How We Do Christmas

When Agent E was about three and a half we were watching some children’s Christmas special (I don’t even remember what it was) that portrayed the whole be good, Santa’s watching you, woo hoo presents, reindeer fly around the world in one night thing. When it was over, she turned to me and scoffed, “That doesn’t really happen, does it? It’s all pretend, right? That can’t happen.” 

A skeptic from the get-go, that one.

Current tree and stockings and present set up.
Note that everything is up high.

So needless to say, we never did the Santa thing with the Agents. It just seemed like a lot of unnecessary work, TBH. We treat Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. the same as any other myths. They know they’re just stories that some people have fun with—but we choose not to. It’s not really a big deal to them.

Speaking of stories, during December we’ll read about Christmas, winter, the solstice, and pagan traditions. A Solstice Tree for Jenny is one of our favorites. We'll re-read the story of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus from the Bible as well. Agent J is not impressed with the wise men and their choice of gifts. (She suggested they could have brought something useful, like dinner for Mary or a blanket for the baby.) 

If you prefer videos to books, Adam Ruins Everything: The Drunken, Pagan History of Christmas is a must watch. Seth Andrews (aka, The Thinking Atheist) has a pretty good summary video, too. 

Giant inflatable Yoda. Because, why not?

We still do presents. But they know they are all from us. And they often help pick them out. 

Every year I think oh, I won’t spend that much on the Agents at Christmas and every year I end up spending more than I intend to—although I think I stay reined in fairly well. And when I read blog posts and friends’ comments about how much they spend on Christmas—even folks who claim to “keep things simple”—I realize that maybe we are more conservative in our holiday purchasing than I thought.

This year I just flat out asked them if they would rather sort out and donate some older toys, and then get a few new ones, or just hang onto their old toys a little longer, and they chose the latter. So, no new "toys" for this year, although I was really tempted by some of the cool Lego sets. 

Each Agent has a stocking with a few small items (a book and journal for the girls, a couple of CDs for Agent A, Tsum Tsums and Ufufys for all—because they collect them and they’re a wee bit obsessed).

I also ordered some books/workbooks we will be using for school in the next few months, but now they are “gifts” simply because unwrapping stuff is fun.

Random flashback to celebrating Xmas 2012,
aboard the Disney Fantasy.

We picked up some new gel pens and markers (at Costco, and they were with me because it wasn’t something available online). While we were there they also each picked out a box set of books (so again not a surprise, but whatever). Agent E chose the Nancy Drew books 1-10; Agent J chose a 15-book set of Beverly Cleary titles; and Agent E went with a Star Wars/Pete the Cat combo. (Since his choices were less expensive he got two.)

At least two Agents are getting new jammies. And I have a shiny new coffee mug.

The only thing they will be opening that they truly have no idea I ordered is Star Wars Rebels on DVD. (It’s not on Netflix, and the DVDs were cheaper than ordering it on Amazon Prime.) We recently had season three out of the library, and they all loved it—even Agent A, who usually doesn’t pay much attention to such things. They’ll enjoy binge watching together.

We put up a tree, albeit a tiny two-foot one on top of the art cabinet. And it has all Star Wars ornaments. Because, Star Wars. The rest of our decorations are pretty minimal. We now have a cat who messes with stuff, so we definitely simplified this year. We might make cookies at some point. Oh, and we stopped at Bath and Body Works to pick up fancy soaps so now all the sinks smell like peppermint or vanilla. 

Current favorite photo of Oscar Darwin, 
The Cat Who Messes With Stuff.

It probably goes without saying that no creepy elves grace our home.

Christmas eve we have big plans to eat donuts for breakfast and then head to the movie theater for the earliest showing of Episode VIII. Then come home and open presents. And probably eat more donuts.

Christmas day will be pretty much like every other day, except we won't do school.

Are we doing it right?

Thanksgiving Week Plans

How are you spending Thanksgiving this year? Hosting? Visiting? Cooking? Nothing?

Here the Agents and I (okay, so mostly me) will make lots of food, most definitely to include pie, and spend most of the day chilling out. Power Netflixing might be involved. No one really gets too jazzed up about turkey, so we’re making a tiny ham instead. And a bunch of side dishes that they will actually eat: stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, the ubiquitous crescent rolls in a can. I’m also making sweet potatoes—even though no Agent touches them—and eating them all myself. Because I can. 

Thursday night we’re planning on a living room campout, followed by Pajama Day Friday. Both of these events are written on our calendar. The Agents like to joke that if it’s not written down it won’t happen, but they’re pretty much spot on there.

Always a good time for warm hugs

The only shopping we’ll be doing will be from the comfort of an Amazon page on my laptop. We don’t really go too crazy with Christmas presents, but I will probably get a few things we need/want around the house and maybe a few books for homeschooling. (I’ll even wrap them, because then it’s extra stuff to unwrap later on.) The Agents will change their minds about what they really, really want for Christmas a hundred times between now and then, so I’ll hold off on most things and take advantage of two-day shipping in a few weeks. 

But before we get to pumpkin spice pie and spending all day in our pajamas and wearing out the credit card, we need to make it through the rest of the week.

We are planning on having a regular school day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Hoping to “finish” some current topics . . . or at least get to a better stopping point. I feel like the last few weeks we spent a lot more time out of the house than is usual for us homebodies, so a couple of days to concentrate on just school-y things will be good.

Going forward I think we’re going to have to—gulp!—seriously consider a major revision to our routine. More on that to come.

Of course it’s impossible for me to get through today without reflecting on a sad anniversary. Today is three years since my dad passed away. So it’s been roughly four years since I talked to him, as the last year he was very ill and that wasn’t really an option. The Agent’s remember “Grandpap” surprisingly well given they were 7, 5, and 2.5 the last visit we had when he was still healthy. 

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and a happy Thanksgiving.