Well, did everyone survive Christmas? I did, but just barely. Phew. Now I’m back at work and slogging through 1795 unread emails. Apparently no one else took time off because they were all sending me urgent! emails that let the sender know when you opened them. Sheesh. Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yes, Christmas.
I had to work on Wednesday morning but I got to leave at 1pm to go home, finish packing, and schlep my stuff to O’Hare. Only having to go to work until 1pm is the way to do it, man. I was able to catch up on a few key things, send some letters, and then bam I set up my auto-reply email away message and was outta there.
Thursday night my parents had a joint birthday party that was Mad Men themed, so we spent most of the day preparing for that. I think a good time was had by all, but I can’t be sure because the night grew increasingly blurry as my sister, who was playing bartender, mixed stronger and stronger drinks. I ended up wandering around in stocking-ed feet and taking a bajillion pictures, most of which turned out inexplicably blurry. It’s obvious I need a new camera.
Christmas Eve was spent cleaning up from the party, decorating, the tree, and nearly being driven mad by everyone after several days of Close Family Togetherness. Seriously, I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I guess I get used to having things my way, the way I like them in my own house, and then staying with my parents (with whom I have not lived in a DECADE) is all kinds of discombobulating. Luckily the promise of a visit from Santa made me feel much better by Saturday morning.
On Christmas we opened presents in our pajamas and then sat around like sloths all morning before springing into action at the realization that people would be coming over for Christmas dinner in a few short hours. At dinner there was more drinking, of course, from which my liver is still recovering. Overall the presents haul was pretty minimal, with each of us just asking for a few things we really wanted. I spent weeks thinking about what I needed versus want I wanted. Well, I didn’t *need* anything, really, but there were a few things that I had been doing without for a long time while thinking gee, it would be really nice to have item X or Y right now. I’ve heard the argument that asking for/giving Christmas presents is silly because we could all just buy those things for ourselves and cut out the middle man, sidestep bad presents, etc. I think this point is valid but I view it a little differently, at least personally. I buy the things I need and occasionally the things I want. Sometimes there are things I want that are out of my price range, or deemed (by me) superfluous. I’d still like to have these things but I refuse to buy them for myself. Then Christmas comes and I can ask for them and maybe receive them without having to beat myself up about it or force myself to spend money on these items and then feel bad about it/wring my hands/obsess over whether it’s worth it. Case in point: Hunter wellies. I’ve been coveting a pair for YEARS but kept buying the cheap-o versions of galoshes from Target and the like instead because yeesh, the real things are expensive. I have now purchased and had to throw away at least 3 pairs of sub-par galoshes because I refuse to buy the real things that are made out of like, long-lasting materials and stuff and the cheap ones just crack if you so much as look at them wrong. So I talked to my mom about it, justified it out the wazoo (which was completely unnecessary, btw) and then not only did I finally get a pair of beautiful red wellies, my sister got a pair of blue ones and they match her eyes perfectly. Also, the entire family got Moleskine planners this year. What can I say, I have good gift suggestions/choices, obviously.
Continuing on, I spent some quality time in Austin with some quality people, which was wonderful. Helped a good friend paint her new kitchen, gossiped over Mexican food and margaritas, and even managed the time to pick out some new running shoes (also a Christmas present from my parents, also something I would not buy for myself). By December 30 I was simultaneously ready to come home and already missing my vacation and looking forward to next year. Isn’t that always how it happens?