Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Stuff

The first non-rainy Saturday of the season found us loading the family into the family mobile and joyously caroling our way to the Christmas tree farm to find and cut the perfect tree.


Actually we drove 20 minutes with a screaming baby, then briefly lost one of the children at the Christmas tree farm before our failed attempt at a holiday themed family photo shoot. But we did end up with a pretty decent tree.

We NEVER get family photos taken, and while usually I am happier behind the lens, every once in awhile it's good to cram everybody together and try to coax simultaneous smiles from your children. You know, for the sake of posterity.

Take one. Jack! What the hell are you doing?

Take 2. Dad is on to you. Knock that shit off.


Take 4. Oh fuck it. Nevermind.

So yeah. Christmas cards. They might be late this year. But let's focus on the positive! The tree is nice and fragrant and full of Christmas spirit and all that. Also, it has not fallen over yet, so that's a plus.

Guys, get in front of the tree for a picture! What the? I don't even. Grrr. Sigh.

But I do love this picture because, well,  way to capture the moment, Brent. The dishwasher is always running. A kid is always blurring his way past me. The living room is always trashed. My pants are always falling down.

I bought Sawyer these shorts at a thrift store for $1.50. They are gigantic on him and it is December, but that doesn't stop him from trying to wear them every day.

We let the kids decorate the tree by clustering every single ornament at eye level and then Brent and I adjusted things once they were in bed. As we meticulously rearranged the tree over pints of Sleigher, I began to notice that we seem to own a lot of odd and downright ugly Christmas ornaments. Also, I am pretty sure my mom saved every single ornament that my brother and I ever made and let me tell you, artistes we are not. What to do with all of these non-tree worthy ornaments?

I started to put them back into the boxes and then I stopped. I have saved a lot of my mom's things. Some of it is sentimental and important, but some of it is just stuff.  And even though it was valuable to her, I have my own kids' ornaments to save now. The truth is, no matter how many boxes of dusty memorabilia I hoard in the attic, it won't bring her back. I can close my eyes and remember the sound of her voice and the smell of the perfume she wore when she went out dancing with my dad.  No hand painted ceramic stocking ornament that I made in 1986 is going to change that. And so I let go. I cleaned out that box of ornaments with the enthusiasm of spring cleaning. It felt good.

I didn't stop there. While Brent took the kids up to Lake Creek to see the salmon jumping the fish ladder, I cleared out the closets, heaped a gigantic pile of clothes on the kitchen table for donation, and bagged up just about anything in our house that hasn't been used for the past year.

I paused when I came across our collection of board games. Some were easy to toss, too complicated, missing pieces, too many pieces, etc. But then I got to the Sorry game. We've always played Sorry as long as I can remember and I was in possession of my family's original game. The box was long ago broken, repaired with duct tape, and then broken again. The plastic player pieces went missing longer ago than I can remember and have been replaced by beheaded Parcheesi men. I am sure the deck is missing cards. But my family spent countless hours playing this game, splitting sevens and cursing those backwards fours. On the day my mom died, Nick and I played this game over and over and over again simply because we did not know what else to do with ourselves.

I read somewhere that you should photograph items that are sentimental before you give them away.

But then at the last minute, as Brent loaded the car for the Goodwill run, I just couldn't do it. I don't know why, but I just had to keep that game.

(Can you guess what I found in the depths of the hallway closet?? My fucking passport. OF COURSE. FML.)

Okay, one more try, guys! Let's all practice for our Christmas card photo shoot!

Getting closer. Just have to get you out of those Halloween shirts and then well be... wait! What are you doing? NO! Stop that right now, you guys!

At least Clementine finds them amusing. For now.

Cleaning out your closets and hauling away some of your emotional baggage is a good way to start the holiday season. I now have room in my life for a new tradition: Christmas candy! Mary and her sister Susy taught me the Wagner Family Super Secret Candy Recipe. It was an honor.


There will be a bit of nostalgia this Christmas season. The holidays are always sad when someone is missing, no matter how long it has been. But this year I'll also be making fondant and dipping chocolates and making room on the tree for my kids' ugly handmade ornaments.

And playing Sorry.
And getting a presentable Christmas card photo.

That one might take awhile.

1 comment:

  1. It does seem to be all about the tongue this year with at least one of your boys, doesn't it? You brought tears to my eyes once again, along with a hearty chuckle with this post, Cassadie. How about framing your old Sorry game in a shadow box? It sounds important, and it's good you didn't send it off.

    And, I love Brent's photo of you. It's beautiful, pants and all.