December 21

After two or three years of sitting on this idea and a bag full of holiday fabric from Ann, I finally got around to starting our family's reusable holiday gift bags. This represents an attempt to reduce the amount of wrapping paper we use for the gifts we give to each other, at least within our own household. I'm making various sizes, and they'll all have drawstring handles, like garbage bags, where you pull the loops and then tie them at the top. Again tonight, I found myself wanting to curse at my buttonholer (why can't I EVER get a buttonhole right the first time?!), but then I figured out what I was doing wrong and went on about my task. I finished this first bag, and as I was tying the bow at the top, feeling very proud of myself, I suddenly realized the flaw in my plan. Children of a certain age can untie bows, look inside bags, and tie them back again. Must think on this. Maybe the presents won't be going out until Christmas Eve. A friend of mine, whom I was telling about my conundrum, said she was getting a mental picture of a bunch of bags under our tree with combination locks on them.

The bag has this much desired present inside it, a set of cookware for Kent's play kitchen. Note: this *is* what he wants for Christmas. A couple of months ago, he was "cooking" for me, and he was suddenly very dismayed that he didn't have a pan to cook pancakes in. It was the perfect opportunity to talk with him about Christmas gifts, so "a pan for making pancakes" has been what he's been focused on anytime someone asks him what he wants for Christmas, including Santa.

I finally put out the holiday table today. I've been changing our table seasonally for the past year or so, and it took me a while this year to get the pumpkins and fall leaves off the table and get the Christmas stuff on it. But here it is, in all its non-specific religiosity: the Nativity set, the glitter pine cone, the cinnamon Christmas tree ornament, and not pictured are the red candle and the snowman music globe. It reminds me a little of a holiday episode of Frasier in which Niles was describing the pluralistic holiday play he was participating in; the big finale was Santa and the Three Wise Men linking arms and singing "Frosty the Snowman".

Kent is really precious when he's learning about Baby Jesus, his mommy and daddy, and the Wise Mens, as he calls them. (Unfortunately, our nativity set doesn't have any shepherds, but we'll get around to them, too.) I've been teaching him a few Christmas carols, starting with "Jingle Bells" — his favorite, because he gets to yell "HEY!" — and moving into the ones we'll probably sing at church on Christmas Eve. Gotta keep a 2.5-year-old interested somehow, though to his credit, he generally does a wonderful job of sitting quietly through most/all of our Sunday church service. I think he'll enjoy Lessons and Carols even more if he actually knows the carols. Since the lyrics of some of the songs are pretty difficult for him to grasp, I was telling him that "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is about Baby Jesus being born and everyone being so excited to come visit the new baby, so he now refers to it as "The Baby Song". Chuckle. There are a lot of baby songs.

Also, since he keeps singing "Happy Birthday" to one or both of his amused parents when we light the candle on our table, I told him that he could sing "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus" instead, and that's some funny stuff.

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As a kid who opened more than one gift-wrapped box, and made a real bad attempt to cover my tracks, how about a wax seal on the center of the bow?

The word today is 'ablest.'
Both Jack and Anilia were veterans of subterfuge with repackaging...my vote is for not placing them out til midnight...and then at 12:01 they will both get up and open their presents. Unless you find some very sneaky locks!!!!
Nothing comes out until Christmas Morning around here. After the disasters of the Advent calenders with chocolates, I'm not even tempted. One friend of mine has a basket of Christmas books underneath their tree for the kids to read during the season. That sounds like a nice idea.

Love the bags!

(And Marlowe is getting the same pots and pans. heehee)
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