Christmas is over and done with. Thank goodness. I really really really dislike this holiday (not the reason behind the holiday, but the commercialized part of it that I am never able to avoid). I hate present shopping with a passion and it totally stresses me out. I second guess what to get people until the last minute where I beg Husband to help me out because he is the BEST at getting presents for people. He can just see something and be all, "Oh, this would be perfect for so and so." And he's RIGHT. I can't do that. Uh uh.
I also hate decorating. I mean, once it's done it looks pretty, but dragging everything out and choosing what to do each year drives me crazy. Then I can never get it to look right, so I just throw something together and then wish I had spent more time on it. Not to mention, everything goes right back into a box and has to be packed back up when the holiday is over. (Or I could just leave it up...I succeeded in having a pine wreath hanging on my door for practically a whole year this past year. I would have left it up too, only my mother came over one day and replaced it for me. I happened to enjoy my Christmas smell in July, thank you very much.)
Then there's the stress of the day itself.
This year I thought I had made it pretty simple. The menu had been divided between family who were coming, I was prepared with games, Baby's outfit was all picked out. I had cleaned the house beforehand so that the day of would just take a little prep and be done with.
Well, I ended up sleeping in (Husband watched Baby and let me take my time getting up- it was amazing!). Then it left me behind schedule. Totally my fault, I know, but so worth it.
I set about getting things together before company arrived. We had strategically coordinated who came over when so that the present giving wouldn't be weird. That way people wouldn't feel awkward if they didn't get others gifts because they are only related through my marriage and see each other once a year. It would just be silly. Well, that didn't work out. The family who was supposed to come early came late. The family that was supposed to come late came early. Thus, everyone arrived at the same time, which was really rather awkward and we sat around staring at each other until Husband timidly suggested opening gifts.
It really wasn't as awkward as I expected it to be. Baby received a ton. I was not surprised. Opening gifts was a long process and in the end everyone sat staring at me as I helped Baby open present after present (really, they could have been staring at the TV behind me where some type of sports game was playing). She was definitely overwhelmed and was not in the best mood. It was not what I had expected from her. I thought she would be basking in the attention and and flitting from person to person and gift to gift, but instead she clung to me like her life depended on it and became preoccupied with trying to shove wrapping paper down her throat while I attempted to snatch it from her. Then she would scream when I took it away and wouldn't let her eat it.
She remained this way throughout the cooking. I could not put her down without her crying, and she refused to let anyone else hold her. Husband played games with the guests and I was left to cook and comfort Baby. Not my idea of fun when I felt pressure to perform in front of all our guests.
Thankfully, my mother and sister in law stepped up to take over the kitchen tasks. I felt really bad about that, though. I mean, I had invited them over. They had already made their items ahead of time and shouldn't have had to make mine. I helped as best I could, but Baby was just not having it. It's rather hard to peel potatoes and take a ham out of the oven when a child is stuck to you. Thus, ham juices ended up everywhere and the fire alarm went off.
Yes, the fire alarm went off.
We don't have one of those standard battery operated fire alarms, either. Oh no. Ours is hard-wired to the electrical in the house. No pulling it down and taking out the batteries to make it stop. Nope. It's not one of those beeping things either. This is a hard core, screech as loud as it possibly can, make everyone within five miles deaf fire alarm.
I had to open up the house and air it out before the thing would shut down. All the while, Husband sat playing games at the table. I was so mad at him. (Note- after the fact I confronted him and he sincerely apologized. He was so engrossed in the game he didn't even notice that I needed help. He said next time to just ask. I guess we were both to blame there. I could have just asked instead of expecting him to see me and run to my rescue. Live and learn, I guess).
Things picked up after that. Sister in law finished the dinner and we all ate. It was really quite good and we had lots of leftovers. Dinner was only an hour late.
We played board games after dinner, ate dessert, and ended up having a lot of laughs and a good time. Baby was much happier after she ate and had her bath, and once she went to bed I didn't have to worry about keeping her happy in front of the guests.
Next year, I'm doing absolutely everything in advance and microwaving each dish right before dinner. That's classy, right?