Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Decorating

I am surrounded and I mean SURROUNDED by 30 years worth of Christmas decorations in those plastic red and clear flippy bins and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.okay I lied, I'm completely, this is taking me 3 days, I can hardly stand it, overwhelmed! This is, I just realized, the first Christmas where I have no kids at home to help me put up and decorate the tree.  I always knew I liked parts of the decorating process, but the tree has NEVER been the part I liked best.

  It is not a creative process and new and different. That's why I think I loathe putting it together. It may be a new bunch of ornaments, but the process is like a factory assembly line. And if you are like me, and are a creative, right brained person, we can't stand anything we have to repeat and do over the same way. And I'm wishing I could bribe my kids to come back home just to help with this one little "project".  Ha! I know none of them would EVER fall for that line.  They know me better. I have my little manipulative ways and they have learned.....Whenever they come over I make them move furniture around....

Nutcracker collecting...
 So I have just realized that I'm like those "Sidetracked Home Executives" that I used to read about who could never finish one job before another one looked more interesting and so they moved onto that leaving a wake of unfinished projects strung out all over the house. Well, that's me in a nut box. It is taking me close to a week to get things just the way I want them.  I like the creative process, I DO! But I just can't take the mess.  I just want it to get magically done without all this hair pulling, decision making, mind-changing, fickleness!

First Grader's Nutcrackers....
 I eat lunch every day with a bunch of teachers like myself. And everybody has been moaning and groaning about getting the decorations all done.  I think a few years ago I finally figured out why all teachers are way STRESSED OUT in the month of December.  Well, it goes like this....

Teachers have to buy teachers gifts for all their students, we all do it, the kids love it and almost expect it, and it is fun. So there, that's 20 some odd gifts. Some teachers have 30 students. Okay, let's suppose you teach a younger grade like I do. Then you need to let the kids make a gift for all their parents for Christmas. They love wrapping a handmade ornament up in tissue paper tied with colorful yarn with a homemade chicken scratched card scrawled out for mommy and daddy, it's just a given!  So add 20 some more little gifts.  Then you have to get gifts for all those staff people that absolutely make your life easier at school, the secretaries who keep us going and on top of stuff, the copy ladies who cut our after-school, prep-time,  workload in half, our coworkers who all get us gifts too, the parent helpers in our class whom we could not LIVE without! I love my homework helper moms almost more than my best friend!  So add on another 10 or 12 or more (one year I had 12 parent helpers) gifts. Are you getting the picture?

"HOLIDAY" Acrostic Poems...
 And then something for the principal, your BOSS.  Okay that is just gifts at the workplace. Whew! It's fun, and I'm not complaining, I'm just realizing why we get stressed out.  I was watching Oprah do her final year freebie giveaway the other day and I was just struck with the thought, "What in the heck if you were Oprah and had to do Christmas after this massive giveaway?" Boy oh boy I wonder how she tops herself at her workplace. She must have a crew of people just to do her Christmas shopping for staff gifts. I would not trade places, really!

Kitchen Table...still messing with this one...

Add to that your Christmas tree in the classroom, oh yeah, most teachers are all into making the class look really cute for all the kids and we all like to see what kinds of hanging decorations, ornaments and art projects other teachers come up with to enhance walls and ceiling during the month of December. It is beautiful at school, and I love it. It gets my creative juices flowing, but sometimes I feel really BEAT by day's end because of a hand print painting activity, or doing stained glass windows from Karo syrup, or making a flap book retell of the Gingerbread Man story.   Lots of crazy busyness, lots of brilliantly creative artists in training, lots of beautiful results. 

The Gingerbread Baby.... Story Retell

And that isn't even counting teachers who work with lots of kids at home! I'm an empty nester!   A few years back at our annual first day back-to-school, district pep rally, I sat by a new teacher who had just been hired at our school.  As I asked her about herself she told me, "Oh and by the way, I have 8 kids, 3 of them go to this school!" Are you kidding me? I can't imagine her Christmas wish list and work load! Oh my!  She became one of my best friends at that school. I run into her now and then as we've both moved on to different schools and we can still just start laughing at stuff our kids have put us through. One of those kinds of friends that no matter what the span of time you've been apart you can pick right back up where you left off and chatter like magpies at each other and enjoy the company of a like-minded friend.

I finished one little end table! Hip Hip Hooray!

So tonight as I reminisce about how easy it was with my live-in decorating, child slave labor I used to have, I decide to get sidetracked on purpose and bake a chocolate-chip bundt cake. I love the bakery called Nothing Bundt Cakes in Sandy, http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com/index.php but man are they expensive. I found a terrific recipe on allrecipes.com (my favorite cooking website!) that I love and topped it with cream cheese icing. So my cake is nothing bundt in lower case letters. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Too-Much-Chocolate-Cake/Detail.aspx Tastes the same, cost about a 10th of the price to make.

Nothing But Bundt Cakes..Mine was almost as pretty, but definitely as tasty....And although the tree still isn't done.... I think I've finished my 1st sidetracked project of the night!! Yeah for me!.  The tree also has progressed.

 I now have strings of white lights on it and my poor husband went and hid. He knows if he is around he will become my NEW SLAVE LABOR!!! Ha ha! But too bad Mr. Moss knows all my tricks after 30 years of marriage too. Poor man. He would do it if I begged. But I just don't have the heart to torture him. Not after he did some marketing at the grocery store so I could take a hot bath when I came home from school.  He has a business where he can work from home. So although I am here typing at 9:00 at night he is over there at his desk writing software code and checking his online bill payment website for glitches and bugs and software developing way later than any 9 to 5er job.  So I don't ask him for too much. I'm lying again, darn it! He does WAY too much for me and we both know it. He really is way too good to me. 

2nd Sidetracked Project of the night....I'm losing steam Fast!

My daughter Tiff made a glass jar table decoration at Thanksgiving that I loved and it gave me an idea to use my 3 Walmart, glass cookie jars in a new way for Christmas. She had filled hers with pine cones all glittered in fall colors and then added some gold and brown shiny glass ball ornaments. It looked really cool and very easy to do. I'll add a picture next time I'm over to her house. And I've been using my 3 jars for baby showers and weddings using scrapbook paper in 3 coordinating colors and ribbons and stickers designating the theme on each jar. Check out my blog page on Devin's Utah wedding reception for pictures of the black and white wedding decorated jars.

So I did a trio of jars for Christmas too. These, though, are not filled with edible treats, although they could be! I could choose to put red and green taffy assortments in one, candy canes and peppermints in red and green in another and candy kisses in red, green and silver in another. The only problem is, I WOULD BE EATING THEM ALL SEASON LONG!  So none of that will be allowed around these parts but you could do it if you are brave and skinny...
I used just some leftover scraps of red and green muted scrapbook paper and cut  3 to 4 inch widths  just enough to go around the insides of the jars about 1/3 up from the bottom.  I filled them halfway with freezer paper (or tissue paper) and filled them the rest of the way up with some jingle bells, tiny glass ornaments, and glitter snowflakes and some of those glass red jewels they sell everywhere, and lots of glittery, styrofoam ornaments in the tiny and small size. Then I added coordinating ribbons around the middle of the jar and around the lid and tied on an ornament or jingle bell to each one. I just used leftover scraps of everything, even some really old ornaments that I got on clearance after the season years ago. So it was kind of a fun craft project.  And it turned out really pretty. 

Now my decorating bins are down to about 4 from about 12 so I think I'm about 2/3rds done. PROGRESS!  It takes so long but I really do like to putter and change and stand back and enjoy the process...and then get sidetracked by something else.  But I have roasted vegetables and homemade hamburgers and a cool bundt cake to show for it! And it's low calorie too of course! But I'll have to try for the finish line tomorrow. I'm pooped and my favorite show is about to come on. (The Good Wife). So if it isn't a rerun, I'll be closing up decorating shop for the night. I've also got to finish my little granddaughter Marisa's Baking Bag and all the components to put inside. That will take a few more days, but it is turning out super cute. More on that later....

Happy Holiday Decorating!


  1. I'll trade you tree decorating for babysitting!! Its looking cute mom :)

  2. Nice Blog. If you'd like, I can send an invite to mine (it's private), but just let me know where to send it. Send me a message on Facebook.

    Did you see my post on Facebook about Bednar's explanation of the true meaning of the tree, the lights, and the shepherds? Good stuff.

    -Alice Jensen


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