Ok, not really. My mom claims she really did actually want us to come. But Kristy (a.k.a. the Christmas ruiner) got married right after Christmas so plans had to be adjusted accordingly.
So we found ourselves making our own holiday plans. We had this great idea to combine efforts for Christmas Eve dinner with other extended family-free friends, but plans fell through that morning. So the four Nielsens enjoyed an extremely large Honeybaked Ham, sparkly drinks, and pie. Those are the parts of dinner I was in charge of. And really, was anyone really missing the veggie side or the salad? At least I nailed all the really good parts of the meal.
Moving on... that night we opened our warm and cozy Christmas pajamas. Scarlet and Rhode fained interest over a new addition to their wardrobe (we are still in the establishing phase of traditions). Jon, on the other hand, got a nice little shock when he found there was a pj box under the tree for him. Christmas pajamas was not a Nielsen family tradition. He got to experience that one for the first time during our first Christmas as a married couple. Maybe it was to make sure my husband was in this thing for the long run, but, for whatever reason, my mom decided to give everyone matching pajamas this year. So, not only did Jon have to put on pajamas his mother-in-law had purchased for him but he then had to sit next to his sister-in-laws in matching duds. He really must love me.
So, I wasn't going to do pajamas for us this year. But I just happened to be walking by a sale rack at Walmart filled with the most unattractive pajama bottom prints of all time. My arm happened to brush against one of the pant legs and I instinctively had to take a step back. Softest, most cozy fabric that has ever come to existence. I was instantly in love. Now the debate, do I go with the plaid print with large white geese pattern or the more striped pattern with little dog heads? I decided some straight camouflage was the lesser of three evils.
So not only did Jon get cozy camo jammies with matching black tshirt, but, wait for it, I got the same ones too! We looked awesome and it just totally made his Christmas. Yup, that is what I keep telling myself.
After the kids went to bed, I finally got to bring down the presents from our guest room closet. I knew the wrapped wonders wouldn't stay that way for long for any length of time under the tree. With presents from mom and dad, Santa, and the Grandmas in the mix, we actually had a pretty full looking tree. Jon was gone all month and I could see the look of pure panic in his eyes as he tried to calculate how much we must have spent this year. I chucked good naturedly.
See, I had a secret this year. We had a very merry and oh so very cheap Christmas. Back in October, a friend of mine held a consignment sale for kids stuff. As I was wandering through tables covered in toys I couldn't help but wonder why I should buy these things from the store the next month at 10 times the cost.
Awesome things about a Consignment Sale Christmas:
Saves a TON of money
Gifts are not in boxes so kids can test out toy immediately upon unwrapping
Batteries have already been installed, saving you a Christmas morning of wondering where you put those @$*% AA batteries.
My kid Christmas shopping was done in October, when was yours?
Downside to a Consignment Sale Christmas:
Your family, friends and fellow blog readers might think you are a tad bit on the white trash side. Then they remember this is the girl who admittedly went dumpster diving and just shake their head in resignation. I'm telling you people, having no pride is a great money saver.
And then it was Christmas morning. Jon and I never got a picture together in our matching sleepwear. I wonder why...
Scarlet got a My First LeapPad and stories and Rhode got a play barbecue grill set from Consignment Santa. They also got some other random toys that make noise and a lot of books and movies. I should clarify, they got VHS movies. Anyone else hate buying DVDs for kids? They just ruin them! Even the most well intentioned child is just one second away from scratching the darn think into a freeze fest. But, I did want my kids to get to watch one of the classic Christmas movies on Christmas day...
So... I rented it from the library and put it in Rhode's stocking. I bet you thought I couldn't get any cheaper. Proved you wrong again!
Scarlet got a new ballerina outfit with a homemade sewing club tutu which she proceeded to wear for the rest of the day. That is, until her legs got cold. Then it was leotard, tutu, and Christmas pajama bottoms. She is a thinker.
A little stocking opening time.
And here is Rhode trying to swipe Scarlet's new hair bobblies. We took them away for your own good, Rhode. You will thank us later.
One of Scarlet's favorite scores of the day was a little Barney doll attached to a book she found in her stocking from Grandma Charla.
She had only actually discovered the Barney show the week before Christmas but she is officially two year old twitterpated with the purple dinosaur. And even though that show really couldn't get more annoying if it put some effort into it, the "I Love You" song is only cute from the mouth of a small child.
She tried to love Barney more than her new vintage Cabbage Patch doll (garage sale snag, original from 1983 in perfect condition with brown yarn hair and brown eyes, I had trouble not writing my own name on the present) but a few convenient Barney misplacements have solved that problem. Love what I tell you to love, kid! Oh, and Angie I am sure it will please you to hear that after months of absence, my child still worships yours. Her new baby's name is Afton.
Charla was also the source of Scarlet's new "cache of jewels" as she likes to call them.
It is just a Flintstone style push car but it has lots of fun little buttons (blinker, radio, etc.) and, best part, the push handle in the back extends up to adult height. Leaning over to push kids around in toys is the bain of my existence. Rhode, Scarlet, and my back are very grateful, mom.
Pajamas aside, I think Jon had a pretty good Christmas too. The first two gifts he opened were ties and a blessing oil keychain holder to which he commented, "I really feel like a dad now." His main gift was a new hammock for the backyard which we have all been loving again.
I got hooked up with a wide screen monitor for our computer (we call that one our group present since I didn't actually care nearly as much about the size of our computer viewing area as he did) and a CD/ipod player for the kitchen. The latter has led to several dance filled evenings in the Nielsen household. Pure heaven.
Though, I must say after everything, my finest accomplishment of the season is the fact that I did send out a Christmas letter, well actually a Christmas card. Fine, it was a postcard.