7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 197)
It’s that time of year again: time for Joe and I to watch our annual movie! We didn’t get it done in 2011, so I think it’s actually been two years since we’ve watched one together. (And the last time we went out to a movie theater together was 2004, to see Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. We have not returned to a theater since then because, obviously, that was the very pinnacle of the human moviegoing experience, and it could only be downhill from there.) We’re looking for something fun to watch while I do Christmas cards this weekend. What do you suggest? To give you an idea of my tastes (and my personality in general), my all-time favorite movies are Office Space, Galaxy Quest, and The Bourne Identity.
DID SOMEONE SAY CHRISTMAS CARDS?!?!?!?! I am now morphing from my regular, human form into a cyborg-robot automaton whose sole mission is to become a Christmas-card-creating machine. As I have mentioned before, 100% of my motivation and skills in the domestic arts realm are concentrated in this one area. I consider scooting crushed Cheerios out of the walkway on the floor to be roughly equivalent to sweeping, I am able to live with the fact that our white carpet looks exactly like what you would think a white carpet would look like in a house with five young kids, my fitted sheets get stuffed into the linen closet in a wad because I have utterly given up on trying to fold them, but, by Grabthar’s Hammer, I do Christmas cards, and I do them right! Each Thanksgiving I ruin everyone’s lives (including my own) by insisting on a group photo with every family member present, I spend hours on our annual letter to try to format it perfectly and make it fun to read, I relish writing a personalized note at the end of each one, and I usually have the last card in the mail by Gaudete Sunday. Then I get to kick back and drink eggnog while I read everyone else’s as they come in!
I realize that this is not everyone’s thing, and that many folks are content to send out a Merry Christmas text with an attached photo and call it a day. I get that. I take that route in pretty much every other area of life. But for whatever reason, Christmas cards are MY THING.
Just in time for the holiday season, here’s a heartwarming update about Malcolm, the special little boy whom YOU helped find a family! His new mom and dad went to meet him recently, and when they arrived he was so overjoyed that he began packing his toys to leave.
Unfortunately, he can’t go home with them yet since the adoption is not finalized, so he had to unpack those toys. His parents-to-be are so, so close to bringing their new son home, but, as you can see from this daunting list of expenses, this kind of international special needs adoption usually runs over $40,000. They need some financial assistance to get the rest of the funds together to get their little boy out of the orphanage and bring him home. Would you consider offering a donation, perhaps as a Christmas gift to Malcolm and his new family? If so, you can do so here. THANK YOU!
We’re on a very tight, very specific budget for Christmas gifts this year. We always need to watch what we spend, but I at least normally walk around with a false sense of confidence that as long as I look out for discounts and don’t buy too much and don’t look at my bank balance at all during the month of December, it should be fine (usually followed by Despair January, when the statements start rolling in). This year there’s no room for error, so I’m carefully adding up every penny I spend to make sure I don’t go over budget. And I have to say, it’s oddly refreshing. First of all, it’s awakened my creative side to pour all my energy into how I can get inexpensive gifts that will delight each kid. I’m actually going to get crafty and create some stuff myself using supplies from arts and crafts stores.
But the best part has been that I no longer have to drag around feelings of guilt and worries about money all through Advent. When I first realized I’d have to carefully track everything I spend, I thought it would put a damper on the season and distract me from what really matters. So far, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Knowing that I don’t have any unpleasant financial surprises looming around the corner has freed up a surprising amount of mental energy; I feel more inspired to let go of worldly concerns and focus on the meaning of the season than ever before, and I think this budget has a lot to do with it.
Well, as I suppose you have guessed by now, I survived my flights back from the Pacific Northwest. Though I had thought that I would be able to exercise a little more self control, I did have to resort to #TWEETSONAPLANE!!!! to keep myself sane.
But by far the coolest part of the airline wifi was that, thanks to Google Cloud Print, I was able to print a bunch of documents on my home printer from my tablet. Did you hear that, internet?! I could make my PRINTER, AT HOME, DO STUFF, from a TABLET, while I was 30,000 FEET IN THE SKY!!!!! I just about passed out from nerd ecstasy when I walked in the house and saw my documents in a neat stack in front of the printer and was all like, “I DID THAT FROM A PLANE!”
If anyone is feeling slightly overwhelmed by the fact that Advent begins in a matter of hours, check out this post with 24 super simple ideas for celebrating Advent (put together from wise reader advice, which was solicited after a few years in a row of Epic Advent Fails on my part).
One of my favorite gifts is to make custom calendars with favorite family pictures from the year. The grandparents absolutely love these things, and they’re simple to create. Each year Shutterfly has big sales on calendars the weekend after Thanksgiving, so you can get them at great deals if you do them now! I don’t get any compensation for plugging this (read: I was too incompetent to sign up for Shutterfly’s affiliate program in time); I’m just passing it along because it’s something I like.