Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white (elephant) Christmas

Last night was our Christmas shindig, and I spent the greater part of the morning fighting off a migraine and waiting for esposo to get home and help me clean up the house. He finally got here around 11:00, we had lunch, and then went to get our Christmas tree around 2:00. I had seen a sign around the corner from our house for a tree farm, where you pick your own and they cut it for you, so esposo called the number and got directions to the place. Supposedly it was "just outside" Grecia, but we spent a good 45 minutes being lost, driving back down the road(s) from whence we came, and asking for directions. We finally spotted another sign for a different tree farm, and said, screw it, let's try that one, and I'm so glad we did. Most of the large trees were gone, but there was one tree they were holding for someone who had never come back to get it (kind of like my hopefully-new car? that story later), so we took a look at it, and yes, it was the perfect tree. $16 and some rope later, the tree was tied to the top of my little Haunted Hyundai and we were headed back home.

Once we got the tree in a pot (I have not been able to find our tree stand since we moved house about two houses ago; perhaps I should just break down and buy a new one?), it was my job to decorate it while esposo cleaned up and started putting out plates of food. Oh, did I mention we finally got home around 3:00? And the first guests were going to show up around 5:00? Yeah. Anyway, I got out the strings of lights and realized that out of four strings only one worked. Argh! So I took some other decorative lights (snowmen and candies) and threw them on the tree, along with a string of lights that looks like roses. It's weird. I admit it. But the tree was so big, I could neither get behind it nor all the way to the top of it. (It touches the ceilings, and I think we have 10-foot ceilings in this house. In fact, it is the biggest tree I've ever had, including when I was growing up. As we were wedging it in the front door, the thought did cross my mind that perhaps we had made a mistake in picking out this particular tree. But the show must go on.) So then I wrapped the tree in ribbon, and put on our few ornaments (which looked like so many on a smaller tree, but sort of got lost on this one), and that was that. The big problem was how to get the angel on top of the tree, because we don't have a ladder (never had a need for one), and a chair was not going to even come close to doing it. So I put her above the curtains over the sliding doors, which looked nice, but not as nice as on top of the tree. D. and M. arrived later (they are both extremely tall people, my guess is that D. is 6'2" or 3" at least), and D. offered to put the angel up there. M. was not optimistic this would end well. D. tried standing on a chair, using a broom handle, breaking off the top branch to make a stable holding place, but still the angel would not go. At one point, an ornament fell off and M. wondered aloud if it was the angel's head. It wasn't, but then not 2 minutes later, the angel fell and head was severed. Her head in one piece and body in another, all I really need is to find the super glue that I bought the other day, but of course has now gone into hiding, until I buy another tube, at which point it will miraculously emerge. So for the meantime, the angel is sitting here on my desk holding her own head in her hands.

One of the things we always have fun doing is a white elephant gift exchange. We used to have them for Christmas parties at the big huge publishing company I used to work for, and in fact the first one was my idea. After I went back to school and became a temp there, all of the "regular" employees got to have a Christmas party and play the game, but us "temps" were excluded from the fun. The irony was not lost on me. Anyway, the gist is that you bring something you no longer want, wrap it up without your name on the package, and stick it under the tree. Later we draw numbers, and the first person picks a present. The second person can pick a present from under the tree or steal the first person's present, and so on. Last night was definitely book and candleholder night! I think out of eight people, there were at least four candleholders. I gave away a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (because I'd picked up a second, brand-new hardback copy at a garage sale for $1), and esposo gave away two CDs that I can't stand, Alice in Chains and Sepultura. Bleh. M.'s mother (or was it her mother-in-law? I can't recall) ended up with H.P., and K. got esposo's crappy CDs (though he stole them from someone else, so I guess he really wanted them!). C. (whose first language is Spanish but is learning English) kept picking books in English, and then having them stolen. In fact, I think everything he picked was eventually stolen, at least once, including esposo's crappy CDs. I ended up with three books, Memoirs of a Geisha (which I've already read, but never mind), 101 Ways to Avoid Reincarnation (which looks like a silly, quick read), and Natasha and Other Stories. I'm always up for a good read, so I was happy. At least I didn't get a candleholder! Esposo got a piece of Guatemalan artwork that is a weaving (we have one like it already, so they will look nice next to each other), and another piece done by a Costa Rican artists that needs to be framed. Everyone else went home with candleholders. Ha ha...

All in all, it was a very nice night, and a great way to start off the season. The kids had a good time (even E., who was fighting off a virus and vomited all over the floor. Twice.), and of course we have a ton of food and drink left over. I wish you could have been here. Maybe next year...

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