Adulting for Christmas (and a giveaway)

socksWhen I was about 6 yrs old I remember going to my Tia Dorothy’s house on Christmas Night.  Her kids were 12-16 years older than me and my brother and, as such, their presents were wildly different from the Barbies and GI Joes we got.  I was appalled at the paltry couple of boxes with (gasp!) PANTS! displayed.  Or (shriek!) a sweater.  A SWEATER?  That’s what your mom got you at the start of the school year!  Where the dolls iz?  Where the BARBIE clothes (and house)? Not even a cool book!

Serious question: do people still display gifts?  It’s been years since we’ve had an actual tree and I hate all the clutter (this is a tiny house) so once you open your dangblasted gifts you take them to wherever I cannot see them.  And we generally do not travel on Christmas so by the time I actually get to someone’s house their gifts are long gone. But when I was a kid we had to tidy up after the Morning Frenzy and then place all our gifts on pretty display under the tree.  We could play with them, of course, but they had to go back under the tree (for how long I don’t remember).  Is that still a thing?

Anyhoo, we’re now in the enviable position of  having pretty much everything we want (except that house in Careyes and that 11cwt emerald-cut solitaire) and I’ve learned the hard way to not get too creative with gifts for El O – even tool-related ‘creatives’ tend to fall flat and I find them, still in their packaging, a year later.  I just found the Milwaukee angle-inserts I was so jazzed to give him (last year).  On his desk.  Never opened.  I had very uncharitable thoughts of just how to use those ‘inserts’.

So.  We are my cousins now.  At least he is.  He’s getting socks.  Really.  His feet always hurt and they get cold, so I found no-bind cashmere socks and some Zombie Tactical angora socks.  Tires for his truck.  If I were 6 I would be appalled!

Is that how it happens?  One day you’re buzzin’ cuz you got a GI Joe with the Kung-fu grip…and the next you’re all ‘hey, thanks for the socks’.

But!  Surprize, surprise,SurPRIZE!  All that is offset by watching the New 6s having a ball with the ‘real’ presents!  We were just in WI, visiting our grandkids (6,4 & 18mos) and every last bit of that ‘bah, humbug’ went out the window at the sight of the 6yr old deep in consultation with El O about how to assemble his new remote control helicopter while dad was busy assembling the baby’s tricycle.   The 4yr old and I had a very nice time changing the 2 new Barbies’ clothes (okay, Survey Time: were you Clothes Immediately OFF or Keep Clothes ON ?).  I was transported back to my own 6yr old self when we were changing out Barbie’s shoes.  Something about the shoes always felt 50% Cinderella & 50% Moving Toyshop (ooh! speaking of GREAT books – if you can find it, get Edmund Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop (first in his Gervase Fen series).  I read this 40 years ago and am just now re-reading it.  Hysterical and wonderfully written!  I’m giving that book to several of my reader friends next year!

I guess, for me, the best part of Adulting for Christimas lies in giving.  The past decade or so I’ve gotten a huge kick out of giving fun, inventive gifts for family and friends – and sometimes even clients.  This year I had a blast putting together a gift basket for a client who adores……oatmeal!  Between the niche oatmeals and the fun spices and sugars from The Spice House, I had more fun than I could’ve ever supposed.  And his delight as he went through the basket was even more fun!  You know you ‘done right’  when you and some hulky guy both start squealing over whole nutmegs! lol!  El O thinks we are nuts!  We are!  We’re Nutsmegs! Okay, I’ll stop.

If you celebrate Christmas, how was yours?  Ours was nice, with the cubs coming to visit on Saturday & Sunday.   Tell me how you spent your weekend (non-holiday stories welcome, too!).  I’ll have The Girl (who got a nice bag of organic chicken treats for Christmas) pull a name or two and we’ll send some fragrant fun your way!

 

ps.  he LOVED the socks.

 

 

66 Comments

  1. I spent my holiday weekend, at home cozy in my bed watching Christmas movies and I had a great time staying home this year!

  2. We exchanged gifts, had a wonderful family brunch, watched all our favorite Christmas movies, and generally had a good time.

  3. I had a lovely holiday weekend spent at the hospital with my husband of 38 years who got a robot-assisted radical prostatectomy for Christmas; talk about ‘adulting’! I couldn’t have gotten a better gift than his goofy smile as he came out of the anesthetic and realized it was all over and he was still alive!

    • OMG! That is WONDERFUL NEWS! and I know just what you mean. Yesterday found me in the ER with El O – fears of a blood clot in his leg. Turned out to be cellulitis, which is a helluva lot better (and the antibiotics are already working). SO glad to hear your husband is already on the mend! Here’s to Adult Christmas Presents!!! 😉

      xoxoxoA

      • Thank you for the thoughtful reple, Musette! I sure hope your husband is feeling better!

  4. I left my home in France to be with my parents in Maryland for the holidays 🙂 We ate marvelously. My mother is a culinary master. We have a wonderfully festive tree blinking happily away in the sunroom, and lovely fake candles in every window. I had no idea anyone ever displayed their presents! As soon as everything has been opened, my family has always been in the habit of immediately cleaning everything up and tucking presents away in their permanent homes. I gave my mother a bunch of fragrant soaps, body oils, and perfume minis, but received no smelly presents at all 🙁 It’s ok; I frequently “borrow” my mother’s things. Happy holidays!

    • LOL! Glad your mother is such a great cook! Personally, I would’ve gone over to see you, since there are Pierre Herme chocolate sables in France! Hope you are enjoying your visit with your family! xoxoxoA

  5. Nobody really displays Christmas gifts after they are opened in my house. As soon as it is unwrapped, it’s in bedrooms because most of it seems to be clothes. Besides, when there are no little kids, there isn’t much to give. Went to my grandmother’s house and exchanged gifts. Now it’s the other grandmother’s turn, so a little more stuff to open. No perfume gifts for me this year.

  6. My gifts included a couple bottles of Hendley perfume (that I just ordered for myself). I signed hubby’s name to the tag-ha. Oh well, it’s fine! I gave my daughter Me Talk Pretty One Day and Holidays on Ice, both by David Sedaris. I loved them both and I hope she does too (love the Hertz commercial scene!)

    • Been there with the gifts! LOL! I wanted a massage GC – I got headphones. Well….you know where this is going, right???????? sure you do!

      See you at the Spa!
      xoxoxoA

  7. My parents grew up very poor, my mom especially so there wasn’t enough money for gifts. My sister and I were spoiled rotten and pretty much got everything we desired.

    My mom believes that everything needs to be put into its place, immediately! Thus, we never displayed our gifts but there is one picture of my sister who insisted on being photographed with her gifts!

    I spent the weekend baking with my mom and watching holiday movies!

    • I’m with your mom – I love the time right before and during present openingbut right after that I like to see pretty much everything put away.

      And I like to have the decorations down by midnight. Okay, that is maybe a little harsh but I’m Just That Way.
      The weekend baking with your mom sounds wonderful!!! Glad you were able to do that!

      xoxoxoA

  8. Here we like to devote an evening to watching Elf around this time of year. Always good for a smile. Smiling’s my favorite! On Sunday we spent a full day with the extended family eating and talking, sharing gifts and eating, and then cleaning up after all the fun. Tiring but so very worthwhile. Hope everyone is enjoying an easy re-entry into post-Santa life this week. Oh! Almost forgot to mention that angora socks are one of the best gifts I’ve received, Barbie clothes stay on but her shoes stay off, and we also left our loot displayed under the Christmas tree for days, but I don’t seem to see anyone doing that today. I wonder why?

    • Your holiday sounds like it was truly wonderful! Glad to hear it!

      The ‘display’ question may never be able to be answered, alas. But it is curious, innit?

      xoxoxoA

  9. I spent time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and her family – plus, of course, my amazing 22-month-old niece and gorgeous two-week-old nephew (I’m not a biased auntie at all!). It was wonderful, with a full-on Melbourne summer Christmas Day (about 37 C), so lots of splashing about under sprinklers and other fun stuff 🙂

    • If ONLY! It wasn’t too bad here – by the time 25Dec rolled around Polly Vortex had taken off to torture others – but it was rainy & cold.
      Congratulations on the new amazing, beautiful additions to your family!

      xoxoxoxA

  10. Spent three days in a cabin in the woods, no tv or internet, with my mom and in laws. I admit I was a little afraid this could take a dystopian turn, but we did have a great time! Cooking and drinking beer together has a potential to fomenting world peace, I tell ya!

    • I remember you mentioning this last week and I was wondering if you were going to make it through that – glad to know you did! I think cooking and eating together (and drinking stuff) is always a gateway to peace! How can it not be!

      xoxoxoA

  11. We (the parents and I) had a low key Christmas at home with a few gifts but mostly spending time together (as it should be). I also had a visit from my friend Gabriella- now that we’re in college I hardly ever see her, so that was a lovely treat.
    Thanks for the draw 🙂

    • it’s funny how, when we’re kids it’s all about the gifts. As we age, it seems to be all about Time. Glad you were able to spend so much of it with loved one!

      xoxoxoA

  12. A quiet Christmas for me and my husband this year. I felt awful giving him socks and underwear but he insisted that is what he wanted! I got him Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography and a couple of CDs, including a really good one from Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs. He picked out a pretty tunic sweater for me. I bought myself an inexpensive handbag and later, some perfume samples from those two wonderful online places we know. No little kids in our immediate family or surroundings, so…movies and good wine.

    When I was a kid, we displayed our presents under the tree for a few days–maybe ’til New Years Eve.

    • E, I think we get to a point where the ‘idea’ is more important than the actual gift – and guys are funny; seems they really do like socks! I do, too. A friend gave me a pair of cashmere socks awhile back and I love those things like nobody’s business! Your other gifts to him are marvelous! I didn’t know Bruce Springsteen had an autobiography!

      xoxoxoA

  13. I would love to send you a picture of our real Christmas tree with the gifts displayed, after 52 years! No one was here this year all live out of state. Our parents are gone. Then after feeling sorry for myself, I invited my friend over for dinner. It also was her birthday. I got out all my fancy china. Set a beautiful table, just like the old days. Made her a birthday cake and fixed a wonderful dinner. I’m thankful I can do this for someone and it still makes me happy. As the evening came to a close, the Christmas wishes came from our children who were traveling out of the country. It wasn’t the “Walton’s”, but it was good.

    • that sounds like a marvelous day!!! Glad you were able to spend it with someone special. Also glad you were able to connect with your children. <3

      xoxoxoA

  14. For the first time in a long time, we didn’t travel for the holidays, which was a relief! There was also an ice storm, so we mostly just hunkered down and enjoyed a quiet day. I wasn’t in much of a celebrating mood this year given recent national and international events, but this was the first Christmas my son (4) has been excited about Santa — his enthusiasm was infectious, so I rallied for him. He got a good haul, and spent the day assembling Legos. Since we just moved into our house, my hubby’s and my gifts were mostly house stuff (shelves, hardware).

    I seem to remember displaying gifts for a day or two when we were really young. And those Barbie clothes were off and changed within minutes.

    • SO glad you and yours were safe and warm during that storm! Kids really do pull us out of ourselves during this often-fraught holiday season – watching the eldest grandkid (6) with GrampaBear, working on that helicopter…I dunno. Just lightened my heart! Glad you enjoyed it with your son! Events come and go (some suck, that’s for sure) but these memories with your son are priceless!

      LOL! on the Barbie! Yep. She hadn’t fully gotten her out of the package before she was ripping off that dress and taking off the handbag and the shoes….it was -10F outside so I wanted Barbie dressed, pronto!

      xoxoxoA

  15. I love The Moving Toyshop 🙂 Crispin really enjoyed recycling his plots, but I could have done without the dog bits in The Moving Toyshop and Love Lies Bleeding. Still, he wrote some of my favorite characters (The Rector and The Major in The Glimpses of the Moon) and was a master of silly situations (the opening chapter of Holy Disorders). I think I have the audiobook versions of all the Fen books so I may pull one out for today’s long drive.
    Our Christmas was very nice and the fun gifts outweighed the practical adult stuff for everyone except my brother-in-law. He’s impossible to shop for and got gift cards to restaurants that don’t serve “weird crap” and a pair of gloves.

    • it’s been so long that it really is like reading a new book! Will look out for the dog bits. I truly don’t remember!

      LOL! on your BIL. wonder what his version of ‘weird crap’ is?

      xoxoxoA

  16. Had a wonderful Christmas with my parents who came up from North Carolina- last Christmas with them was in 2005 so this was special. My nine year old still (mostly) believes in Santa so the intrigue continues…
    Loved watching the kids open presents and basked in the wonderful chaos of this year’s Christmas. Watched Polar Express which is our yearly tradition, Mom had never seen it so that was fun. Husband sells wine and fine liquor so you know what we often gift to people. Also this was my first year giving him various perfume samples to try so we’ll see what happens. Thanks for this thread- it’s very cool to a glimpse into other’s lives- and I’m very intrigued about the book suggestion!

    • Oh, SO nice that you were able to spend it with your parents! It is fun to see how others spend the holidays isn’t it!? I hope you stop in week after next, I’ll be talking about perfumery and/in liquor!

      xoxoxoA

  17. Spent the weekend taking walks with Dear Husband and cooking up a storm. Christmas was a mix of practical combined with a bit of whimsy. Dear Daughter is grown up and on her own, but she spent Christmas eve at the house with us. Got her some costume jewelry I thought she’d like, plus some makeup and an enameled cast iron dutch oven to replace the one the last movers somehow managed to crack. Dear Husband ended up with undershirts, a toy canon found in the gift shop of the musée de l’Armée in Paris, plus a boxed set of prints of the map of Paris (also found in the same gift shop.) Dear Husband saved the bows and ribbons and recycled the wrapping paper while I was in the kitchen cooking. I turned around and it was all cleaned up.

    • OMG! THEY CRACKED HER DUTCH OVEN? I would’ve killed them with that cracked pot, really. I have seven – yes, 7 – Dutch ovens. Something about them just makes me HAPPY (and I use them all) – which one did you get her? My favorites are the Lodge Color line – they can take it up to 500F which means I can bake bread in them! And I love the colors. I keep thinking I don’t need the purple one – but who doesn’t need a purple Dutch oven! Right?

      xoxoxoA

  18. Displaying gifts does.not.compute. The boys gave me going to Mass on Christmas Eve as the present, since that’s all I wanted, and then we got the time wrong because the stewpid holiday schedule was buried somewhere else in the paper. Well, it was an effort. 🙂

    • it’s a weird custom – either you did, or you didn’t. Nowadays it seems like no one does – we sure don’t. LOL! Your ‘boys’ are turning into ‘men’. That’s all the present you need, baby!!!

      Glad you got to spend time with your family. You did smooch Miss Nadine for me, didn’t you?

      Good!

      xoxoxoA

  19. We had a wonderful holiday weekend at home with just the dogs. My husband’s birthday is Dec. 26th so that was our big celebration (we don’t give holiday gifts, only birthday gifts). Gave him a bunch if cycling gear as that’s what he likes. I love displaying my gifts for a few days so I can enjoy looking at them before I put them away. 🙂

    • those hollerday birthdays suck. Mine is over Thanksgiving, most years. I really look forward when it moves away from Wed-Friday and into Saturday-Tuesday rotation. Friday is the suckiest because nearly everyone, me included, is exhausted and in a food coma from the day before.

      xoxoxoA

  20. Six people plus one MIL snowed in together for four days with one bathroom… it wasn’t pretty. Today the visitors left, YAY!

    • Jeebus! One bathroom? I’m in menopause. I pee. A LOT! I would’ve been yellowing the snot out of that snow! LOL!

      Glad you survived! Glad everybody got the hell out of your house!!!

      xoxoxoA

  21. My Christmas was spent cuddling my new 2 week old baby boy! No family came into town, so it was just me, my husband, and our new son…so it was pretty low key…just how we like it!

    As a kid, I definitely remember displaying our gifts on the couches in our living room (on Christmas day only…they had to be put away before we went to bed that night, or first thing the next morning). After we opened our gifts, we would head over to the grandparents for a Christmas lunch and hang out with aunts, uncles, and cousins. When the party was over, we would caravan around to each other’s houses to see what everyone got (the reason to display our gifts). As I think back on those times, it seems a bit silly now, but then, I truly enjoyed seeing what all my cousins received!

    • Oh, what a LOVELY Christmas gift! Congratulations!!!
      And we did the same thing, too! It WAS fun, in that ‘tallying-up’ kind of way (and you know we did) 😉

      xoxoxoA

  22. My 4 yr old woke us up at 6 am complaining the Santa has not visited our house. The day before we kept calling Santa tracking line to see here he was and when he is coming to our house. She was very upset xmas morning because she did not see the gift. Once the gifts were open all the toys were immediately played with and all clothes were out on – e.g. Multiple dresses were out on st the same time. I just got cash to use at my discretion which is going towards a purchase of Rahele.

    • she woke you up at 6am? You lucky dog. I remember getting up WAY before then, back in the day. Now we go by the Dog Schedule. Which means I must be up by 7, no matter the day.

      Our 4yr old granddaughter had enough dresses out to clad 100 Barbies. Glad I didn’t have to pick any of that stuff up! LOL!

      xoxoxoA

  23. We spent Christmas Eve alternating between feverishly wrapping presents and curling up on couches to recover from said exertions. 🙂 Church with the whole family in the evening, followed by a cup of Smoking Bishop and the reading of the Christmas story from Matthew.

    As for Christmas gift displaying, I can only say that the presents remaining in the sitting room are a testament to our slovenliness rather than to some great tradition! 😉

  24. First night of Chanukah. Gave 3 presents to younger people. Went to sleep immediately and could not make Christmas Eve with my stepbrothers and their mother. Which is too bad.
    I used to be so excited for this stuff but then again I got American Girl dolls two years in a row and it was awesome. But cashmere socks sound great now….

  25. I spent the day alone doing laundry. My family members aren’t good people, my son was with his father and somebody has to do the wash.

    • Darling! Yikes! But you know what? I’ve actually been there – and sometimes it can be quite calming. Hope you did have some calm moments.

      xoxoxoxoA

  26. I worked on xmas, and did minor candle lighting with nieces, no presents. It’s not that kind of year!

  27. Whole family this year, cooking for eleven people, driving hither and thither, baked over two hundred cookies on Xmas eve! All of which I loved. I do feel the gifts were rather ‘adult’ this year; one or two really useful, thoughtful things instead of a bunch of stuff, which was the best; I received an actual grown up desk chair for writing, and an incredible little spatula because I like to eat all the peanut butter out of the jar. So if that’s ‘adulting’, I’ll take it!

  28. We had a lovely holiday dinner with my 2 year old grandchild, son, and daughter. Heaven on earth.

  29. Nice day with my son, nice luncheon, talking and watching Netflix documentary “The Minimalists.” Inspiring!

  30. I lazed about with my younger sisters, napped to my hearts content, and ate corn dogs. I wish I got cashmere socks for Christmas!!

  31. Laid up with the flu. DAMMIT!!! But hubby was awfully sweet, and coddled me like I was the last egg in the basket. See why I’ve kept him around for 45 years?

  32. Mass on Christmas Eve at home in Mobile, AL; then enjoyed Christmas morning with my husband and two sons, short drive to Pensacola, FL to visit my parents and siblings, Grandpa, and some cousins; and my oldest son’s birthday is Dec.26th (he turned 20!), so there was birthday cake baking and celebrating. And since I work for a University, we get a really nice long holiday break, so I’ve been enjoying time off doing some cross stitching 🙂 Happy Holidays to all!

  33. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year!

    I have a lot of young nieces and nephews and we still put gifts under the tree. The gifts would not fit though so we have one room where all the gifts are. A big extended family needs one roomful of gifts. 😀

  34. I had a great Christmas weekend. It was simple but fun. I ate with my family, and we opened gifts and played board games.

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