They got to me. Those rotten, stinking magazine covers finally got to me.
This December, as I pulled out old Enrichment Night crafts and homemade ornaments to deck my little hall, I found myself wanting to break out of my tacky standard of decor (i.e., this…)
and shoot for something more along the lines of, say, this…
I looked around my living room bathed in mismatched, garish red-and-green garb and realized that my holiday decor was approximately two decades out of style (which is quite an accomplishment, considering that I haven’t even owned my own home half that long.) I found myself suddenly wanting Christmas to be about all the things it’s not supposed to be about: money, nice things, slick appearances. I began yearning for a sleek, department-store styled silver and gold theme; understated yet elegant, dignified yet festive, untouched by sticky hands and preschool-produced glitterglue wall hangings “for Mom.” I’d like to say that I tempered my materialistic desires through my own self-control and character, but the thing that really halted it was my pocketbook. Short of Oprah arriving on my doorstep, a Christmas Miracle Home Makeover was not happening this year.
So I decided to turn my holiday aspirations to something far more attainable: having fun. I’m happy to say that I met and exceeded this goal, and did it all without the help of Martha Stewart Living. A few highlights:
  • Wavy Lays potato chips dipped in chocolate fondue. What a happy accident. Two great tastes that coagulate-on-your-thighs-together.
  • Scoring positive feedback on the Slurpee giftcards I gave to my nieces and nephews. Who says money (and junk food) can’t buy affection?
  • Setting a new world record on pounds of sugar and fat consumed in a single day by a woman my height and (now increased) weight. It shouldn’t feel this good to plump up, but somehow it does.
  • Beating my sisters in trivial pursuit (Dad was my teammate–need I say more?)
  • Beating my sisters in cards (Mom was my teammate–dig into her past for more info on her cardsharkiness.)
  • Our first ever fake tree. Definitely not our last. Convenience trumps sentimentality yet again. And I can’t even pretend to be sad about it.
  • Ice skating with the the ward, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks with the kids, cooking and baking with the women, a Christmas Eve program with the whole family, staying up late to watch Julie and Julia with my sister who I never get to see, post-Christmas shopping for eight hours while Grandpa-the-Saint watched all the kids, staying up too late, sleeping in too late, and waking up to brilliant new snow. It’s amazing how much kinder each morning looks when it doesn’t start until ten a.m. I spent the better part of a week:
  • Too lazy to exercise.
  • Too lazy to clean my house.
  • Too lazy to blog.
  • Too lazy to eat a vegetable.
  • In elasticized waistbands for the majority of the day and night (yes, Virginia, you can wear pajama bottoms to the grocery store…)
  • Soaking up my family
  • Soaking up the season
We are a lucky, lucky crew to have one another.  Here’s some visual proof (and please forgive my spacing errors; my computer’s buggy tonight.)

The thrill of opening (yet another) lightsaber.
And thanks for the cute jammies, Grandma Laura.

This interchangeable purse was a big hit for my Mom. Have any of
you seen these? They are supercool. (And doesn’t my mom look cute?)

Is Christmas Day really this painful for men? Really, guys?

Cute fam! As you can see, Makenzie’s my spunky middlechild kindred spirit
(remember what I told you, Kenz…it’s compliment when they say you’re like me…)

Our gift from Grandma and Grandpa S. was to dogsit Abby for four weeks.
(Yeah, Merry Christmas to
you, too.)
Grandpa’s just the best. Especially at Christmastime.  He broke from tradition and started
his shopping a full 48 hours before Christmas Eve.  The stores didn’t know what to do when
they saw Rod Christensen coming in so early. I’m sure some kind of door prize was involved.
And then there’s Frank.  I feel a certain kinship with him this year.
Let Martha Stewart have her designer Christmas.

Long Live Festivus!

14 thoughts on “Festivus for the Restivus

  1. I don't believe you. I don't believe "Alvin and the Chipmunks" was a highlight. And is that a Kirsten doll in Rachael's arms? I am so jealous. Mary was supposed to receive that from Santa this year, but they weren't going to be shipped out until May. I am so relieved to hear that you, like me, did not do a lick of exercise or nutritious eating over the holidays. I like to know that my marathon mentor has weaknesses too. Your Christmas looks like it was so fun! Let's call soon!

  2. Jaim, remember Dad and I won the very fist game of Triv, then Mom and I won the first game of marbles? As for the dozens of games after that, I can't seem to remember. 🙂

    Why do you always have to rat me out on my blog? Next thing you know, my readers may find out that my life's not as interesting and glamorous as I've tried to display here…

    I miss you already!

  3. Sarah, it's my mom's house. And are we in a time warp up here? You have NO idea (including shopping, restaurants, fashion…) And I don't believe you have anything less than a Pottery Barn Christmas motif going on at your house. C'mon…'fess up!

    And I had just assumed that you named your sweet little boy after George Castanza. Was I wrong? 🙂

  4. Somehow I don't recall losing at cards OR Trivial Pursuit. But I was on a "sugar and pop hangover" most of the time, so it could be true. Christmas really was sweet and I've decided it's just not Christmas without a certain amount of tackiness. Long live glitter glue and felt!

  5. Oh, and this may sound completely clueless, but your "festivus" reference was my first realization that my son shares his name with George Castanza. Sweet.

  6. First of all, Whose cute house is that? Is it yours?

    Second, I love seeing all of your family together. And Doug, I did not recgonize him at first. But Julie and Jaimy, I got them. Everyone looks great! Your mom and dad look as young as they did 23 years ago. Are you all living in a time warp up there?

    Third, I totally feel your Christmas decor dilemma. I'd love to have more sophisticated Christmas ornaments, etc, but I also like the hominess of the knick-knacks the kids bring home from school. And expect you to keep forever, of course.

    Love it when you blog.

  7. Lots of fun Jen. Christmas at your inlaws is painful for us guys. I am doing a presentation at BYU Idaho for a creative non ficition class and I am discussing people like sloan crossley and david sedaris and elna baker, and I would like to read them your blog entry about mulan. Is that ok? I would love to have as many LDS writers as possible.

  8. I'm sure the guys in the picture are just contemplating the true meaning of Christmas or what wonderful thing they can do for their wives on Mother's Day. I know I was.

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