Well it’s official. I made myself absolutely insane for Christmas. What started out as a beautifully well planned, organized (in my head) holiday, became absolute chaos and mayhem. I am pretty proud of my different ideas for gifts, but I have to keep my mental health in mind next year. It wouldn’t be bad if I just had one crazy idea, but I had to throw several huge projects that made my life nuts!
It started with my husband and I choosing a family and creating our own rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. We left presents on their porch that corresponded with the 12 Days and rang their doorbell/banged on their door and ran like crazy. This may or may not have resulted in me face planting in a snow drift… Running in the snow is a little more difficult than I remember. I also discovered that my husband did not have a normal childhood. He acted as if we were breaking and entering, and were in danger of being arrested each time we did this. I lived for ding-dong-ditching and toilet papering growing up. Maybe I’m the strange one… No it has to be him. Anyways, each night we left a poem that went along with that particular day of Christmas and a gift that correlated with it. The first day included a mild threat regarding their cooperation in not trying to catch us. We can’t run fast we discovered and needed time to run away, get in our car, start it and drive away. Only once did one of the kids actually see me, but I found out later the description was sketchy.:-) We revealed our names at the end but asked them not to rat us out so we could do this again next year for another family. Before anyone gets on their high horse, I know that the 12 Days actually begin on Christmas Day but for the sake of the kids, we thought ending it on Christmas Eve was a great way to lead up to the big day. Some of the poems were long so I will only include the first one, but if you would like to read them all, I will post them soon. I am including the gifts that we left also. Some of the gifts may not make sense without the poems but believe me they are all tied in.
Day 1 Poem
‘Twas the first day of Christmas and all through your house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
But, your front porch is quite the opposite,
Your sneaky friends have paid you a visit.
Tonight’s the first night of 12 and with each a gift given,
One ring of your doorbell, from friends with night vision,
From every night hence you will hear the bell ring
To signal the arrival of awesome Christmas bling.
The first night of Christmas calls for a partridge in a pear tree,
But partridges are tough to catch, you see.
So, how ‘ bout some yummy pears, instead of the bird.
They are going to be amazing, or so we have heard.
Now don’t be alarmed for truly good friends are these,
They have included some facts to put your mind at ease.
(I included several personal pieces of information in poetry form here so they would know it truly was someone they could trust)
Now beware of this warning – your friends will be here,
But you better not look, or they’ll disappear,
And then all your gifts that were carefully planned
On some other front porch will surprisingly land.
The list of gifts:
The 1st Day of Christmas
Partridge in a Pear Tree
We left a basket of pears
The 2nd Day of Christmas
Two Turtle Doves
A box of Dove chocolates and chocolate turtles
The 3rd Day of Christmas
Three French Hens
3 stuffed toy chicks wearing berets and holding French flags
The 4th Day of Christmas
Four Calling Birds
4 Frosted sugar cookies with birds talking on cell phones on top
The 5th Day of Christmas
Five Golden Rings
5 Ring Pops
The 6th Day of Christmas
Six Geese a Laying
6 Silly Putty eggs for the kids and 6 Geese a Laying Ale for the parents
The 7th Day of Christmas
Seven Swans A-swimming
7 Beanie Baby swans
The 8th Day of Christmas
Eight Maids A-milking
A gallon jug of ice cream
The 9th Day of Christmas
Nine Ladies Dancing
9 Pairs of socks
The 10th Day of Christmas
Ten Lords A-leaping
10 Toy parachute jumpers and 10 toy leaping frogs
The 11th Day of Christmas
Eleven Pipers Piping
11 Toy slide whistles
The 12th Day of Christmas
Twelve Drummers Drumming
A box of 12 Drumstick ice cream cones
This brings me to my next bright idea…In my head it was a great idea, and where everything took a very stressful turn.:-( I decided that one of the major gifts for each of my children (who are all grown and out on their own) and my parents would be the gift of food. I came up with a menu of 20 meals. I dragged my sister into this crazy scheme, so add in her children and now we are talking about 22 people that we were creating 20 meals for. No big deal. I set aside the Friday evening and the Saturday before Christmas to whip up these meals. Fortunately we own a restaurant that is only open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays so we were able to go there to prepare the meals. Five days later and cooking until 2:00am on 4 of them, I was close to a breakdown. I had a million things I needed to do but was completely tied to the restaurant. At some point we realized that we were preparing 440 meals. What the heck is wrong with me? There were a few moments that my sister and I were close to killing each other. We called each other some pretty creative names those late nights. I actually called her on Christmas to tell her that I didn’t hate her as much and she told me that she didn’t hate me as much either. On Christmas Eve our manager and our baker took pity on us and jumped in and helped until we got everything done. We finished at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Oh good, that gave me time to do some shopping because I hadn’t set foot in a store up to that point!!! The major presents were done. I just needed some fill in items.
My next crazy idea was to make some memories for my 89 year old mother. She doesn’t need any knick-knacks or clothes. The only thing that gives her joy in this world is the opportunity to spend time with family. So, I asked my children and my sisters’ children to come up with a Date Night for their grandmother. Each of them were more than happy to do this and were very creative in their choices. My sister and I filled in the rest. I spread them out over the next 6 months so she will have 2 Date Nights each month with a different grandchild, my sister, or myself. She has 12 envelopes and she gets to open 2 a month to find out her Dates. She was ecstatic. Her first Date Night was, Movie Marathon. We saw 3 movies and had dinner. She also received the meals that we had prepared.
My last idea was to give each of my children, and their significant others, a short, surprisingly inexpensive train or airplane trip to either Chicago or New York, depending on their tastes. I reserved hotel rooms as well for them. This was their favorite gift I believe.:-)
The changes this year meant only a few presents to open. This was a huge adjustment for me. I felt bad each Christmas if I didn’t have a mountain of presents for each child. I am trying to make it so every gift is meaningful, creates memories or is a service gift from me. I wasn’t sure how they were going to be received but, I truly felt that each of the recipients was extremely happy with their gifts this year. I really feel that I was successful with my goal of having a (semi) non-materialistic Christmas. I just need to figure out how to do it without sending myself to the hospital. And I still need to take it down a few notches to go 100% non-materialistic. I’m still a work in progress.
New Year’s Resolution: Work on time management and self-control!
Happy New Year everyone!!!
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Here are a couple of sites where I found some of the ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas; The 12 Days of Christmas, a Ring and Run, My Favorite Christmas Tradition, and The Dating Divas 12 Days of Christmas for Printables.