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Dec 23, 201608:00 AM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

Christmas Checklist

5 things I’m planning to do over the break

coconut cake

bettycrocker.com

Well, Christmas is truly upon us now. The tree is trimmed, the wreath is hung, the presents … are ordered and will hopefully be delivered by Christmas Eve (gifts are not my love language, OK?). 

I’m not the biggest Christmas enthusiast, but it does mean a nice, long vacation from work and school stress, so I’m pretty excited about that.

I have very few goals from now until I go back to work/the kids go back to school on Jan. 3. They are, in no particular order:

 

  1. Avoid wearing real pants as much as possible. My last day of work was Tuesday, and since then, I’ve worn a pair of ratty gray sweatpants that I wore home from the hospital after Ruby was born 10 years ago (happy birthday, kiddo!); a pair of pajama pants with multicolored cats on them courtesy of my mother; a pair of velour pants with Cookie Monster’s face all over them (they won me the “Ugliest Pajama Bottoms” contest at my office and prompted a horrified Ruby to yell, “Mom! Cookie Monster’s eyes are on your butt, and if you wear those to my class Christmas party, I will kill you!”); and a pair of elastic-waist cotton pants with sheep on them that I accidentally stole from my college roommate in 1999 (sorry, Jordan). I will make an exception and wear actual dress-up clothes to church on Christmas Eve, but beyond that, it’s all pajamas, all the time. 
  2. Read, read, read. On a normal day, I get maybe 20 minutes to myself after dinner is eaten and homework is done and kitchen is cleaned and kids are bathed and booked and asleep, etc. It takes a frustratingly long time to finish a novel in 20-minute increments, not to mention the fact that I am usually falling asleep and jolting back awake to force myself to finish at least a chapter — and so a good portion of each night is spent re-reading the chapter from the night before. But since I’ve been on vacation, I finished (at my mother-in-law’s recommendation) "The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion" and am about halfway into "Mad River." Having time to read for long, sustained stretches is my most treasured luxury.
  3. Get the girls’ toys corralled. This is the most first-world of all first-world problems, right up there with getting an iced latte when you ordered hot or not having enough storage on your smartphone … but the girls have so many toys (and are undoubtedly about to get more), and they share a room, and space is tight. I need to get things sorted and organized in there. This is my eternal new year’s resolution, and I inevitably fail, but I keep trying, and I keep enlisting my mom to help me as my Christmas present. (“Mom, come over and help me push this giant boulder up the hill again.”) But I’m trying again this year. I bought doll-sized hangers for doll clothes on Amazon, for God’s sake. Who can fail with doll-sized hangers on their side?
  4. Find the perfect Christmas cake, and bake it. Last year, I made a white cake with cranberry-orange filling, and it tasted delicious but it cracked and half of it fell onto the counter before we could even serve it. I need to redeem myself this year. I’m thinking coconut cake, maybe, or possibly a peppermint angel food? Italian cream? Please leave me suggestions in the comments — just no red velvet. (We had a very memorable experience with red velvet cake eaten just before a stomach virus ravaged our house, and no one can eat it anymore.)
  5. Try to experience the holidays through my kids’ eyes. This sounds hokey, but I really do mean it sincerely. Two nights ago, the girls begged me to fold out the sofa bed in the living room and let them sleep there so they could see the Christmas tree lights while they fell asleep. My first impulse was to say no. I didn't feel like making up a second bed, I didn’t feel like lugging special pillows and blankies and stuffed toys and bedtime books into the living room, and I didn’t even want to know what horrors might come pouring out of the sofa when I folded out the bed. But after a brief moment of consideration, I realized none of that really merited saying no, and so I said yes. The sofa did cough up a couple of Whoppers and a handful of stale Lucky Charms, and it was kind of a pain to get them all situated in a new room … but it was completely worth it to see how delighted they were about it, how magically thrilling it was to them to be sleeping in a new room in front of the Christmas tree. They put on matching Christmas pajamas and drank hot chocolate while sitting on the sofa bed, snuggling and basking in the glow of the lights on the tree, and it was just so damn sweet I could hardly stand it. If I’d said no, I would have missed it completely. If there’s ever a time for a yes over a no, it’s the holidays.

 

Merry Christmas/happy Hannukah/joyous two-days-past-solstice to you all!

 

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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

        Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

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