Category Archives: Christmas

My not-so-serious Christmas dilemma

The last couple of days I haven’t been able to get Christmas out of my head. Not (just) because every department store except Nordstrom’s is blasting the holiday music already, but because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year and it’s throwing my core belief system off-balance.

I’m a firm believer in attending church on Christmas when it lands on a Sunday. You stop opening presents, you change out of your Christmas Eve pjs and you get your butt in a pew. If you consider yourself a Christian and your church is having worship on Christmas Sunday, you go to church!

Here’s my dilemma: as of last summer, “Jake” now has “Em” from 2:00 PM Christmas day until the night before school starts again…

If Em flies to her dad’s house, she can take a 5:05 PM flight out of John Wayne airport and be at his house around 8:00 PM; there are no earlier flights on Christmas day after 2:00 PM. If Jake chooses to drive down and pick her up, then they’ll leave town at 2:00 PM and not reach his house until 8:00 AM the next day at the earliest if he drives safely.

My stress is this:

I haven’t heard from Jake on his pick-up plans for Christmas day. Lately he doesn’t talk to me or respond to anything unless it’s Em calling him in response to his text message to me asking her to call him. And every time they talk, Em and Jake talk about how much closer Christmas is, but never about how she’s going to get to his house. I don’t know if he’s already purchased her airline tickets yet; if he hasn’t, it’s gonna cost him a pretty penny to do so closer to Christmas (currently nothing less than $300 round-trip). If he pulls what he pulled last year, I won’t know for certain when she’s coming home and I’ll have to pay half of a very expensive last-minute return ticket because he didn’t plan (again) in advance. But, at least I’ll be able to spend Christmas morning with Em and my family and still attend church.

If Jake chooses to drive down to pick up Em, then do I still go to church in the morning? My Christmas morning with Em will either be shortened or we’ll have to get up a couple of hours earlier than usual. As it is, I don’t go to bed on Christmas Eve (or, rather, Christmas morning) until around 2:00 AM because I attend the 11:00 PM service at my church on Christmas Eve (non-negotiable in my mind), then have to wait for Em to fall asleep before Santa delivers her presents. Getting up an extra 2 hours (the average worship time including post-worship mingling) to guarantee that I get a decent Christmas with my daughter would probably mean I’d be functioning on half of my brain cells.

A part of me wants to talk with Jake about his travel ideas for Em, but knowing that he doesn’t like talking to me and has yet to discuss anything about Christmas with me, I kinda just want to wait until he starts the conversation. As a father of two in his 30s, one could expect that he would already have the round-trip plane tickets purchased (being that Christmas is just a little over a month away) and he’s just so busy with his infant son that he’s forgotten to send me the confirmation email.


Probably time to start saving money now to bail out his butt when he realizes that the plane tickets are so expensive and I’d rather pay half than get to deal with Em’s realization that her father has, once again, been late on the planning aspect of his time with her and her hopes of meeting her little brother are dashed.


Sanity Tip: Amazon Wish Lists

There is a question that I dread a few times a year: What do you want for your birthday/Christmas? There are two reasons for this seemingly silly fear:

1. I feel awkward telling people what I want; I feel like I’m saying “Spend your money on me!”

2. I can never remember right at the moment what I want. I may see things while I shopping or browsing the internet, but I push them to the back of my mind and never remember them at the appropriate time

Amazon wish lists are nothing new; I’ve been using them for a long time to help me remember something I want to buy but can’t afford right now or something I don’t need until later. But what I didn’t know was that I could make multiple wish lists, choose whether I want them to be public and that I can add items from other websites!

And since my sister moved out-of-state, Christmas and birthday shopping is even more difficult because we no longer have regular conversations about things we like or we might want to get someone else.


Enter the Amazon Wish List and their “Add to Wish List” add-on for internet browsers! Available for IE, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and iPad, this little button on your browser will allow you to add any item to your Amazon Wish List! Want that movie on Amazon?tag=associatizer-20 Click the button! Falling in love with that sweater on another store’s website? Click the button! You can even add the things you covet to different wish lists. I currently have 2 public lists: 1 for things I want for Christmas and 1 for things I think my daughter would like (as it should be, my daughter’s wish list is bigger than my own).

And the best part (at least for me) is that when I go look at someone’s wish list, I can have the gifts I purchase for them go to the shipping address they’ve chosen; I don’t have to remember their address or ask them for it and make them suspect that I’m up to something! And to make sure your gifts from others are kept a suprise from you, you can edit your list settings and click a little box that says “Don’t spoil my surprises.” The item you wish for will stay on your wishlist for several weeks, but you’ll be warned against duplicate purchases if you try to buy it after someone else bought it for you!

So, go ahead! Wish all you want! Tell your friends and family! You might just thank me later!

*i was not paid for this post. the picture and links posted will take you to through my affiliate link
1stApartmentChristmas TouchUp version

A Christmas to Remember

This is my first real Christmas as an adult. This is my first real Christmas in my own place. This is my first real Christmas with my own tree.

I’ve always celebrated my Christmases at my parents’ house, with the exception of the Christmas I was pregnant with Em and we spent Christmas up at Jake’s folks’ house. The first year we were married, Jake and I celebrated with my family, as his lives in another state. We didn’t have a tree in our apartment. The second year we traveled to his parents’ house and celebrated with them. The third (and last) Christmas we were living with my parents, so we celebrated with them. Since then, I’ve lived with my parents. But this is the first time I will wake up to my own Christmas tree in my own apartment.

It took two tries to decorate our Christmas tree. I got the tree up and put together Tuesday night. Wednesday we got our ornaments from my folks’ house. We put up the tree topper; the cord wasn’t long enough to reach the lights cord! Frustrating, considering both the tree and the topper came from the same company. We decided to decorate the tree anyway. We got about 1/4 of the way through the ornaments before we realized they weren’t ours. They were my parents’ ornaments. So, no ornaments and no topper. Thursday we got an extension cord and the right ornaments. Added a few candy canes, and the tree was done! While I can tell that our tree didn’t cost much (not as full as a more expensive tree would be), Em doesn’t care. It’s her tree and she helped decorate it, accompanied by Bing and Dean and others from the Christmas station on my Pandora.

I don’t allow myself to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I actually cringe if I hear it before then; in high school I was a member of the Pacific Chorale Children’s Chorus and we recorded a Christmas album for Scholastic Books. We rehearsed and recorded the music all summer long. Christmas in July has a WHOLE different meaning for me.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. While I don’t like that the stores display Christmas decorations when we’re barely done with Halloween, I don’t really care. Christmas isn’t about decorations and presents. It’s about the story. The story that every year the children and youth of our church tell to our congregation on Christmas Eve. It’s about the story about a bright star, the one my daughter is keeping an eye out for every night, only to be disappointed when she realizes that the  bright light she spotted is actually an airplane. It’s about the overwhelming feeling both of gratitude and humility at the same time as I leave the more solemn and personal midnight service at my church.

It’s about helping my daughter to create memories around events and family, rather than the presents she receives. From making cookes to decorating the tree, from walking around neighborhoods looking at each house’s light display to practicing for the Christmas Eve performance, from learning new carols to making the Christmas-morning cinnamon rolls for our family to eat while we open our presents, from the daily ritual of the Advent calendar to the opening of just one present on Christmas Eve which is always new pajamas. This is Christmas to me.

It doesn’t really matter to me where I spend my Christmas. It’s who it’s spent with that means the most.

But it is kinda nice to have my own tree.

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