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.