothes since she's the cool auntie and the girls would rather shop with her than their moms.

I think you can be firm with grandparents, too, especially if your house is full of stuff (and likely the kids aren't using all of it). Ask for experience gifts (everyone goes to a play, or even just a movie) or like someone else mentioned, a gift that all kids can appreciate together.

Clutter sucks :(