Christmas Wins and Losses.

I fell victim to one of the classic blunders.  The most famous of which is “never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line,” but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never trust Etsy with the timely distribution of your Christmas Cards.”

The first twenty-nine steps of Christmas Card Creation were the easy ones.

I won’t bore you with the next fifty-one steps of pain and anguish, but it culminated yesterday morning with me in a deeply troubling pit of despair.  A pit in which I had to use my normal, boring, black-inked return address stamp rather than my gold ink pad and the pretty, fancy, customized stamp that I ordered from an artist on Etsy eighteen days ago.

(For which, by the way, after realizing that the Etsy Artist was going to take the full 7 days of her “2 to 7 day” window AND that those 7 days meant business days, I finally paid an extortion fee of $15 to get two-day shipping.  It has now been nine days since it was shipped and my stamp has yet to arrive.)

And so, after my laboriously addressed, stamped, and sealed cards sat on my kitchen table for an extra five days while awaiting their proper return address, I sweated, paced, and put all of my hopes and dreams into the United States Postal Service.  One cannot explain the deep-seated anxiety that can be caused by something as ridiculous as a non-arriving return-address stamp and the resulting last-minute mailing of Christmas Cards, but it exists, people – it exists.

So at this point, I know that I should bring it all around with an uplifting message about how I realized that fancy return address stamps are not what Christmas is all about as Schroeder plays the piano softly in the background of my monologue, but my heart still fills with angst every time I think about That Stamp that now has no purpose in my life (I’ve pondered having a baby just for the opportunity to send out birth announcements,) so perhaps that sentiment wouldn’t be so genuine at this particular moment.

Instead, I’ve decided to document this year’s Christmas Wins and Losses in a weak attempt to make myself feel better about the strenuous pressures that unfortunately is an American Christmas.

(On that note, I’m considering moving to Madagascar before next Christmas.  Surely I won’t be fretting about return address stamps there, right?  I hope not, since my super-special one would no longer be accurate.)

WIN:  Pretty addressing.  I decided to try my hand at creating my own handwriting “fonts.”  There was something extraordinarily therapeutic about the practice of actually writing for a change.

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(Of course I didn’t really mail a card to the Claus Family – but I assumed that none of my real recipients wanted their address posted here.)

WIN:  Finding a fun stamp at Michael’s to dress up the boring white envelopes.

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LOSS:  The aforementioned Etsy Debacle.  There’s always next year.  Unless I move to Madagascar.

LOSS:  Gift-Buying.  You know those last few people on your list for which you have no ideas?  They drove me insane this year, and some are still outstanding.  I am thirty-one years old and am completely out of original ideas.

WIN: Making a last-minute decision to take on holiday baking with Ali, thereby giving me something to give to some of those distressingly hard to buy for people.

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Christmas Baking

LOSS:  Forgetting that I also have a two-year-old.  A two-year-old that has recently discovered the joys of continuously repeating, “PLAY, Mommy!  Let’s go!  Play Mommy!  This way!”

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WIN:  My mother coming over to play with Noah while Ali and I baked.

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We managed to bake four treats together:  Deep Dark Fudgy Cookies, Soft Butter Mints, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge, and Oreo Truffles (aka Johnny Macs.)

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LOSS: Kitchen Cleanliness.  If you ever see a blogger’s photos of their kitchen while making sweets and it’s not completely ravaged, they’re lying to you.

Messy Kitchen

LOSS:  Pretty wrapping paper.  I set the bar too high last year and have no motivation to compete with myself.  Because I am thirty-one years old and out of original ideas.

WIN: Gift Labels.  Ali and I made this super simple sign the other day using thumbprints and sharpies,

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which led to the idea of using the same technique for labels (and allowing Ali to practice her new favorite hobby, “fancy writing”):

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LOSS:  We might have made the labels, but that present is totally staged.  I haven’t wrapped yet.

What were your Christmas wins and losses this year?