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On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… well, I don’t know yet. It’s still a bit early for me, since all I’ve had time to do yet is sleep in until I missed even the noon Mass (don’t worry – I have two 6pm Masses to choose from), talk a little with various siblings, and make myself tea and oatmeal for breakfast/first meal of the day.  (I may yet add a cheese omelet for the protein, but we’ll see.)  So I could write a blog post about how I received the gift of siblings, nourishment, and living in an area that is so Catholic I have an abundance of Sunday Mass options to choose from.  It would probably even be a pretty good post.  But on the Fourth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a lovely assortment of things, and I’d rather write about that.

You see, yesterday was our Family Gift Giving Day, which traditionally in my family is not Christmas Day, but a convenient day between Christmas and New Year’s, preferably nearer the latter if possible.  Long ago, my parents decided that they wanted to celebrate the Christmas Season the Old School way, in which Christmas goes from midnight on Christmas Eve until Epiphany (January 6), not from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day.  So my family doesn’t decorate or start celebrating until Christmas Eve, but then keeps the celebration going into the New Year.  At one point my parents tried to make us wait until Epiphany for our presents, but then that resulted in sad children going back to school with no answer to give the universal question: “So what did you get for Christmas?”  So instead we pick a day sometime after Christmas, and do all our presents then.  (This has the added bonus of being able to take advantage of the after Christmas sales for your Christmas presents, though that doesn’t help much when you’re stubbornly determined to make all your presents.)  It’s an all day thing, which usually also includes going to see a movie all together, and pizza.

I was explaining to a friend that, for a crafter, Christmas is like the championship tournament of making things.  It’s all the tension, drama, blood, sweat and tears of the post-season playoffs, except what you’re really competing against is your own skills or lack thereof, the clock, and possibly whatever loose screw in your head is making you cling so stubbornly to the notion that the only real presents (note: only if you are the one giving them) are handmade ones.

And, well, I think I did pretty well this year.  Everyone got a present, most of them were handmade (though one person did get the kit for the mittens I’m going to eventually make for her instead of the mittens themselves), and they were all done on time.  I was up most of the night Friday night finishing things.  I’d work until I was falling asleep over my needle, then nap a little, then wake up and sew some more.  And in the morning I didn’t have time to take pictures before I wrapped things.  But Fleur loved her doll clothes – the black velvet dress with white rose trim around the neckline and white lace underskirt were the last thing I finished,  and AnniPotts loved the wool felt slippers with her initials embroidered on the toes.  So I think it was worth it.

My main fail was that I wasn’t able to finish the baby’s presents.  I planned on making them little jackets from cashmere coat shells my grandmother had saved, so it could be sortof a generational present, not only from me, but from their great-grandmother, and from Aunt C, who saved the coat shells for years after Grandma died before passing them on to me.  The pattern is super simple to sew, I just haven’t gotten to getting them cut out yet.  But hopefully that will happen today or tomorrow, and I’ll be able to give them as Epiphany presents instead.

I still have a few gifts to give.  Extended Family Presents are going to be on New Year’s Day.  I’m still plugging away on the sweater vest for Uncle S, though I long ago realized there was no way it would be completely done in time.  However, one thing the holidays are good for is lots of knitting time, so I’ve gotten farther than I thought.  So we might still have a chance.  The Duchess and 007 didn’t come to Dayton for Christmas (they’re supposed to arrive today I think), so they haven’t gotten their presents yet either.  And while the presents for Big Brother and his family have been sent off, I don’t they’ve arrived yet.  I’m very excited about one of the presents I sent, but I’ll have to wait until they get it before I post pictures.

The star of our Family Gift Giving Day was (of course) Sweet Pea.  She still hasn’t quite grasped the idea of unwrapping presents – paper is much more interesting to her when it’s all shiny and still on the box.  Tearing it off doesn’t do much for her.  But she knows what she likes, and when the box includes several canisters of her favorite baby cereal puffs, she gets very, very excited.  There is bouncing involved, sometimes rather high pitched warbling noises, and (a new addition to her vocal repertoire) now growling.  We might think Sae and Mr. T were actually raising a bear cub, if she didn’t still look so much like the Gerber baby.  Her fascination with all things orange in general, and clementines in particular continues.  She spent quite a long time playing on the couch with some clementine peels, clapping them together (clapping is a new skill), and concentrating quite hard as she pulled at them, occasionally gumming them thoughtfully before taking them out of her mouth and playing with them some more.  Such a funny little baby.

I did, um, receive some presents too.  🙂  My parents combined my Christmas, birthday, and Kris gift together and bought me a DVD/Blu ray player.  Mariah got me pie irons, and more pieces of my china (now when I have dinner parties I can serve soup!).  I think that was it for yesterday.  Definitely quality over quantity this year.  And pretty darn high quality, I think!

Oh, and if those of you who are of the praying type would be willing to say a quick prayer for me – somehow yesterday I managed to quite thoroughly lose my phone, and so far all my searching has not found it again.  I do rather need that phone, so if you could pray that I would be able to find it soon, I would appreciate it!

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