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I’ve seen several blog posts this season about tree skirts, most noticeably people writing that they don’t want to purchase tree skirts.  They use sheets, or extra fabric, or whatever.  Hey, whatever works!  Like they said, it’s mostly going to be covered up by presents, right?

I must admit, though, my first thought upon reading one of these posts was, “Buy a tree skirt?”  Now, you have to remember that I was raised by a woman who has a degree in home economics, so of course, our tree skirt was hand-sewn.  Happily, when Jason and I struck out and formed our own household, Mom had a nice stash of quilting fabric, some of which was both Christmasy (yay!) and music-oriented (double yay!).  I’m not sure if there was begging, eyelash batting, or a simple, “Ooh, I LOVE those fabrics, Mom, and we REALLY need a tree skirt!” involved, but by our first Christmas together, we had our skirt.

I wish I had thought to take it outside to get a good photo when we put the tree up, but (again, happily) said skirt is currently fulfilling its potential and playing host to a pile of presents.  I will get a nice, posed picture of it, but in the meantime, here it is in action, eagerly awaiting the weight of the booty:


So, what’s under your Christmas tree?  A store-bought skirt?  An extra shawl?  A red bed sheet?  A bed of dry pine needles?  Do share!

Nope!

You see, despite the wonderful smell of a fresh evergreen in our home…

Despite the joy inherent in picking up pine needles well into every March…

Despite the annual photo ops involving men man with power tools

The Great Trunk Trimming of 2005

Despite all the fun that comes with buying, hauling, trimming, and cleaning up after a live tree every holiday season, a few years ago, we decided to go faux.  You see, each December, as we headed to the lot to pick out our tree, we experienced a bit of sticker shock, and we finally realized that purchasing a fake tree (which have gotten SO much better looking in recent years) at a post-Christmas sale would pay for itself in one or two years.  That realization was the one that pushed us from the “Real Trees Only!” crowd to the “Ehh, let’s save a tree (and our wallets)” crowd.

Plus, artificial trees are pre-lit.

Pre-lit is great.  It’s slightly less great when you realize you have a strand out, because you can’t just sit down by the outlet and find the problem bulb.  You see, they’re attached.  To the tree.  Which makes it a bit more involved.

Then, when you realize that it’s not just one problem bulb…that you had some kind of surge last year, and it’s pretty nearly every bulb on the tree…well.  Let’s just say, we were happy we had purchased our new “little friend.”

This guy was instrumental in helping us determine which bulbs were no longer functioning (most of them), and determining that it was actually a bulb issue, and not a voltage issue.  Unfortunately, we both had pretty sore fingertips by the end of the day.  Much egg nog (sadly, unspiked) was consumed that afternoon and evening.

And who says there are no good photo ops with artificial trees?

The Great Box Opening of 2009

Busy, that is.

Monday, we finally managed to get the tree up.  Yes!  Christmas spirit has come at last, despite highs of 72 degrees a couple of times this week.  Umm…it’s December, and this is not Florida, California, or Australia.  I don’t expect snow, but usually one at least has to wear a coat in December in Atlanta.  Solstice is on Sunday, and I’m happy to report an expected high of 59 for Solstice Tree Trimming.  Much better!

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The house is getting closer and closer to being ready to list.  The carpet steamers came today, and Mom and Dad came over to help with more organizing and staging. I cannot thank them enough.

School is out, and the winter parties are over.  My only job for Kalen’s yesterday was to show up with a bag of Doritos, but as room parent for Nicky’s class, there was more organization involved in today’s party.  The kids, parents, and teacher were all thrilled, though, so I’m happy.  I think everyone’s favorite part was the Holiday Mad Libs.  I created mad libs out of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed-Reindeer, and they were a hit.  My greatest act of courage came after we’d filled in all the blanks.  Yes, I sang the songs, and while I can hold my own in a choral situation, let’s just say I’m not a soloist.  Keeping to one key is not my strong suit.  It was a blast, though, and the kids enjoyed making reindeer cookies (maraschino cherry noses, pretzel antlers), snowflakes (a la maya*made – just the snowflakes, no sewing machines involved), and cards for their families.

I had asked parents to send in gift cards for the teacher, if they wished, with the intent of doing some sort of creative presentation.  Yeah.  I’d forgotten the whole get-the-house-ready-for-market-while-making-all-your-Christmas-gifts-and-oh-yeah-your-back-is-going-to-go-out-in-the-most-painful-way-possible shebang.  At 3:30 this morning (thank you, steroid injection), I had a brainstorm, and thanks to Mom’s help (four hands are faster than two) at the more reasonable hour of 11:30 am, I was able to give this to Nicky’s fabulous teacher at the party:

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Many thanks to Laughing Purple Goldfish for the inspiration.  The fabric came from a crazy quilt kit I’d bought some time in the 90’s for a Christmas stocking that never came to be.  It was perfect for this project, and the teacher can display it in her classroom or home once she uses the cards (and she assured me she would – she either adores it, or she’s a great actor!).  I am going to have to make one for myself next Christmas.

I’m still plugging away at the Christmas gifties.  FIL’s was finished just a few minutes ago.  The embroidered hankies just need to be ironed, and I can wrap them up.  I have so much left to make, however, that I’m going to be working on them pretty much nonstop up through Christmas Eve.  The satisfaction the handiwork gives me is worth the pressuring deadlines, and I have a few socialities scheduled for the weekend for breaks.  Tonight: Cards and pizza.  Bring it on!

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My boys

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