Here's a useful service Snapfish could provide—send them your mailing list and they address and mail all of your cards. I just spent as much time trying to figure out how to print out mailing labels as it would have taken to hand-address all of my cards. I even went as far as calling in to work for help, but Boris, our receptionist who usually does my mail merges was out for the day and the only other person who knows how to do it was in a meeting. The rest of us avoid such knowledge at all costs for fear we might actually have to use it. On top of that, I only ordered 60 cards, but there are 67 people on our mailing list, so I've been trying to weed out 7 card recipients based on a complex calculus of how closely related they are and how recently they've seen the kids...not exactly the spirit of giving.
And what I really want right now is to send the twins to daycare (remember that daycare that I don't want to send them to?) so I can GET SOMETHING DONE. Right now they're in the kitchen eating cold cereal right out of the box—usually a big no-no in our house, but hey it's keeping them quiet and not breaking things. I saw this video last week, and I liked it a lot (except the worshipy bit), except I have to say that MAKING more things (rather than buying them) and spending more TIME with people are mutually exclusive. As usual I've taken on way more than I can manage (and I've been eliminating things from the list—good-bye hand-sawn tree blocks), and it just makes me crazy, anxious and cranky...not at all jolly or ho-ho-ho. Then there's the fact that I'm finding it impossible to find an axe that's MADE in Maine sold in any stores in Maine. I've concluded I'll have to order it from Ohio. What's up with that?
Meanwhile, C, as if there's a certain amount of consumptive energy in the world that must be expended, has done more Christmas shopping than I've ever seen him do in his life, now that I'm trying to BUY as little as possible. When I first met him, he would fish around in the junk drawer for presents, and before M was born, he insisted the only toys he'd ever need were cardboard boxes and rocks, and he's always going around ranting about all the toys we have in our house. Yesterday he called me from the TOY STORE, asking if there was anything I needed him to pick up there. Huh?
We did manage to make two batches of Christmas cookies this weekend (sugar and chocolate gingerbread), which is a big improvement over last year when we made the cookies (or was it candy?) the day AFTER Christmas. Although now that I think about it, that was kind of fun. We also went out into the woods to collect our tree—one of my favorite traditions—and after the ice from Thursday and Friday's ice storm melted off we decorated it (and rebuilt the village with more little wooden houses and trees—it has since been ransacked by the household barbarians several times). But I'm all the time thinking (Sew! Knit! Crochet! Saw! Bake!)
Even if the Christmas Spirit is not seizing me, I do feel something. This time of year turns me from the emotionless Ice Queen I normally am into a weepy sentimental heap reminiscent of the first few weeks of new motherhood. One of my favorite ways to celebrate is to put John Denver and The Muppets A Christmas Together on the record player (it must be the record; the CD lacks crucial songs), turn off all the lights but the tree and sit in the semi-darkness weeping into my eggnog and rum because both John Denver and Jim Henson are dead and because the songs on that album are so damn melancholy.
M has been interested in WAR lately (always...damn Y chromosome) and was reading a pretty dry book on WWI. I was on the lookout for more human stories of war and ran across Christmas in the Trenches while at the library recently. M read it Sunday and then put on the accompanying CD, which tells the story and also has Stille Nacht and a song with the same title as the book. It's about a ceasefire on Christmas Eve 1914 when the Germans brought over a tree to the British and the two sides sang and exchanged gifts before returning to their own sides and the war. I sat under the tree, untangling my childhood ornaments and various Styrofoam and cardboard ornaments M has made since preschool, tears streaming down my face. Stupid Christmas.