Gunter, I too understand about the MIL thing, believe me! My MIL has toned it down quite a bit this year but we have had many a struggle about boundaries and expectations - especially around birthdays and holidays. (That being said, I got two boxes via express mail from her yesterday, totalling $90 in postage, filled with size 4T and 5T clothes - for my kindergardener, I guess? - and other bizarre/used crap. I really would have preferred a nice card sent regular mail with a gift card to Gymboree, but hey.) I thought she was going to come up for Christmas but turns out she won't be here, and neither will DH's (extremely annoying) childhood friend we were expecting either, so it's just the three of us. YAY! We're going to have a quiet family Christmas morning, and then have dinner with two other families who also don't have family in this area, which I think will be nice and relaxed, but fun. And it won't be at our house, so even better! I'll get to cook some of my favorite dishes to share, which is one of the things I love about Christmas, but won't have to worry about our house getting trashed by six kids (four of whom are toddlers!).
Tomorrow is when we take our stuff to the Home of the Innocents for the orphans and pregnant teens, and then open our new jammies.
We didn't do anything for Solstice yesterday, which I feel kind of bad about, but I have to remind myself I don't have to do *everything* this year. We did take Brynn to a living Nativity last night, which she really enjoyed - especially the goats - so I guess that will have to count as our solstice activity.
And back to your post, Gunter, I can totally relate to your struggles about how to celebrate Christmas. I am not a Christian, but DH is, although more in a "Jesus was a great teacher" kind of way than the dogmatic save-your-soul kind of way. Even though I'm not, though, I still feel that since we are celebrating Christmas, we need to teach Brynn the reason we are doing it, so I've been trying to keep everything as "authentic" as possible. The birthday cake is a really good idea, too! I hadn't thought of that. But last night I was at the living Nativity thing, and one of the ladies asked Brynn, "Did you see the baby? Did you see the Savior?" and I was like, "Brynn, that is baby Jesus, just like on our Advent table!"
Savior...? Not so much, for us. Anyway.
barcelona, I was thinking about you the other day, and the whole writer's strike. What a bummer that is going on right when your career is really taking off! I hope it resolves quickly!
Kaspirant, still thinking of you and Joseph.
Helen, how's your down-time going? Getting lots of rest?
Mel, that is awesome. Glad you are really feeling the spirit.
Jen, umm...DH's family sounds kind of awful. I don't have any words of advice but I hope you can come to a peaceful place inside yourself about it before you have to see them. My best friend has some really weird issues with her family right now and was worried about how to handle her dad when she saw him on Thanksgiving, and I suggested just deciding not to let any of it get to her that day and focus on making it a special day for *her* family - herself, her husband, and their kids. I think it helped to remind her that she is indeed an adult too and has her own family to think about. I know sometimes when we are with the older generation of our families, it is easy to feel like the "kids" ourselves, so I have to remind myself too, I am a mother, a woman, and a wife - not a child - and I don't have to engage in anyone's family drama bullshit. But here's a hug to get through the next few days!
Well Brynn's still sleeping so I need to go balance the checkbook while I have a few moments. So enjoy this Christmas Eve-Eve, y'all!
PS: I really miss Fern.