The Conspiracy

We are part of the conspiracy.

December is full of “Are you ready for Christmas?” which is a euphemism for “Did you buy all your presents yet? Are you sure you have enough presents? Did you remember great aunt whatshername? How much did you spend on your kids? What did you get for your parents? Your husband? Are you sure you’re totally done?”

To which I reply: Of course I am ready. Santa is very low-key in our house. He brings one gift to each person. No, this gift is not a Powerwheels quad or an iPhone 3G or a new car. No, Santa did not put gifts on my credit cards, and no, he did not buy people things on their “lists.”

In our house, Santa gives from the heart.

This year, Santa is bringing the boys each a bead-wire maze. You know, those bead-wire toys that you always see in doctors’ offices and you always wonder where you could get one. Mrs. Ho Ho Ho went on the internet and found a baby-sized one for Kees and a regular one for Sacha, and it took me an hour to wrap them since the man in red doesn’t do wrapping and I have been told by some that I should never seek employment at those booths in malls that wrap presents for you. I’m that bad.

I also bought each boy a nursing necklace with their names on them, as I thought it would make a great keepsake. These are going in their stockings.

As for the parents, I made them a custom calendar featuring about 80 photos from their kids and grandkids, as well as all the birthdays and anniversaries from the family. It took me about 4 hours of work per calendar (one for my family, one for the out-laws) but they really are worth it.

And I will not reveal what I bought Tony, as he reads this blog. (Hi Tony. I am not an idiot. You will have to wait until Christmas.) We also gave a couple gifts to godchildren (we have 2) and our niece and nephew, which Sacha helped pick out and wrap (that was an exercise in patience).

Sacha also made a special gift for his Grandma and his Baba (which they haven’t opened yet) with moderate adult intervention. Kees kissed their cards. Or tried to eat them. Either way, he left his mark.

Christmas cost us about $3oo this year.

So what did we do with all the extra money that could have been spent on novelty gifts and miscellaneous Christmas crap? Tony and I have made it a tradition to donate to charities as part of our Christmas giving. We donated about $200 above and beyond our habitual acts of charity. Do we benefit from this? Not directly (unless you consider a tax receipt). Someone else, however, will benefit from our gift more than we can possibly imagine.

And that thought is enough to keep me happily humming Jingle Bells all year long.

That, and Sacha is obsessed with the Barenaked Ladies version of Jingle Bells. There will be an uprising when I put that CD away after the holidays.

Kitty in a Spruce Tree
Our Kitty in a Tree, through Sacha’s Lens

Praise Alibaba! I found Jesus!

Jesus is the way, and the way to Jesus is moonshine.

Let it be known to all the world that today, I have found Jesus. He has been missing for 2 years and although I looked everywhere, I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t even put out my nativity set this Christmas (or last) because it just didn’t feel right, knowing that Jesus wasn’t there.

So where did I find him? He was under the stairs in a little box with our moonshine wine-making accessories. Henceforth, I shall know, and I am telling the world on the internets, that the drinking and making of such fine home-distilled beverages is truly the only way to find Jesus.

I found Jesus!

Possibly the ugliest gingerbread house ever made

When I was a kid, my aunt used to make gingerbread houses and invite us over to decorate them. She was a pro – she had all the cool icing bags and tips, she could make icicles, she could do anything. We made really cool houses every year and loaded up on a ton of candy in the process.

In an attempt to recapture my youth, I bought a gingerbread house kit. If you want to make a house as cool as mine, here’s how:

1. Cut the tip of the icing bag WAY too big so that any fancy decorating is completely impossible.

2. Try to cover up the bad icing job with tons of candy. Like so:

My beautiful mosaic wall

3. Do not follow any colour scheme or motif. Motifs are for losers. Chaos works better:

Looks like a dog pood out skittles

4. Make sure that the icing that comes with your kit does not set. Despite following all instructions to the letter, what you really want is for your roof to fall off after you’ve tossed a pound of candy on it to cover your bad decorating job:

Documenting for insurance purposes


5. Use boxes to hold the roof in place so that it doesn’t cave in anymore. Pose like a dumb-ass next to your decorating abomination:

Our sweet-ass candy house

A visual aid

In reference to my last post, I knew that I had some good pictures of the last Christmas we spent with our family (back home – 2005). Maybe now you will fully understand the good times we will be missing:

Mullets New Year's Eve 2005
Mullets were all the rage, even among Babas

Christmas 2005

We all played with our rods – gifts in preparation for our houseboating trip

Party like it's 1983!

 Hair metal is BACK!

Hair Metal is back!

My sister brings out the best in people, including my step-dad

The crazy aunts

The crazy aunts

Talia rawks!

See?  Don’t you wanna be like her?

Atari always brings the family together

Ooh!  Atari!  I wanna play pong next!

Puppies go Woof Woof!

Puppies say Woof Woof!

Yeah, Ariel.  I'll be right over.

Yo Ariel, I’ll be right there as soon as I ditch this sausage fest.  Wear those shells that I love, will ya?

 How could you NOT want to party with my family?

I won’t be home for Christmas

Christmas is going to be very different for me this year.  This will be the first time that we are alone – Tony, Sacha and I.  We have no family coming to visit, and we were unable to go back home to visit family as T could not get the time off.

Growing up with a francophone mother and a ukrainian-slovak father, there was never any shortage of people to celebrate the holidays with.  Christmas eve involved midnight mass followed by a reveillion at my Memère’s (grandma’s) house: feasting, singing, playing games, and general merry-making until 3 or 4 in the morning. Christmas day was traditionally spent with my Baba and Gedo and my dad’s family, eating perogies, holubtsi, nalesnyky, 5 kinds of pies, and lots of games: Rummoli was always a favourite.

Then there was the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  It seemed as though everyday involved some sort of house party or get together,  involving more food, more games and merry good times.  My mom usually throws a mean-ass New Year’s Eve party for family and friends, and age doesn’t seem to factor in to the level of fun you can have.

This year, Christmas will be silent.  We will go to Christmas eve mass, although we will be going to the 5:00 mass so that it doesn’t interfere with Sacha’s bedtime.  We will most likely go to bed around 10 because we know that Sacha will wake up at 6 or so, and then we will spend the day much as our other days are spent: play, Dora, Elmo, lunch, nap, play, attack the kitty, supper, bedtime.

It just doesn’t feel like Christmas.  Too quiet.  Too empty.

I am still clinging to some sort of fantasy that someone is planning on surprising us and flying out here at the last minute.  Although I am certain that this will only leave me more disappointed when the day comes and no one else is here.

I’ll put on a brave face and pretend that it doesn’t bother me that we are alone.  I will smile and try to make the best Christmas I can for Sacha, but it will not be easy.  All I can do is count down the days until we are back among family next summer and I can sleep soundly in the assurance that we will never again be left in such isolation during this most special time of year.