Blogging has fallen by the wayside. Please forgive the hodgepodge of ideas in this posting, but three separate things are on my mind. They've been crashing around among grading, Christmas lists, and all other sorts of end-of-semester randomness.
My goal for next year is to provide an entirely homemade Christmas for our family - both immedate and extended. I suspect allowances will be made for photographs and seriously beloved things, but my sincere goal is to *make* Christmas. This is my goal for two reasons.
First, if Advent is supposed to be a time of watchful waiting, devoting my time to making gifts rather than joining the rat-race of last-minute shoppers really IS the best decision. If we're going to celebrate Advent and Christmas, we should celebrate them -- not by running sweatily down the aisles of our local Target store looking for the latest gotta-have-it.
Secondly, as our kids get older we try and try to teach them about the beauty of simplicity -- about working hard NOT to fall into the "gimmes" that the rest of the world might have. Unfortunately, we've fallen by the wayside of late. I think a homemade Christmas might put us back on track -- both because we'll be taking time to produce things for other people AND because there's no way that I can produce a licensed Hannah Montana t-shirt with my own hants. Perhaps opting out of such character-driven holidays will be good for us.
I've made a few gifts so far this year, and I like how it feels. I like working with my hands, thinking about the person the gift is for while I'm making it, and, above all, wrapping up something that has *me* in it, rather than *my money*.
Perhaps the Marketers should stop
First, in the interest of full-disclosure, my father's a marketing man. I don't think they really *should* stop. But maybe product development and marketing should get together and slow down a bit. Here's why: While I am an American who buys a lot of stuff for its shiny packaging, "NEW" labelling, and sweet end-cap status, I have come to conclude that I do not need the following things:
Cinnamon toothpaste (Big Red Gum flavor at bedtime? Thank you, No.)
Vanilla Chai scented deoderant (This was the worst. Randomly throughout the day I think "Who's drinking chai? It smells so good!" and then realize it's my own armpits I crave. Disturbing. I suspect both the sale of Vanilla Chai deoderant AND chai tea at Starbucks have fallen since the introduction of this useless product).
Hannah Montana anything (Dude. It's "Achey Breaky" Cyrus's daughter. 'Nuff said.)
Character-shaped macaroni (My kids don't *want* to eat Spongebob. They want to see him swimming in brilliant orange cheese-flavored sauce but will absolutely refuse to bring him harm)
Laundry soap that smells like anything but good old Tide.
What I am Thankful For:
(My Thanksgiving Day Post that never made it)
* My husband and children
* My family
* That my husband and I still have six grandparents between the two of us. This is astounding to me, at our age. Our grandparents are growing old and frail -- but are relatively healthy and above-all, fairly happy.
* That the funeral suit has grown dusty and our family and extended family remains healthy.
* That in the year after David's death, my mother, sisters, and I have grown closer to each other than I ever could have imagined we would. That Tim and I attend (irregularly) an excellent, progressive, activist church.
* That I adore my in-laws.
* That Tim still has a job. That I have a job that fits around the busy life of raising kiddos.
* A multitude of other things I don't have time to list including kiddo kisses, conversations, and games of chase in the backyard, our neighbors and neighborhood, the friends we've collected over the years, and the brand-new laptop my husband gave me for my birthday.