1. We have to deal with the coat storage question again. Seven people living in the Midwest wear a lot of coats; there's no way around it. I was bustling out of the house on Christmas morning when the coat hooks began pulling out of the wall. I yelled for Elwood, who was still sleeping and did not view the situation as urgent, but he was not the one listening to the creak of bending screws being disgorged by the studs, or the one being buried in piles of winter clothing. The coats are piled in the office floor for the nonce (argh) and we are trying to figure out a better solution. I was thinking, "It's a shame we need so many coats. It'd be nicer if the kids could meet that need with something more portable. It wouldn't really work for them to carry blankets. I know! Maybe they could grow fur!"
2. And then I thought, "What was IN that beer I just drank if it is making me think my kids need to grow fur?"
3. Did you have a good Christmas? We had a nice Christmas. I've been turning it over in my head, though. Some of the things that we do to make Christmas less crazy and more Christ-centered were clearly foreign to one of our guests, and it's been niggling at me.
4. Things that might make Christmas less crazy for someone else too: 1) don't focus on wish lists at all -- God gives surprising gifts and it's perfectly fine for parents to do so too 2) open presents in rounds, where each person opens one present in some specified order (reverse alphabetical by middle name was suggested a couple of times) and then we take a break before the next round to appreciate that present, work on Christmas meal prep, and step back from the all-you-can-eat overstimulation buffet that is Christmas Day in a large family 3) get the kids' input on year-end giving and make it a fun family occasion to give away a bunch of money to causes that especially speak to them 4) say vespers together with loud happy Christmas carols at the beginning and the end.
5. We also played charades, which we love to do. My 8yo got "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" out of nowhere and he was pleased as could be. That boy couldn't be any more heart-melty, I tell you what.
6. I gave my husband Dixit for Christmas. He loves games; I am pickier about games. I read descriptions of recent award-winning games in search of one that did not have seven million pieces or eight kabillion rules, and Dixit was the winner. It's a lot of fun, and suitable for a mix of ages.
7. I have been knitting like a fiend this week, trying to finish Christmas gifts. Dear Jamie of December 2014: if you haven't made a bunch of headway on a Christmas gift by the time December starts, wait until next year. My 2012 self sent the same memo to my 2013 self, however, and she did not even pretend to listen. I am going to see my mother on Monday night, and I am hoping to finish not only this sock (Roses from the new Knitty) but also its mate. This might be delusional, but I am going to call it optimistic and see how that works out for me.