Saturday, December 17, 2011

First days of Christmas: Gingerbread zombies, awkward Christmas cards, and a little anxiety too!

All month I planned on hosting "The Twelve Days of Christmas" on ye olde blog, similar to the posts I did celebrating Halloween in October.  I planned to start on December 14th. Ironically, Christmas got in the way. Just as I predicted earlier in the month, the Christmas rush snuck up on me and this week was a bit of a blur. Between holiday orders in the shop, wrapping gifts, baking treats, and mailing packages back home I felt like one of those hamsters you see in a wheel who started off jogging but now is just spinning panicked and pinned to one side waiting for it to slow back down so they can wander over to the water bottle and get sick in peace. Before I knew it, it was already December 16th.

And so instead of the first day of Christmas, I present you with the first three days of Christmas!

The first day of Christmas: Cookies!
This is fitting, because cookies are what kept me from writing about--yes--cookies on Wednesday. I love baking, and let's face it Christmas is like the Superbowl of baking. Wednesday I baked six batches of chocolate chip cookies, two oatmeal raisin batches, one of peanut butter blossoms, and a truckload of frosted sugar Santas, snowmen, and snowflakes. Our Aunt Joanie sent me a cookie press for my birthday and I put it to good use. I felt a bit like a cowboy administering delicious justice as I fired off several dozen spritz biscuits. Here are some of the cookies I love to bake this time of year.

I make laser sounds when I use the cookie press.
These are my Nana Dee Dee's special coconut Santa cookies.
These cookies have given me a LOT of respect for 1950s wives
and all they went through in the name of tastiness.
This photo was taken last year. Yes, that clock is 1:06am.
Coconut Santas are serious business.
Nana Dee Dee's box of Santa Coconut cookie supplies.
I love sending her these in the mail. I make sure to pick out the best
ones for her, since I've got to honor the ones she used to make.
Coconut Santa instructions from the early 1950s.
The best line on this page instructs that the frosting
"mustache flips up as a foxy gentleman's should."
Nana's notes.
The cookies we left for Santa last year. Ryan swears
up and down he didn't eat any of them, so logically it must have been Santa.
Gingerbread Zombies, my Christmas 2009 holiday treat!
The best part is tearing off their wee limbs before baking.
Raisin brain and a cinnamon heart.

For the second day of Christmas: Cards! I love Christmas cards. Typically I have created a holiday painting and printed my own, but this year as you know Ryan and I did something special.

Yes, this is happening.
I love receiving Christmas cards, almost as much as I love to send them out. There is something sweet and simple about a mailbox full of hellos. I think it's one of the nicest traditions of the holidays. We hang ours over a simple string of fishing line on our wall in the living room.

And the third day of Christmas: Anxiety!

There is a lot to do in December, it can get overwhelming. This is the first year I have added running a small business to the holiday hullabaloo and it has gone better than I even dreamed. My Etsy orders have been pouring in, I've now sold over forty five prints in two weeks! (Thank you SO much everyone!) A lot of deep breaths have gotten me through readying so many prints and packages. It's a task where you can't afford to rush any steps, it's a lot of patience and gentle handling. I fire up Youtube play lists and roll up my sleeves to a series of songs that allow me to enjoy the work and calm my spirit. I give thanks that I have the opportunity to earn a living doing what I love, and the holiday rush has seen me happier than I have been at any other job at Christmastime.

The past three days I have felt like an actual octopus (as opposed to a pseudooctopus?) My arms have been moving in all directions at all times, readying prints, sealing envelopes, baking cookies, wrapping presents, and packing boxes.

I was handling it well until Thursday night. I found myself sitting adrift in a sea of wrapping paper, covered in tape just as I had foreseen (I should never be allowed to use tape. Or glue. Or markers...). I was wrestling with tissue paper and wiping stray glitter from my eyes (...or glitter). Over the course of a couple of hours I had managed to barricade myself behind a fort of flat rate postal boxes filled with cookies for family and Etsy orders for customers. Within my cardboard fortress I should have felt invulnerable, but that stressful holiday taunt had begun to ring in my ears to the tune of Carol of the Bells.

"Oh my God, oh my God, what have you done, where is the pen, don't touch the tape, what time is it, will I be done, I won't be done, don't touch the tape, I touched the tape, cookies for Dad, cookies for Mom. One seems to fear, deadlines are near, where is the pen, stuck to tape again, oh how it pounds, what is that sound, no not more bells, so sick of bells, here is the pen, taped to my arm, freaking out cause Christmas is here...."

The business part was easy until Christmas presents, cookie plates, and holiday cards fell into the mix. I let my chin drop into my hand. Just then Ryan called, "What's your Mom's post office box number again?"

I told him and then asked "Why?"

"I figured I could address all the Christmas card envelopes, if you're busy getting those boxes ready." He said. I knew again I married well.

In a sick way I kind of enjoy the anxiety that comes with the holidays. The contrast of the hectic days adds to the silent stillness of late Christmas Eve, and the clear dawn peace of Christmas morning. And the rushing around is in the effort of surprising loved ones with special treats and (hopefully) treasured gifts, you can't dash about for a nicer reason really.

And so that's my first three days of Christmas! Tomorrow I will post about "Critical Refrigerator Snowman". It's late and Ryan just put 'It's A Wonderful Life' on, so if you'll excuse me I'm have a lot of happy sobbing to do!

(Remember when he didn't deliver the poison pills? And his boss cried in gratitude because he saved him from being ruined? ...He knew he was sad, he saw the telegram. I'm tearing up already).

1 comment:

  1. As usual - trying to do too much! But, well done getting so many orders and coping in the way you have. Just don't burn out in the process!

    Have a happy time - and look forward to seeing the next few days of Christmas posts too!

    Thanks for your support since we "met" during our respective posting activities during 2011: here's to 2012!

    Best wishes to you both.


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