Tag Archives: holidays

I Swear I’m Not An Asshole

7 Dec

Dear Everyone Who Gets A Christmas Card From Me This Year,

iPhone for scale

iPhone for scale

I swear I’m not an asshole who is trying to start some kind of photo card arms race with my 6×8 holiday FLYERS.  I’m merely an over-worked mom who was drinking wine and doing three other things when she placed her card order. (I mean, really, Shutterfly?  You asked me to check my spelling, my dates, my image resolution – but never thought to ask me if I was sober before I hit “submit?”)

Believe me, I was as shocked as you are opening up my package.  For a moment, I wondered if my hands had shrunk.

And even worse?  I think my Christmas Cards have an attitude problem.  I can hear them now, sitting on your table next to all the other beautiful cards you received:

“Aren’t you adorable.  What are you?  3×4?  So cute.”

“I’m not saying my family is better than yours, but it did take two stamps to mail ME.”

That’s right.  I get to pay extra this year to look like a jerk.  I think the post office is charging me some kind of douchebag penalty for the size of my holiday greetings.

So when you open up my envelope, have a laugh for at with me.  Then clear some space on a large bulletin board or table and enjoy.

Next year, posters.

Then billboards.

************

p.s.  If you get a normal-sized card from me this year, it’s because you got one of the Minted batches.  At least I didn’t screw up both card orders, right?

Happy Easter

31 Mar

easter baskets

 

Though we don’t celebrate Easter in the religious sense, we are welcoming spring with open arms today, complete with egg hunt and Easter baskets full of jump ropes, bright hair bows, and other goodies. Between all the illnesses and the interminable snow, winter was beginning to take its toll on the entire house. And I don’t know about you, but the sun’s rays really do lift my spirits.

I think the Beatles said it best:

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling
It’s been a long, cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling
The smiles returning to the faces
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling
I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
It’s all right
It’s all right

sun baby

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Have I ever told you I worked at a Hallmark?  Three of them, to be precise.  They were great jobs.  Nice folks to work with, friendly customers, and the Martha Stewart in me never got tired of wrapping gifts and making balloon bouquets.  To this day, I still find it difficult to go down a card aisle in the grocery store without replacing misplaced cards and straightening envelopes.

Let me tell you a little insider secret.  Hallmark LOVES Valentine’s Day.  It really is a “Hallmark holiday.”  All those cards.  Those pointless little decorative gifts.  The overpriced candy.  What’s not to love about it if you’re a commercial enterprise focused on monetizing sentiment?

foam stickers + twigs from the yard = easy decorating

foam stickers + twigs from the yard = easy decorating

And still, I look forward to it every year.  Here’s why.

I know that ideally, the husband and I would take time each day to remind each other of our love.  And ideally, dishwasher-emptying and child-rearing would count as romantic gestures.  But being married with two small children means that sometimes you have to face reality, and the bottom line is that we rarely have time to make the other person feel special.  By putting romance on the calendar, we guarantee that it will happen.  It’s like scheduling sex.  Not ideal, but you gotta do what works to stay connected.

This February, the four-year-old and I put three small mailboxes (thank you, Target dollar section!) on the front table.  We’ve been leaving little love notes and trinkets for each other all month and though they’ve been small gestures, it’s meant the world to all of us.  The heart garland around the front door makes us all feel special and adds some FUN to our home.  And the husband and I had some nice, simple, romantic plans… until he and the kids contacted the flu this week anyway.

valentines mailboxes

So though I agree that holidays have become too commercial these days, and I know for sure that Hallmark loves Valentine’s Day, I say make it what you want.  Take the opportunity to slow down and say I love you to the friends and family in your life.

And if you want to make it even better, celebrate it on February 15th.  When all the candy is 50% off.  Nothing says “I love you” like discounted candy.  Seriously.

I’m Actually Enjoying Sending Christmas Cards This Year

30 Nov

Christmas cards are usually the bane of my existence during the holidays.  I obsess over getting the perfect photograph, which usually results in a battle of the wills in which everyone loses.  Then I obsess over picking the perfect card and getting the best deal possible.  Signing and addressing the cards gets added to my holiday task list and I inevitably forget I will need stamps.

This year though, I’m truly enjoying the process.  MyPublisher’s holiday card collection is stunning.  I played around with three different card designs and loved all of them.  I mean, just look:

My cards arrived yesterday and I ADORE them.  The paper quality is amazing and I’m so glad I chose the matte paper option.  I love the extra class the texture brings to the card.  The designs on the front and back of the card leave plenty of room for a hand-written note, and I couldn’t be happier with how the cards look and feel in my hands.  Also?  How adorable is the packaging?  Ta Da!  Love it.


Everything came wrapped in tissue paper and I felt like I was opening up an early Christmas gift.  I actually can’t wait to sit down and hand-sign and address each card.  MyPublisher made the whole process feel special – which is exactly what I am hoping for each holiday task to feel like this year.

You can snag photo cards at 30% off right now through December 3rd with the code BEMERRY.  Go, people!  Go!

***************

The legal stuff:  MyPublisher provided me with a $75 gift certificate to order cards.  All opinions are my own.  I really do love my cards.  =)

Our Less-Is-More Thanksgiving

25 Nov

I’m committed to less stress this holiday season.  Instead of filling up my calendar with a list of “shoulds” I’m choosing activities that will bring our family joy, and making the most out of each task.  No more over-scheduling myself and then wondering why the holidays are exhausting.

We started our Less-Is-More holiday this weekend with Thanksgiving at my parents’ home.  I contributed tubes of crescent rolls, a Sara Lee frozen pecan pie, and two adorable grandchildren. No stressful attempt at baking with one moody preschooler and one teething baby at my feet, and no equating my worth with how much food I brought along.  We arrived when we could and let my parents and my brother enjoy the kids while we snuck downstairs to play pool.  Dinner was whenever the turkey was done, and naps were whenever the kids got tired.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the couch, watching football and playing cars with the kids.  No expectations.  No grand plans.  No Black Friday shopping.

It was the best Thanksgiving I can remember since those of my childhood.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and full of family and love.

 

My Less-Is-More Christmas

19 Nov

It’s surrounding us already.  Pintrest boards are awash with 12-days-of-Christmas-cookie-in-a-jar madness.  Shutterfly insists daily in my inbox that I save 50% off holiday cards before it’s too late and that I order the new design that is “sure to stand out.”  Twinkly lights adorn the isles where Halloween clearance is on its final legs.  And Santa is taking lists at the local mall.

Let me say that last one again.  Santa is holding court at the mall.  And he has been there since November 17th.

When we passed by the center of the mall, No1 asked to go see the giant tree and to investigate if the snow was real.  Sure, I told her.  They’re probably just getting ready for Santa.  As we walked by and she craned her neck around the giant plastic lollipops, her eyes widened.  “Mommy.  Stop.  It’s…. Santa.”

At this point, I worry I gave away the truth when I failed to bubble over with excitement.  After all, if the real Santa was in our little mall during possibly one of his busiest times of the year, I should have screamed like a teenage girl at a Bieber concert.  As in, “Oh. My. God!  SANTA?!  HERE?!  THE. SANTA. CLAUS?!  What are the odds!  In fact, I know the odds!  They’re astronomical!  We MUST go see him RIGHT. NOW!  Does anyone have a CAMERA?! ”  Instead, I responded with vague interest and attempted to disguise my contempt.

I love Christmas.  Children believing in magic, listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve. Decorating an indoor tree with glitter and baubles.  Houses dressed up in bows and lights.  Watching a friend open a gift chosen with intention and love.  It’s a sacred time when people are all a bit kinder, softer, and warmer.  A season for gratitude and taking time to slow down and engage with our loved ones.

At least that’s what I want it to be.  Santa’s November 17th invasion of the mall wasn’t just an inconvenience causing me to have to tell my preschooler “no,” for the seventy-eighth time that day.  It was a psychological advertising tactic, designed to create a sense of urgency and scarcity.  The message was, “Santa’s already here, so you better get busy.  You have so many gifts to buy and so little time.”  I watched children sit with the bearded impostor for their pictures, parents glad to “have that checked off my list,” as I overheard one parent say.  And the whole scene made me furious.

When did the holidays become nothing more than a series of checklists?  Why do we all feel the need to shop early and get it all done so we can “enjoy the holidays?”  Shouldn’t visiting Santa, writing out Christmas cards, wrapping presents, decorating the tree, baking cookies, and mixing up a batch of eggnog be the very things we do to enjoy the season?  These things can be meaningful rituals if done mindfully and with intention.  Instead, we’ve become so blinded by marketing and have gotten so caught up in finding the perfect gift and fulfilling the expectations of others, we’ve forgotten what kind of Christmases we want for ourselves.  In our quest for more, we are seeking out quantity instead of quality.

This year, I’m not falling for it.  This will be my Christmas of Less is More.  No more comparing.  No more rushing around or believing that a gift’s inherent value is proportional to its Black Friday discount.  No more worrying about how my decorations measure up or if the tree could be just a little prettier.  No more Christmas stress in November, for crying out loud.

I will focus on being present for each holiday preparation and on celebrating our family’s traditions.  Does this mean I won’t send out Christmas cards or bake a gingerbread house?  Will we permanently avoid a visit to Santa? Of course not.  I’ll have to cut back on my holiday tasks, for sure, but I believe the ones I choose will each have more impact.  And anytime I hear the seductive voice of self-doubt whisper the word should, I’ll turn inward and search for what I truly want to do.

After all, Christmas isn’t a time of obligation.  It’s a time of celebration and jubilance, of good cheer and renewed hope.  And this year, I hope to slow down enough to really soak it all in.  You know, AFTER Thanksgiving.

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