Christmas Prep

Rob came home for Thanksgiving and it was great. He started one prolonged fight with Paul about the rules to a game and whether a rule had to be explicitly stated or could be implied, but other than that it was just great. He and William stayed up late talking every night (I got up to pee at 3:30 and they were STILL TALKING), and there were lots of computer/math discussions at the kitchen whiteboard, and I sat nearby feeling contented to have all the babies home. Sure was LOUD, though.

It turns out there is a students-only charter bus that goes from Rob’s college, which is 8 hours away, to a stop 40 minutes from our house, and it is one of the best things to ever happen to my life. There is a woman who coordinates the whole thing, and she has a clipboard and you best believe she checks it eleven times to make sure EVERYONE is on that bus before it leaves the school, and on the return trip she sends an email to all the parents to let us know the bus has arrived safely back at the college. And it costs less than gas and meals would cost me if instead I drove to get him.

Anyway, after I dropped him off at the bus, I went home and sipped brandy (doesn’t that sound classy? actually I mixed it with diet Coke and swigged it down fast to avoid tasting it) and started CHRISTMASSING THE HECK OUT OF EVERYTHING. I got out the Christmas dishes and the Christmas CDs and the Christmas lights and the Countdown to Christmas calendars and the Christmas wreaths and it is just everywhere now. I want pretty Christmas lights and I want them EVERYWHERE I TURN.

I ordered our family pictures to put in the Christmas cards, a task I usually put off until the point of agitation and inconvenience. I scheduled a get-together with my friends, and we’re going to do a Yankee Swap and eat all the Christmas treats. I put a big gold bow on a floor lamp. I got out the pine-scented hand soap. Last year I was too sunk in despair for any of this, but this year GURL IT IS ON.

20 thoughts on “Christmas Prep

  1. Beth

    Swistle, are you familiar with a discussion group on Facebook called “Grown and Flown Parents”? It’s for parents of teens, college age and young adults. Lots of recent posts about kids home for Thanksgiving as college freshman – I think you would love it.

  2. Suzanne

    THIS POST MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I love this part of the year! And while I get tremendously sick of decorations in my home and so am holding off on going full out Christmas just yet (maybe I will slowly roll it out over the next few weeks?) I am DELIGHTED to see and read about other people getting all Christmassy.

    Also YAY for a successful Rob visit!!!!

  3. Maggie

    I was getting so much enjoyment from your tweets yesterday! Frequently I’d like to respond to something you’ve said, but my account is private so you’d never know. If you’d like to be twitter friends my handle is SparklnMags.

  4. chrissy

    I enjoyed your thread yesterday as well, but I am also a private twitter person so I never interact with people on it. It reminded me of how sad I was after the election last year, and how I didn’t want to put up anything, but this year Christmas has exploded all over my house, and I am actually thinking of buying more stuff. It helps that we have a new house, new jobs, etc., and life is not as bleak as it was a year ago. Also, during my post-election sadness I bought a very melancholy but lovely Christmas album by Leslie Odom, Jr., and this year when I listen to it I still love it, but it reminds me of how sad things were last year.

    I love all of the décor and I can’t wait to hear about your Yankee Swap party!

  5. Matti

    This brought such a huge smile on my face, both last night on Twitter and again here. And it inspired me. We’re moving the tree to a new location this year so it can be bigger and just YES.

  6. Ann

    Yes, we had our first visit home from my daughter, and it was wonderful! She usually just snipes at her brother, and they actually talked and laughed the whole visit, with very minimal sarcasm. She came on a plane, and found someone to split an Uber with to the airport, which was wonderful. However, even though I know Uber prices change based on demand, the difference in price was insane! On her way home, it was $36 total, but on the way back to school (Sunday of the holiday weekend, duh, I guess) it was $112! Doesn’t that seem like price gouging? It’s in LA, so I’m leary of sending her on public transportation in such a big city, when she’s not a “street smart” type kid, but goodness, that’s a lot of money for a 45 minute ride.

    Also, I am having a knee replacement on December 14th (yes, I’m doing it – thanks everyone for your advice), so I am on a mission to get everything ready for Christmas early. So far, I’m on track – 95% of the gifts done and wrapped (not my usual style at all!), house decorated (still working on the cleaning), candy making/treat making supplies stocked up on, planned get-togethers with friends before the surgery – feeling festive! It’s almost like nesting before a baby comes, haha.

    1. sooboo

      I live in LA too and I often take the Flyaway bus to LAX. It’s a nice, clean coach with no weirdos and it costs 9-10 bucks one way. There are several pick up points but they are all non stop to the airport. It leaves on the 1/2 hour. Easy and safe.

  7. Anna

    Gurl, I LOVE your attitude. I’m pregnant with my second (due Jan 1, no kidding), so I plan to roll out Christmas gradually over the next couple of weeks in order to maximize enjoyment. It’s a nice low-impact activity under the circumstances. Started a couple of weeks ago with some white lights (Solstice lights, people, those are staying up until it’s light outside again), next weekend I think it’s the Tree and some gift wrapping, then gingerbread and more gift wrapping. I’ll have to wait on the champagne, though.

  8. Alice

    This post made me happy! we put up our tree this weekend since Juliette is very into lights right now and figured she’d like it, but we discovered that our Brand New Tree (just splurged on last year) only managed to survive the offseason with about 40% of the lights still functioning, so my first xmas decorating attempt went a bit grinchwards.

  9. Maureen

    Good for you, Swistle! I am going to enjoy my Thanksgiving decorations one more day, and then break out the Christmas. Also coincides with a warming of the weather, so I won’t freeze dragging stuff out of the shed. I need to talk my husband into buying our tree next week-I love having the Christmas tree up. We have a 7 month old puppy-I hope the tree survives him! Might leave off the vintage ornaments this year, just in case.

  10. Gigi

    I LOVED your tweets – especially this one: Paul: “It’s not even December.” Swistle: *maintaining eye contact while switching on more Christmas lights.*

    And isn’t it awesome when all your loves are gathered at home – where they belong? (We shall not yet consider the day when they belong somewhere else-no, I’m not ready for that yet) And those shuttles? Awesome. Although mine was only two hours away – but the few times he utilized that shuttle was sooo worth it.

  11. P-Mum

    A bus?? A charter bus??? I spent almost 11 hrs driving her back, and then immediately turning around to return. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a bus!! I think mine is one of only 3 students at her college from our entire state, so not really holding my breathe, but… score for you!

  12. Allison

    The thought of having to do a Thanksgiving so close to Christmas makes me want to weep in sympathetic exhaustion, so GO YOU. I am so happy about the college bus. I have started bringing up Christmas decoration boxes because I usually wait until December first, and then of course I miss December first, and before I know it it’s a GET THE FUCKING DECORATIONS OUT panic at the disco and everything sucks. (Sorry, are we allowed to swear here?) Also, thanks for the reminder to start looking at pictures for cards.

  13. rlbelle

    I am so with you in Christmas spirit! My work contract did not get renewed for next year (I’ve been 6 years as an independent contractor and did the same work as an employee for the same company for 9 years before that), and I’ve been anxious and mopey ever since I found out about three months ago. But while it is definitely a financial hit, we have decided that I won’t even think about looking for something else until the holidays are over. And let me tell you, everything about not having to work over the holidays or on vacation – NO DEADLINES for the first time in 15 years! – is filling me with glee.

    Thanksgiving was ho-hum, and then suddenly, today, the older kid went back to school and the younger and I went shopping all day and listened to Christmas music in the car (I even kept listening to it on my phone during my workout this morning), and I actually got that little throat lump of joy, I was so happy. My shopping is almost done (end of the week is my goal), and I’m planning our advent calendar activities, and we’re doing cookie decorating Wednesday, and I am really, really excited for the holiday season. And that’s WITH the added anxiety of family drama looming over our Christmas Eve celebration. This is very unlike me, and I don’t know how long it will last, but I am planning to enjoy every minute of my good holiday mood for a change.


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