We returned the unwanted gifts to the stores in time for the 30-day return limit.
I packed up the ornaments, took down the artificial tree, vacuumed, undecorated the mantle, and got Jimmy to help me put the Christmas things in the attic. Then I went outdoors and stripped the yard of ornaments.
I signed and stamped my second batch of holiday cards. I had ordered some with the New Year’s theme, knowing I’d never make a Christmas deadline. I bought some Taza chocolates and Effie’s oatcakes, local products to send to friends in Germany and son Eli in Burlington, VT.
This morning, I mailed the cards and packages. New postal clerk in Brookline Village: very friendly and efficient.
I declare Christmas officially done. It’s been a long month.
What will I do differently next year? It was fun having dinner at our house; I would cook again, and perhaps the same meal. But the whole presents scheme must change. Next year, it will be quality over quantity. I ended up returning a lot of the gifts bought for the teenaged Gutermans and giving them cash to buy what they want. In the future, I will (a) not shop at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, which I love and they seem to hate, and (b) buy one special gift, fill the stockings, and give the rest in cash.
I will send holiday cards again. I haven’t done that in years, and I enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about my cousins and childhood family friends and simply write by (private) hand and not via social (and public) media. At my sister Sally’s suggestion, I made a file with all the addresses in it, so that will be streamlined next year. I even added a few names of people I intend to send cards to next year; this year I ran out.
Here’s the New Year’s card photo, taken August 2012:
Also, now that the big push of Christmas is behind me and the choke points of the semester still to come, I am going to attempt to blog much more frequently, even if most of the offerings are slight. The accumulation of a lot of small gestures may add up.
It’s a new year and time for new experiments.