Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas Stuff vs Everyday Stuff

Every year, sometime during the weekend following Thanksgiving, all of our Christmas stuff comes out of hiding and we hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place our decorations on anything and everything that will hold them.  And let me tell ya, we have a lot of Christmas stuff.  I’ve always had a great deal of holiday decorations, usually adding a little more to the collection every year.  Then, I met Mountain Man and his Christmas collection was quite impressive, too.  After about a year, we decided to move in together, or shack up, depending on which region of the country you’re in.  In fact, that first summer we were living together, Mountain Man had the brilliant idea of having a shacking up party.  Sadly, we never got around to throwing this little shin dig.  Anyway, back to the Christmas stuff.

When I moved up to his mountain cabin, it was already fully furnished and had everything anyone could ever possibly need, so most of my belongings went into storage.  I only brought my clothes and personal day-to-day items, and some others things that I just couldn’t live without.  You know, the little things that bring a smile to your face when you see them lying around your house.  One of mine is a small copy of my favorite painting, Starry Night, that my oldest son presented to me one Mother’s Day long ago.  Another is a glass turtle that I cannot recall where it came from, but it just makes me smile when I see it.

We didn’t bring any of the Christmas stuff with us up here because we really weren’t sure just how long we’d be staying up here on top of the mountain.  That first summer, I really thought we’d be gone by the time the first flakes began to fly.  So when the holiday season arrived and we were still here, it was kinda exciting to go dig all of my Christmas boxes out of storage and pull all of Mountain Man’s out that were stored around the cabin.  Exciting might be an understatement here.  I was as giddy as a school girl!

We had so much stuff!!!  Together we had three full size artificial trees and at least four small ones!  That’s not even counting the artificial pines that stand on either side of the fireplace year round that would be decorated, too!  And we were bound and determined that each and every one of our trees would be put up and decorated.  I’d finally found a man who loves Christmas as much as I do!!!

In the past, I had always had to put all of my everyday stuff up in order to make room for all of my Christmas stuff and now that there were two different collections of Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes, we were definitely gonna have to pack up all the cabin stuff, too.  By the time we finished placing all of our beloved holiday treasures around the cabin and decorating all nine of our trees, it was gorgeous!  An absolutely stunning Christmas display in a snowy cabin perched high upon a mountain top.  It was every Christmas lover’s dream come true!

I believe Mountain Man said it best, though.  He took one look at the living room alone and said that it looked like a Christmas store threw up in there!  And he was right.  I loved it!  And I think he loved it, too.  But, I don’t think either of us thought we’d have that much stuff when we first started converging our two collections.

That first Christmas together in the cabin was wonderful, just like every other Christmas we’ve shared.  My problem today lies in the fact that it’s now January 2nd and it’s time to take down all the pretty red and green decorations and pack them all away again until next year.  It’s time to get all of our everyday stuff back out.  Don’t get me wrong.  All the everyday stuff is nice and pretty, too.  But it’s not the Christmas stuff.  It’s just not as shiny and happy and whimsical as the holiday stuff.  Each year, I’m always kinda sad to see the Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes go back into their boxes and hide away for the next eleven months.

I’ve not really bought anything for the house since I moved into the cabin with Mountain Man.  I used to see things that caught my eye and if they weren’t too awfully extravagant, I’d buy them and bring them home with me and they’d find a new home alongside all my other little treasures that just make me happy.  I’m thinking it might be time to start adding to my whimsical, often kooky, sometimes off the wall collection of everyday stuff.  I’m thinking Mountain Man and I need to find some things that are ours.  Things to hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place throughout the cabin that will bring back fond memories and smiles to our faces every time we see them.

Perhaps then, having to put all the Christmas stuff away and unwrapping all the everyday stuff won’t be such a dreaded chore anymore, but a more exciting, thrilling job.  One that can be just as happy as cracking open that first Christmas box right after Thanksgiving.


Unexpected Happiness

How many of you out there consider yourselves to be Type A people?  I don’t fall completely into that category, but I do have strong tendencies toward it.  And I used to be a whole lot worse.  Little things would get to me so badly.  Spilled milk would literally bring me to tears at times.  Especially if the milk were spilled right after I’d mopped the floor which usually was the only time that ever seemed to happen.  Looking back, I can laugh now at just how ridiculous this reaction was.  I’ve lightened up and let go quite a bit in the last few years.

However, there are still things that just make my skin crawl and illicit strange reactions, usually laced with a slew of profanities that are normally reserved for the really bad things in life.  Things that don’t seem to affect the Type B people in the world.  Things like spilling something on my clothes; mud tracked on the floors, especially if I’ve just swept or mopped; mascara being smudged on my face instead of my eyelashes in a hurried, frenzied attempt to get ready when I’m running late; people who cannot drive and should not be allowed to operate a vehicle, but always decide to pull out in front of me when I’m in a hurry.

And then, there’s the one that inspired me to write today.  And this is something I’ve done more often than I care to admit.

How many of you have went to cook/bake something and only after you’ve started realized that you didn’t have all the ingredients needed to make whatever it was you were cooking/baking?  Now, you’d think as many times as I’ve done this that I’d look and make sure that I have everything necessary before undertaking anymore cooking/baking.  Nope.  Not me.  I still find this happening at least once or twice every few months.  And the stress levels are always higher during the holidays, which leads to me forgetting ingredients even more so than usual, which also leads into a much more dramatic meltdown when the moment actually arrives when I figure out that I don’t have what’s needed and necessary to complete my cooking/baking.

This year was no different, as far as the forgetting goes.

We made cookies for Santa this year, just like a lot of folks do.  We were going to make Mountain Man’s Mom’s sour cream cookies, but we waited too long and ended up just making some plain old sugar cookies.  I don’t think Santa has a preference on cookies, but those sour cream cookies are pretty darn tasty.  Well, that was strike one.  I really had my heart set on making those cookies this year.  But, I put all that aside and just went with the easier sugar cookie recipe that I could whip up rather quickly.  No melt down.  Not yet, anyway.

We got the cookies baked and set them aside to cool while we all got ready to go to my family’s Christmas get-together on Christmas Eve.  We planned to decorate them that night once we returned from the big family festivities.  Waiting until late Christmas Eve to decorate Santa’s cookies with a seven year old, strike two.  Last minute things always stress me out.  I’m a planner.  A doer.  I don’t like feeling rushed.  I get sweaty and I just wanna throw up.  But, I put all that aside and I tried just rolling with the punches.  Playing it by ear.  Enjoying the moment and not stressing about the time crunch.  Santa surely wouldn’t stop by while we were still decorating cookies for him?  Would he?  And surely he wouldn’t just skip right over our house if we were still up at midnight covered in frosting and enjoying a little sugar high from all the cookies and frosting we were eating and licking off our fingers during this little last minute Christmas project?

Now, for me, having these two things already going against every grain and fiber of my being to just slip into a full on holiday melt down, but refraining and actually relaxing and embracing the new and last minuteness of all this Christmas madness was a feat in and of itself.  I was so proud of myself at this point.

Then, it happened.

Somewhere around 10 o’clock, Christmas Eve, after mixing the four or five bowls of frosting up, I opened the cabinet to get the food coloring out so I could tint the frosting for the cookies.  See the pattern here, after mixing the frosting, then and only then, did I look for my other essential ingredient.  Bright red, vivid green, bold blue, vibrant yellow.  You know, Christmas colors.  Guess what we were out of?  Yep, you got it.  Red, green, blue and yellow food coloring.  And I just knew we had these items in the house.  I knew it!  I pulled every single item out of that cabinet looking for those elusive colors.  They weren’t there.

However, we did have a box of neon food coloring.  Neon food coloring.  Who has neon food coloring just lying around their kitchen?  I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d bought those colors for.  Oh, wait.  It just came to me.  I bought them for decorating little girl’s birthday cakes.  So anyway, in this box of neon colors, we had fabulous shades of purple, pink, yellow/green and blue.  Absolutely not anything that even remotely resembled Christmas colors!

I could feel the demon rising inside me.  I could feel the melt down coming on.  I’d been able to keep it at bay with the other two things that usually would’ve set me off.  Why oh why hadn’t I checked to make sure we’d had the right colors for Christmas cookies?  How could I have over looked something so important?  And on Christmas Eve!  Of all days to forget something so crucial!!!!  What was wrong with me???  How could I be so stupid!!!!???!!!!

None of these thoughts found their way to my mouth.  Thank God!  And about the time the sweat beads started to form and the nausea was just about to kick in and the words were ready to spill out, Mountain Man came to the rescue.  God love him.  He’s one of those Type B people.  At times like these, I envy him so much.  I think he knew I was fixing to just dissolve into tears because he walked over and touched me gently and started explaining how it didn’t matter that we didn’t have the traditional Christmas colors for our Christmas cookies.  They didn’t have to be bright red, vivid green, bold blue or vibrant yellow to be Christmasy.  We’d have funky, psychedelic Christmas cookies this year!

He explained to me that the best memories are sometimes born out of the most unexpected things.  And he’s right.  I knew in that moment that he was right and I could actually feel my melt down start to dissipate as he spoke.  The little beads of sweat just went away and my nauseousness disappeared.  Mountain Man talked about one day in the far off future, how his little girl would always remember the psychedelic funky Christmas cookies from the year we didn’t have any regular food colors.  And I really hope he’s right.  I hope we talk about the funky Christmas cookies for many years to come.  My youngest son still talks about the year that I sprinkled nutmeg all over the turkey instead of poultry seasoning because I was in a hurry and grabbed the wrong thing out of the cabinet.  I freaked out thinking the turkey would be awful, but it turned out to be one the best ones I ever made.  And he will always remember that.

Change can be a very scary thing for some people.  It can be a terrifying thing for us Type A people.  And even though I’m not on the extreme side of the Type A spectrum, I do know that I have tendencies to go overboard sometimes.  I like to think that our funky psychedelic Christmas cookies helped me overcome a great obstacle in life.  I hope that I can approach all future cooking/baking dilemmas where I’ve forgotten a seemingly crucial ingredient with a different attitude.  One with hope and optimism instead of profanities spewing and nausea inducing stress.  Perhaps it’ll even spill over to different areas of my life as well.

I’ve just got to keep reminding myself that it’s the little things in life that mean so much.  Especially the unexpected ones.

I have to thank my Mountain Man for pointing this out to me and reminding me that this would be something wonderful to write about.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.

What Is This World Coming To?

How many of you have seen this Christmas commercial?

Or this one?

Or how ’bout this one?

This one’s just terrible, awful!!!  I think it repulses me the most out of all the Best Buy Christmas commercials this year.  The Mom in this commercial is practically threatening to kick poor Santa off the roof!

What in the name of Kris Kringle is going on with the world today?  When did it become acceptable to mock Santa Claus?    How on earth did we, as a society, get to this sad and pitiful state of taunting Santa when he’s bringing us toys and goodies?  When did this become ok?  I’m just totally confused and outraged by this whole ugly mess.

I mean, Santa Claus is supposed to be revered and looked upon with wonder and magic and happiness and goodness.  He’s not supposed to be made fun of and mocked and made to look like a fool by bargain hunting, one-upping Moms!  Even though I am one of those bargain hunting Moms, I’m not about to be mean to Santa!  No way!  Nu-uh!  Not me!

How on earth can we expect to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive and well in society if this becomes the new norm for which we perceive the jolly old man who was always so good to all of us when we were little kids?  A man who still makes the season bright and joyous for many of us adults out there who still believe?

And before any of you start thinking I’m discounting Jesus, I just want to say that I am completely aware of the real reason for the season.  But in this little rant of mine, I’m only focusing on what the world is doing to Saint Nick.  What the world has done, for centuries, to Jesus is a whole other topic all together.  Oh, and you don’t need to call the people in the white coats to come haul me away for believing in Santa, either.  I will always and forever believe in Santa.  No matter what!

But, back to my rant.  I’m really bothered by these Best Buy ads.  And I’ve always liked Best Buy.  It really saddens me to think that they are perpetuating this awful behavior towards a man whose only purpose in life is to bring joy to all those who believe in him.  I can’t even to begin to imagine what all the little kids who are watching these tacky and tasteless commercials are thinking.  How can we, as parents, ever expect to be able to use the old “Santa Claus is watching you” threat to enlist good behavior during all the holiday madness after our kids have seen a Mom being mean to him on television?

Oh, don’t judge.  All you parents out there know you’ve uttered these words at least once a season since your kids were old enough to pitch a fit during a shopping trip/holiday party/family get-together/Christmas play/insert your own holiday scenario here.

But beyond the threat of no presents and reindeer poop in stockings, Santa’s supposed to represent all the love and goodness in this sometimes cruel world of ours for our children.  And for some of us adults, too.  Santa makes the season so magical and wonderful and full of delight and merriment.

Surely to goodness this will just be a one time, bad, poor, ugly choice of advertising for Best Buy and we’ll never, ever see any of these disgusting commercials again.

And Santa, if you’re reading my blog, just know that I still believe and if you decide to leave reindeer poop in the stockings of all the good folks over at Best Buy, we’d all understand and not think any less of you.

Not Yet

As I’ve previously stated in the past, I’m a Mountain Girl and I live almost at the tip top of a mountain.  I only make it to town about once a week to pick up supplies, groceries, household items, and of course, beer/liquor/any other form of alcohol that might be tempting me and/or Mountain Man at the time.  So when I went into one of our local Wally World, (Wal*Mart, or for some of you out there, the Wal*Marts,) yesterday to make some prints from our camera and grab some beer, I was practically assaulted with all things Christmas the second I walked in the door!

Red and green decorations hanging everywhere and on everything that could hold them.  Christmas trees decorated in every color scheme imaginable.  Christmas music blaring over the speakers.  Christmas layaway signs displayed throughout the electronics and toy departments.  Christmas candy and specialty holiday packaged foods and beverages on every end cap in the grocery department.  It was everywhere!!!

Now please don’t misunderstand and jump to ugly conclusions about me that involve images of this guy:


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or Mr. Scrooge.


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I happen to love Christmas and everything about it!  Well, except all the commercialism surrounding it.  But wait, I do actually enjoy shopping for gifts for my family and friends, so maybe I do like some of the commercialism.  Hmmmm.  The revelations revealed about oneself in a blog can be kinda funny when you think about it.

Back to my point.  Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.  I love the entire holiday season.  Which should begin with Thanksgiving and end with New Year’s.  And therein lies my problem.  I started seeing Christmas stuff in the stores before Halloween even got here!  And now, it’s in full swing and it’s only November 5th!!!  We, as shoppers, should be able to enjoy each season/holiday individually without being bombarded with merchandise for the upcoming holidays before it’s time.  Right now, there should be fall colors adorning stores, complete with Turkeys, leaves, acorns, and football!!!

I know, I know.  My little rant is not gonna change the way stores have been marketing Christmas since probably before this ol gal was even born, but I hope that there are some readers out there that feel the same way I do.

And again, I repeat:  I’m not the Grinch or Mr. Scrooge!

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