Friday, December 16, 2005

The holiday gift basket

Undercover Celebrity recently posted about her annoyance at not receiving holiday presents from our vendors at work. That she always believed it was one of the perks of working with vendors. I had a different thought that I never expected gifts from them at all.

And to prove that good things come when you least expect it, yesterday I got a gift basket from the very same vendor that she raised her fists in anger to not two days before for only sending her a card. The gift basket was not addressed to the department, but to me. I felt a little proud.

But ... then I actually opened the gift basket. You know those descriptions of gift baskets that sound good in theory but that just aren't practical. That's what a got. I can only imagine the description said: "Send your appreciation to your special client with this marvelous display of imported Italian treats and goodies. Your clients will delight in the extravagance of exotic candies, cookies and other edibles."

What that really means is that I got a bunch of crap that I've never heard of and doesn't come close being a tasty treat. While I admit that the pesto dipping sauce may come in handy if I want to buy some Italian bread at home, the fruitcake did not look appetizing. Neither did the weird fruit-flavored hard candy, marinated mushrooms, or the little nugget-shaped cookie/crackers that have an indescernable flavor. To be fair, I might have eaten the cheesy breadsticks at an Italian restaurant, but as a tasty treat at work, it just doesn't fit. (I did get some sugar wafer cookies, but the girls at work got into them while I was in a meeting and at the whole thing! Curses!)

While it's a nice thought, typically when I get these kinds of baskets, I put all the items in the pantry, and they stay there until my husband and I decide to clean out the pantry. Then we're like: "What the hell is this? How long have we had this? Can we regift it?" Just kidding about the last part.

The only good thing is the basket is kind of nice. I can use it for future baskets. I just won't look for anything that has been imported from Italy.

Update: The cheesy breadsticks are pretty damn good! and so were the Lindt chocolate truffles. I owe my gratitude to Undercover Celebrity for opening my eyes to the wonders of imported Italian treats. A word of warning, however, to the innocent ... the little chocolates with the liquour centers are dangerous, and are prone to splatter all over unsuspecting victims if opened improperly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Christmas concert

Last night, Boogie's preschool had a Christmas concert. We got to go out to see her and her classmates sing a variety of Christmas songs. We were so proud of her. She was one of the few who knew all the words to the songs. Even her teacher says she's the best singer in the class. She also was not afraid to be on stage. She waved to us in our seats with the biggest grin on her face.

It was also rather comical to watch some of the other kids. In each class, there was one child who sang really loud. Then they'd get to a part that they didn't know and get quiet, and then come back strong: IN BETHLEHEM! It reminded me of Tommy Boy, when they're singing REM's The End of the World, and they don't know the words so they kind of mumble until they get to belt out, IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!!. I did feel bad for this little boy in the 2 1/2-3 1/1-year-old class. He cried the entire time. It was heartbreaking.

But the most memorable part of the night was in the 5-year-old class. There was a pretty big kid who clearly had ADHD. He was making faces and acting out the entire time. During the last song, he had his fingers in his mouth, pulling out on the sides to get a laugh. But then, and remember that this is a baptist preschool, he brought his fingers forward, put his face and body in an aggressive stance and proceeded to flip off the audience. You could hear audible sounds of gasps from the crowd. I have no idea who his parents were, but I would have been mortified. And then he would have been in the most trouble of his life. Of course, I have to think that he learned that behavior from somewhere, so he might not have gotten into trouble at all.

All in all, it was a fun time. I've been hearing Boogie sing these songs at home while she's coloring or playing with her toys. It was great to see her shine on stage.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care

Boogie and I decorated the tree this weekend. She did a great job helping me hang the ornaments. I even left the ornaments where she hung them. For a few minutes, but then my anal-retentive nature took over and I had to do some rearranging. In my defense, I had to move some the ornaments that were hanging precariously from the branches. We don't want them to fall and break do we? And the ones that were loaded two balls to a branch had to be moved. But that was it. I swear!

I'm still not done with the rest of the decorations. Just the tree. And the stockings. I still have all the "knick-knack" stuff that needs to be put out, and the garland for the mantle, and the nativity set for the hearth. It's never taken me so long to decorate before. But since I have little Dak running (crawling) around trying to get into everything, I have to decorate in spurts while he's napping. I'm learning to let go of it all and not stress. Really I am.

I did have an eye-opening experience while decorating the tree with Boogie about how much kids really learn from us. At one point, I had climbed onto a stool to put up the angel. A little while later, I saw her climb up on the stool and stand up. I told her to get down, that it wasn't safe. She looked at me and said, "Well, I learned this from you." Damn.

It made me realize how much she sees. When I get frustrated because I can't find a parking space at a crowded store. When my husband and I give dirty looks to the ladies who almost run us over at Wal-Mart (see my husband's post). I just hope she also sees when we try to do good things for others, like the boy in my husband's class, or when we hold the door open for someone struggling to get through.

This Christmas, I hope she sees us enjoy spending time with our family, laughing together, and knowing that it's about more than just lots of presents and material things. And I hope she realizes that she's the greatest gift we've ever received (well, her and our son!).