Dealing with L.‘s medical problems had made us want to get into the Christmas spirit early, so we decided to buy our tree pretty early in December. It was snowing pretty hard while getting the tree so by the time we got home it turned to sound of rain when putting the tree into the stand. Luckily all the melted snow ran down the tree and filled up the bowl so it was not a big mess. We decided to wait for tree to dry out before decorating it but instead ran out of steam. The tree sat for more than a week undecorated, but it was putting out the smell so it was doing its job.
This Christmas we had decided to not go anywhere, just have the two of us stay home together, no guests, no stress, no traveling. I think it worked out pretty well as a break every few years to do it this way. We also decided on the idea of gifts of acts rather than buying or making homemade gifts. With us moving to London we didn’t want any more stuff that would just get thrown away or put in storage. Funnily enough we both just kind of decided independently without talking about it that doing three things was the right number. The other problem was the idea of unwrapping gifts, since it was just us, and we were giving each other acts instead of physical things our tree looked kind of bare. So we both got fancy with a software program to make flyers and created basically an advertisement explaining what we would be doing for them.
My gifts to her:
Picnic every month for 6 months: I planned locations and menus for picnics to give us something to look forward to. I went through the house and put together all the things we needed for into a picnic kit and wrapped that up. Of course winter picnics are tricky so I had to be creative with locations (indoor picnic at the Winter Garden, and having a picnic at home.)
Book of the month: I chose some books that we were both interested in learning about and set up a book of the month club for us to read, learn something new and then talk about it.
Planning software for goals: It had seemed like we had always just had a pretty easy plan set out for us: everything planned once we were done with the years of school. Now that we were out of school we needed internal motivation. This way we could sit down together and plan it out.
Her gifts to me:
Trash for the year: I had been the de facto person to have taken out the trash since we had been living in New York so she said that she would take over until we moved to London.
Cooking english food: As a way of preparing for the culture shock she put together a cookbook of recipes she found online of British foods. Once a month we would try something new.
Massage coupons: hmm, pretty self explanatory.
Gag gifts: Of course Santa still had to bring gifts and as always Santa is the one with a sense of humor so he brings gag gifts. To L. Santa brought some whiskey flavored barbecue sauce with side story about drunk reindeer. Santa brought me a ceramic sandal with various beach related stuff all over it that was made as a candle holder. Why would a sandal make a good candle holder? Only Santa knows.
One of the other things I tried was to download a video of a fire crackling and played it on the TV. Surprisingly it did its job. I cranked up the heater to add to the illusion but the crackling of the fire made Christmas feel all the more homey.