Tuesday Tangents: Countdown to Christmas edition!

As I mentioned a couple of times last week, I’m making Tuesday Tangents a regular feature here – and I hope you’ll consider joining me! I love reading about your own random ramblings in the comments on my Tangents, but maybe you’d rather post them on your own blog instead? If you do, just come back here and leave me your link in the comments so I can go visit you (I’m not planning on using a Mr Linky unless this thing grows more than I expect it to) – and help yourself to the button, too!

❊ ❊ ❊ It didn’t arrive until some time on the 20th, but my sense of Christmas finally showed up. It just needed a tree and cookies, apparently…

We had decided to wait to put up our Christmas tree and decorate until after my stepson’s birthday party, which took place on Saturday. We didn’t have the party at home – he wanted to have it at the go-kart track where his cousin had his last party – but we invited the family back to our house afterwards, and we felt that having the house all Christmased up might take the focus away from his birthday celebration, since that’s a common hazard with December birthdays anyway.

My husband brought the tree in on Sunday morning, and we decorated it with my stepkids in the afternoon. I always enjoy seeing our special ornaments every year, and it was fun getting the tree “dressed,” even if it’s not exactly a work of art. The garlands on one side look like they were hung by drunk monkeys, quite frankly – that was the first description that came to mind, and Tall Paul didn’t disagree – but the whole thing looks like it was a fun family project, and that matters more than picture perfection, doesn’t it?

In between the tree placement and the decorating, I had some time to myself, and I spent it in the kitchen baking. My son arrives from D.C. on Wednesday evening – barring another East Coast blizzard, of course (which I REALLY don’t want to think about!) – and I traditionally meet him at the airport with a bottle of water and a bag of homemade cookies. Years ago, his dad came up with our family variation on the Toll House Cookie recipe – leave out the nuts, and use butterscotch chips in addition to the chocolate ones – and that’s how Chris likes them. Tall Paul likes his cookies with chocolate chips only, though, so I made two separate batches to accommodate them both. (My stepkids will eat them either way.) I added my own favorite twist – a teaspoon of ground cinnamon – to both batches. And since I actually prefer brownies, I baked a batch of those too. I brought a sampling of it all to the office yesterday, and I’ve already set aside Chris’ “greeting” cookies for tomorrow.

I’ll be doing more baking for Christmas dinner, of course – I’m not counting on very much of Sunday’s efforts still being around by then. Do your holiday preparations include baking, too? What goodies have come out of your kitchen recently? ❊ ❊ ❊

❊ ❊ ❊ I’ve been waiting till we put up the tree to open the gift I received from my Secret Santa in the Book Blogger Holiday Swap, and last night was the night! In a strange coincidence, I got a true swap – I was her Secret Santa too!

I received a lovely package of treats from Cindy, who blogs at Wears Many Hats (which she does – she has a very eclectic blog!). Take a look:

Here we have a pair of bath mitts, two body mists – one for energy, one for relaxation – from The Healing Garden, a matching notebook, notepad, and refrigerator magnet, and a reader’s best friend – a bookmark! Thanks, Cindy! ❊ ❊ ❊

❊ ❊ ❊ The consequence of a busy weekend – one spent in places other than in front of my laptop – was nearly 600 unread posts in Google Reader on Monday morning. I skimmed a lot and made judicious use of the “mark all as read” button, but I expect this to become less of an issue over the next few days – it was the storm before the calm. I’m pretty sure blog updates from all sources will slow significantly over the next week or so…and that means mine, too.

I’ll be “unplugging” for a few days as of Thursday, and next weekend’s Sunday Salon may be a “Sunday Salon on Monday” post – we’ll see how it goes. And despite what I said in this week’s Sunday Salon, it looks like my “Books of the Year” post will probably be postponed till next week, when I plan to focus on “the year in review” generally. In addition to those, I do hope to have some time to during the break to do some writing, and get some future posts lined up!

 βŠ And from a Weekend Assignment post back in August, Merry Christmas from Gypsy! ❊
Pleez Santa,  i can haz kitteh?
(We still have some of that wrapping paper, too!)

So, with just three days left till Christmas (!!), what tangents are your thoughts taking? I want to know!

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  1. I think the tree is lovely – and the family memories are priceless!

    I add cinnamon to my chocolate chip cookies too – and absolutely love them! I will need to try the addition of butterscotch chips next.

    I hope that your son arrives safe and sound with NO delays!

    Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  2. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – Me too! It was starting to bother me that I just wasn't feeling it yet. Next year, I may argue for putting the tree up a little earlier :-).

    It was such fun opening my Secret Santa gift and finding all the goodies!

    Molly – It doesn't look too bad, especially with the lights on, but Katie (my SD, 15) tends to hang garland like she's tying ropes around the tree :-).

    I don't know too many other people who use cinnamon in their chocolate-chip cookies – isn't it a nice addition? The butterscotch chips add a little sweetness. I was dubious about them at first, but now I've used them for so long, the cookies don't taste right to me without them!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. It's tough when your birthday is so close to Christmas. Especially when your a kid. My son's is in mid-January so we try to push his party as late as possible. Looks like you guys had a good plan.

    We have no Christmas spirit in our house at all. This work in the house totally ruined it, but it's our own fault. Next year we are going to decorate in November. Maybe October. πŸ™‚

  4. Mike – It worked out OK. Most years, his party's at his mom's house, so we don't have to wait so long to put our tree up, but we really wanted to avoid the whole "birthday/Christmas combo" thing.

    Next year you can start Halloweenmas :-D! I can totally understand how having no floor can put a damper on the holiday spirit.

  5. Your tree looks lovely, Florinda. The best looking trees are the ones not expertly decorated, if you ask me. πŸ™‚ We never did get our tree up. Didn't even put the stocking stuffers the in-laws sent into stockings. We're so bad. Still, it's been a nice day.

    Looks like you got a lot of fun treats from your Swap partner. πŸ™‚ And how cool that you both got each other!

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas, Florinda!

  6. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I'm glad we eventually did get our tree up, but if you're really feeling the Christmas spirit – which I know you do πŸ™‚ – I can see how you could be just fine without it.

    Glad you've had a good Christmas Day – we have too!

  7. Your tree is beautiful! I love the beaded garland (we stopped with garland the year my youngest was using it to whip everything … he was going thru an Indiana Jones phase!).

    I don't add cinnamon to my chocolate chip cookies, but I like the sounds of chocolate, butterscotch, AND nuts!

    As far a Mark All in Google Reader, sometimes you have to do it! When I spend several hours reading, and can't get the number below 1000+, I know it's time! I think the blog postings will be slower until after the New Year, with a lot of people away and busy with family. (hoping, anyway; I'd like to "catch up!")

  8. Dawn – I actually don't put nuts in the cookies, or in brownies either. My family's nutty enough already :-D.

    I like the bead garland a lot better than tinsel; it doesn't shred all over everything.

    I think I'm going to be doing the Mark All as Read thing this weekend, unfortunately. I've barely had time to read OR write blog posts for the last few days, and I'd really like to get ahead on the "writing" end of things, so the "reading" will probably have to step aside for a little bit.