It is Christmas week for me, the time that I set aside for doing some fun things in preparation for Christmas. I do not buy very many presents these days: I am down to one present ($25 limit) for each of the other four members of my family and a few small things for extended family and a little bit more for the youngest of the nieces and nephews. Shopping has been reduced to a minimum. This is a good thing if the line-ups at the stores I have walked past are any indication of the crowds.
My fun list includes a lot of things related to food:
Cookies: figuring what cookies I will make with my daughter, making the cookies, and eating them;
Menus: preparing the menus for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day breakfast and dinner, buying the ingredients and preparing what I can in advance, making the full meal and eating each of them;
Snacks: increasing the number of snack foods in the house in preparation for a lot of visiting and chilling time at home and then snacking
But not everything revolves around food. There is figuring out what we will do on Christmas Day in between meals and with the time we would have otherwise used to go to a sibling’s home for Christmas dinner. I like to go for a walk with the family and now that we spend Christmas in a city where the weather is mild it is easier for me to convince the rest of the group to join me. A walk in Pacific Spirit Park is so lovely and really appeals to my need for a little visit with nature, especially trees, as part of the Christmas celebration. The fresh fragrance of the rain forest fills the void from having a fake Christmas tree.
The activity that I look forward to the most does involve shopping and that is shopping for all the stuff for my (adult) children’s’ stockings. These are not exactly stockings but large cloth bags sewn by me many years ago to accommodate the large assortment of stuff I could not resist buying for their stockings originally in the shape of traditional stockings but quickly non-useful. Every year we run into the same problem: where are the stocking bags? It is always the same, we quickly find one belonging to our oldest daughter, eventually find the one belonging to the next daughter and many times have to resort to finding an alternative for the youngest, our son. Why I have not developed a strategy for having the stocking bags returned to me on Christmas Day so I can fill them again next year is unclear to me.
Nonetheless searching for interesting things to put into the stockings is something I look forward to every year. I even look forward to buying the standard items that have made their way into the stockings every year for the last several years: a magazine, lip balm, socks, underwear, a chocolate letter, more chocolate, an orange (to be traditional), a toothbrush, nice smelling soap, tea and or coffee, gloves, a CD, post-it notes and pens and pencils.
New items that have made it into the bags in the last few years include alcohol of some sort, a bottle of vitamin C to counteract some of the other items (like the booze), a gift card to a favorite café and now that they each live on their own, a kitchen utensil.
The most exciting part of this activity will be looking for that non standard item, that one thing that is as unique as each one of my children. Looking forward to the adventure!
I apologize to any of my children who happen to read this post and learn a trade secret that they were previously not aware of, but do not worry you will once again love your stocking!!
Irene McDermott © 2011