Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday headaches

For the most part I have loads of holiday spirit. Really. Our house has been decorated, presents bought, many of them wrapped. But let's face it, it wouldn't be the holidays without some stress.

The tree issue was the first hurdle. We haven't had one since we hosted Christmas the December before Scooter was born. That year we opted for a real tree over fake, because we did a bunch of research and were squicked out by the lead content and PVC of artificial trees, especially with a baby on the way. I've glossed over the issue every year since then, as we've always traveled to my in-laws. (They have an artificial tree, but I try to stay calm and just make sure we wash our hands after touching it.)

Even though we visit the in-laws regularly, it seemed like a good year to revisit the issue since we're in our house and I even knew where the box of decorations were. I had thought that there were a couple companies with fake trees that no longer contained any lead--at least that's what they said when I looked last year--and I reasoned that a plastic tree we would keep for many, many years would be an acceptable environmental impact, but the lead-free designation had been removed everywhere I looked.

So we have a modest-sized fir tree, fully decorated. Quite festive, really. Enough so that my guilt is mostly tamped down.

In time for the next headache...

So my in-laws' retirement is pretty much in stocks, including some companies that have been hit particularly hard this year. It is not as dire a situation as many that I've read about, but they definitely need to be scaling back. Add to this the fact that Scooter always ends up with much more than we plan for the holidays, and Trillian and I have been trying to moderate things. I volunteered to handle stockings this year, mostly so that I could focus on useful and reusable items instead of random plastic knick-knacks (not to mention tons of sugary candy, which is not good for anyone in the family, especially the diabetic). And since our immediate family took a trip that included a stop at a Lego Store, the plan was that we would pick up items Scooter wanted and various family members could reimburse us. This meant we could focus on items that Scooter really wanted and control their vast number.

Except that my mother-in-law sent an email earlier this week with a list of all the things she had picked up that day. A couple were non-Lego items Scooter wanted, but most were extra things--and she had even picked out things for other family members to give him. Really truly, we're looking at almost double the gifts we had thought would be coming from this side of the family.

A little quick work on my part, and I've been able to match up items with my family. Saves them the shipping. One sister already had something for Scooter, but she's going to hold it back for his birthday. My mother actually had in mind one of the Legos we have here, so she was happy to lay claim to it.

Trillian and I will be holding back an item we managed to get via our credit card rewards program. It's a bit annoying since we're looking forward to how much Scooter (and we) will enjoy it. But since he has no idea it's coming, it's the easiest thing to hold back until March.

So, despite some lingering frustration, that problem is solved too. So now I can worry about the next one...

Since my in-laws will be out of town until a couple days before the holidays, we'll be responsible for picking up a family member from the airport in Big City. There are a number of logistical issues here. I have a doctor's appointment in Capital City up until we're supposed to pick her up (but it was the earliest I could get in to see the endocrinologist, who will most likely tell me that my thyroid looks fine and she can't explain the increased hair loss, but that's not a holiday headache, just a normal one). So she'll already have to wait. And then we'll probably need to have the dog with us since we'll be gone a minimum of 6 hours, probably longer. And our vehicle can't accommodate everyone comfortably with the dog added. So I have a week to find a petsitter I like and get the dog comfortable with her.

And I'm not even going to think about entertaining Scooter while he's out of school for two weeks.

1 comment:

Team Serrins Springfield said...

I hear you on everything. I find the holidays to be a fantastic and tiring (if not stressful) time. We also go to my in-laws for over a week. This year we decided to skip a tree ourselves because 1. the baby would likely pull it down on herself and 2. we won't be here and 3. to save money. But they always have an artificial tree so like you said, we should try to keep the kids away from it. And we suffer from the same economy-related stocks and bonds scaling back and people getting the kids more stuff than they need or want. I guess I'm rambling but I concur with everything you have to say!