Foolishly, I set up a goal to be completely done with Christmas by December 1st. That included buying, crafting, wrapping, and decorating. It did not include baking and partying.
Every year, it feels like the three weeks we have between Thanksgiving and leaving for Alabama get shorter and shorter. Add in Chris' annual trip to Chicago and it's ridiculously short. (I may be foolish enough to set a goal but not foolish enough to think I can accomplish jack squat as a single parent.)
Honestly, I was doing so, so, so, so well. For the first year in our entire marriage (almost 16 years), Chris agreed to let me decorate the house for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving.
That's HUGE. (Please read that in a Trump voice.)
Chris had to work the three days before Thanksgiving leaving the kids and me on our own. Christmas decorating was a planned activity for the week. And since this is a new house, I had to figure out how to decorate it.
This year, we decided to give the kids their own Christmas tree. We normally have a long garland hung up somewhere (double doorway, stair railing) but there isn't a large enough spot for it in this house. The garland has typically been decorated with Chris' ornaments from his childhood, ornaments students have gifted to Chris over the years, the kids' godchild ornaments from Mrs. JT, and their handmade ornaments we've collected in a mere six years. (How can six years give us two gazillion ornaments????)
Without the garland, we needed a place for those ornaments.
Kids' tree it is!
I found a precious six foot tree at Target for almost nothing. Aubrey Kate begs every year for us to decorate using multicolored lights. Apparently, she feels they are prettier than the white ones I prefer.
Pretty or tacky. It's a fine line.
Thus, the kids' tree has lots of "pretty" colored lights. Hot pink, blue, green, yellow and red.
Clearly, I owned approximately zero hot pink, green or yellow Christmas decorations. The blue and red, I got. The kids put their ornaments on the tree (in the complete WRONG manner but it's fine.) (IT'S FINE.) and then I decided to go ALL IN with the kids' space. So I crafted and cleaned out the Target Dollar Spot and up cycled and reimagined my entire Christmas mantle and general living room decor.
Of course, I'm not completely done. I'm never really done. Not really. But it's as done as it's going to be for this year. Next year, the trees are getting painted hot pink, green and red. That would be just super cute. But there's no time for that this year.
I managed to get all of that up and ready before Thanksgiving. Plus the dining room tree. Which is MINE.
With my two little "helpers" around, can we all agree MIRACLE?
We decided to invite any of the marching band kids who didn't have any where to go for Thanksgiving to come have lunch with us. In the past several years, we've had friends over or gone to friends' houses. But this year, our closest friends here either had a large family here or travel to large family. And our closest friends in the north were all traveling or had family in town.
It made sense to open up our home to people who need someplace to go.
College kids always need someplace to go.
Only two came.
And up until about 12:30 pm Thanksgiving Day, we weren't sure even that many were coming.
We were ready though. A sixteen pound turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, chocolate cupcakes and sweet tea. It wasn't fancy, AT ALL, but it was yummy and warm and, well, free.
Those two kids ate three helpings of everything. I mean. There was a moment when I was fearful I might actually run out of food. For the first time.
One was from Oregon and one was from Nepal. Sherpa from Nepal was just beside himself with the whole thing. It was his first American Thanksgiving and he had no ability to hide his excitement. They were both a delight. After lunch, the guys played with the kids while we cleaned up. Such a treat! They earned their lunch with that play time. For sure.
We're hoping the lunch will grow as Chris is there longer. He'll be more familiar and they'll come to expect the invitation.
Maybe we'll try it for Easter.
Shopping happened after Thanksgiving. Both Thursday night and Friday morning. Listen. The sales are hard to ignore. Especially as a family on a tight budget. Most of our gifts could be bought online. A few couldn't.
Including a trip to the Habitat Resale store for teacher gifts. I thought I had it figured out how many teachers I needed to make a gift for but I was WRONG. After two days of crafting, AK tells me she has not one but TWO music teachers. So I was short one gift.
I bought unfinished cabinet doors. I just love the raw wood. They were a dollar each.
A few coats of chalkboard paint and some fabric rosettes in festive Christmas colors created some cute chalkboards. This is the second time I've done these for teacher gifts and I love it. Although, I'm short a board.
I had intentions of heading back out to Habitat but...
I missed my goal by two days.
TWO DAYS, y'all.
Instead of finishing up the crafts and getting the rest of the presents wrapped, I was snuggling a feverish little boy for two days. And then Aubrey Kate got it. And then me.
And, well, Merry Christmas.
I am definitely feeling the pressure of a week less time now.
Also feeling like I've been trapped in this house for a month. Or at least longer than the week of Thanksgiving followed by the week of strep.
Thanks to strep and being unaware there are two music teachers, I missed a goal I probably should have never created to start with. Someone remind me not to make the same mistake next year. Thank you in advance.