Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We've Been Pulling Overtime Here at Santa's Workshop

I've been absent around these parts for a number of reasons...

... but let's start with the good stuff, shall we?

Yesterday the five Ms (Maribeth, Megan, Madeleine, Michael, and Melissa) received Christmas package 1 of 2. Which was a complete surprise since I only mailed it last FRIDAY. For a box, four days between Pennsylvania and BC is remarkable, especially over a weekend!

When I took the package to the post office, it was with more than a twinge of sadness. This will be my very first Christmas without the Ms since the first one (Melissa) came into this world in 1999. I'm not a huge fan of Christmas, but watching small children opening presents is something I've come to cherish very much since they were old enough for parent-sanctioned paper shredding.

Yesterday I found two voicemail messages from Melissa, at home and on my mobile phone, asking if they could open their box. It did not escape Melissa, very astute child of six that she is, that the box was devoid of any markings such as "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS!" Although, when I phoned her last Thursday, she asked me if I received their Christmas calendar.

Me: "Oh, you mean the envelope marked 'DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS!'?"
Melissa: *giggle*
Me: "OK, let's just pretend I didn't hear that."

I put the kids in suspense for a while, humming and hawing over whether they could vulture-pounce the package. I asked their mother about the other Christmas packages -- there must be something left to squeal over on Christmas Day, right? -- and she informed me that the parcels from Maine must remain unopened until The Big Day.


"Well," I said, "there is another package due to arrive because the other two batches (special deliveries from some friends abroad) have not been shipped to me yet. So..."

--squeeeeee!!! eeeee!!!!!!--

"... I think it's alright for them to go ahead and open it. Release the hounds!"

I brought my PowerBook over to David and we had some belly laughs over the video clips of the kids with their loot. They have no clue what's coming next, but some of the things in the package should keep them occupied until then. I'm not saying any more! Melissa can read now!

In anticipation of a seasonal post office backlog, I've been keeping busy trying to get my Christmas parcels out the door asap. I decided that THIS IS THE YEAR when I'll be on top of things, and perhaps rather foolishly decided to make my own greeting cards. From scratch. No two alike. From mostly recycled materials I've found around the house.

I pulled an all-nighter the previous evening toiling in Santa's Workshop, snipping and folding and gluing and crafting and wrapping and writing and measuring and--

--oh yes, anyway, things have been rather handiwork-oriented lately. Low-tech rather than high-tech. I don't have a large workspace, so a modicum of cleanup is required every 90 seconds or so. Very slow process, this cardmaking business. It's winter and the windows are closed, the solvents must be getting to me.

Christmas cards are pretty cheap in bulk and I could get more written up and posted, but sometimes I just do things the hard way because I'm a sucker for handmade things. I figure, now that I'm not working (still waiting for my work permit) and looking after David at home, I should put my resourcefulness to the test and see what I can do about reusing things we already have in the way of paper and the sheer tonnage of packing materials accumulated from all the online purchases we do now.

If you'd like to receive a handmade Christmas/New Year card from me, just drop me an e-mail to gailontheweb [at] with your postal address and keep an eye out for my distinctive handwriting that screams 'anal-retentiveness'!