Divide & Conquer, Homemade Gifts, and Lego Jesus

   Written by on December 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

By Management

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere but here,” is the song I’ve been singing to myself for several days now.  The fact that I still have Halloween decorations placed hither and yon around the house doesn’t help matters much either, especially when I had set myself management-susan jonesmanagement-susan jonesa goal of having my Christmas decorations up by Halloween.  I rarely decorate for Halloween—possibly a few well-placed pumpkins and table decorations that serve dual purpose for Thanksgiving, but nothing more than that. Being a grandmother of boys has changed my perspective, however. If it’s ghoulish and scary, then it’s a decoration—the creepier the better. So I find myself sighing heavily as I look at the decomposing jack-o-lantern on our back steps and squishy eyeballs still stuck to the sliding glass doors and wonder if I sprinkled them with glitter if it would make them more festive.

I really cannot blame my belatedness on anyone but myself. After all, Christmas comes the same time every year, but being a grandmother adds one more reason for my destructions, I mean distractions. In an effort to divide and conquer, I offered to keep one of the grandbrats this weekend. I would take the older one who could help me decorate for Christmas and my daughter would keep the younger who would listen better without an older sibling to instigate.  It was a great plan. One on one attention for the oldest and one on one for the younger—the baby doesn’t even come into play yet! It was a great plan to get nothing done.  My plan of stringing lights, decorating the tree and baking cookies deteriorated into a nature hike, raking leaves, roasting marshmallows and still looking at my creepy Halloween decorations.

There’s also that stack of random supplies in the corner for my homemade Christmas presents. I just love visiting one particular store that offers all sorts of scented soaps and body lotions. I don’t love the price tag on A bar of soap. Call me cheap—I prefer thrifty—but spending five times the price of a regular bar of soap doesn’t make me any cleaner. My sweet daughter came up with the great idea of making our own soaps and body scrubs. I could buy all the ingredients and make some for us and some for Christmas presents and save a LOT of money. She got my attention.  So far I’ve spent a small fortune for supplies and haven’t seen the first batch made. Possibly some of the problem has to do with the divide and conquer distraction thing, but I’m beginning to think this project is turning out like our homemade spaghetti sauce we made this summer.  After swimming in tomatoes for several weeks my sweet mother suggested I make spaghetti sauce so I wouldn’t let the tomatoes go to waste. In a rare Susie Homemaker moment I thought that was a great idea. Fourteen hours and four quarts later I called my Mom and asked her what was it about dollar cans of spaghetti sauce we didn’t like?

It’s moments like these that make me thankful for that dizzying outside job I have. It makes me feel like I actually do get something accomplished. I begin each day with a truck full of Christmas presents and get to be Santa’s helper all day. On the surface it sounds like a cool job—the kind where we get to sit and eat lunch with our customer’s children and deliver cute little battery-operated cars to make their wishes come true. Behind the scenes, well, there’s just no glory in getting stuck in driveways, tearing down Christmas lights strung across the drive that weren’t there yesterday, or being bitten by the dog the kids let out of the house. But that doesn’t make a good commercial.

In the end, it will all come together. It always does. That’s the beauty of Christmas. Those Christmas gifts will get made, or bought. The tree will be decorated—I found a pop-up one that will do quite nicely! The cookies may or may not get baked—we didn’t need the extra calories anyway and we will enjoy spending time with our family and friends. We will share the Christmas story with the grandbrats and bring out their favorite Nativity scene. It’s missing a few key pieces, but a baby built with Legos for the manger will have to do.

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