Saturday, December 17, 2022

Winter break

I've finally made it to the mid-point of this difficult school year. Now it's time for a much-needed break and I plan to try and enjoy every minute of it. Yesterday was a half day for students, and staff got to leave shortly after they were dismissed. We go back on Monday, January 2nd so it's just over two weeks that we get off.

 Last month the principal asked if I'd be willing to change offices, since the one I was in was very large and could be used as an extra conference room (which we need on a regular basis). Of course, I agreed. My new office, while smaller, feels much more comfortable, somehow. The principal mostly leaves me be, and that's just how I like it. I've been more productive and less stressed out, and I hope that continues when I get back. On Thursday the principal brought me a nicely wrapped package of goodies from a local baker as a Christmas gift. She told me that I do a really good job, that she's glad to work with me, and that she "hopes you're happy working here". My husband said that translates to "please don't quit!" and I think he's right! (I'm still planning to look for a better spot this spring).

Christmas is going to be super simple this year at our house. Gregg has only gotten paid for one week's work in over a month now (and that came from the late owner's brother). There's been some problem setting up his paycheck/direct deposit account with the new owners, and he's starting to get a bit upset about it. He's been working a lot of hours, helping to get the store reopened, and we need his paychecks to start coming! It's put a damper on our Christmas spending, as modest as that generally is around here anyway. And to be honest, I'm just tired. I don't feel like cooking and baking up a storm, or of putting up lots of decorations that just have to be taken right back down. I don't want to fight traffic, or crowded stores, or go to a bunch of social events. 

 We do have a Christmas tree, and colored lights on our potted ficus, and candles and greenery on the mantle, though. I love lights and sparkle during these long, cold nights. I'll do a little bit of cooking and baking, just not as much as usual, and Martina and I are exchanging books again this year. I highly recommend having a book exchange with a friend if you're both readers--we tried it last year and liked it so much we decided to make it an annual thing! I plan to have a few other friends over for a glass of wine or mulled cider during the holiday season, nothing fancy. I want to do less work, spend less money, and take time to enjoy simple things over the next couple of weeks. I'm grateful that my little family has made it through another year together, loving each other, and safe and sound and healthy. That's all I need for Christmas!







The elephants on these shelves were from my dear, late mother-in-law's collection. They're very special to us.



What are your holiday plans? How are they shaping up? Is anyone else working on a quieter, simpler holiday this year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

48 comments:

  1. Lovely blog
    When I taught I always decorated over Tgiving…of course when I lived SC, I flew to Indiana and or Texas to the kids…after leaving there, they came to me in WV…it is difficult waiting til semester ends to do the work. In WV, break came Dec 22 or 23…ludicrous…merry Christmas. Enjoy your days…do you have family there?

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    1. My parents live about a 45 minute drive away. I'll probably see them on Christmas eve (during the day). Winter break not starting until the 22 or 23 doesn't leave much time to prepare for the holiday, does it? I'm glad we have this whole week off prior to Christmas.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Your tree is beautiful, Jenn, and your ficus, too. I hope this situation with your husband is well resolved and you find a new and better job. And now all that is taken care of, Merry Christmas to you, your pups and your Marco.

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    1. Thank you for all the kind words, Joanne! Merry Christmas to you as well!

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  3. Your home sparkles, and so do you! Just as we get darkest, the light starts to return.

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  4. The trees look pretty. I got asked to both my sister's and to my brother's and I'm staying home. I don't decorate anymore, though I have no problem cooking.

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    1. Well, it's nice that they invited you. We normally stay home over Christmas, too.

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  5. Shirley and I are heading down to London to spend the Christmas period with Ian and his girlfriend - Sarah. Frances, Stewart and Phoebe will be there too. It will be our second vegan Christmas. I hope to roast turkey on New Year's Day when we are back home.

    Your principal hasn't got any principles. The way she treated you when she arrived cannot easily be forgotten. It takes more than a few special items from a bakery.

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    1. That's wonderful that you're going to spend the holiday with both your children, their significant others, and little Phoebe! Turkey can wait. :) As to my principal, she's had so many people quit (and so many are choosing to retire mid-year and aren't coming back after the break) that I guess she's finally trying to treat what staff she has left better. Too little, too late--unless I can't find something else, I'll be part of the exodus this spring!

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  6. Since Japanese family has moved to Tucson, to help me and other son now has his own apartment it is very different but just as wonderful. 12 year old granddaughter are super fun ! Drive around some neighborhoods that have fabulous light displays. Drive up Mt Lemon to see the snow just down the street from us. All and all quiet as we like it. Spending what money I have on help for Ukraine and the Animal Shelter I have donated to for years. Spread a little Joy.
    Your trees are lovely and someone is getting very good at getting into photos.

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    1. How wonderful that your Japanese family have moved to Tucson! It sounds like you have a lovely holiday planned, sweet and quiet. I think it's wonderful to donate to Ukraine and local animal shelters--that's the real spirit of Christmas!

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  7. What is Poppy's response to the tree?

    I am glad that you're able to fly under the radar at work. It sounds much more comfortable that way.

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    1. Poppy has mostly ignored the tree, to be honest. She's still like a puppy although she's a year old now...she just takes new things in stride! And yes, my work is much more comfortable than it was in the beginning of the year. I'm very thankful for that.

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  8. What beautiful decorations! Wishing you and Gregg a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing holiday break!

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    1. Wishing you and your Rare One a wonderful holiday, too!

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  9. It looks beautiful and sounds perfect--festive and yet not stressful with a zillion activities. We aren't gift giving to adults this year and it's a huge relief. I don't like choosing presents, so it's much easier to do so for my tiny grandsons than for people who don't need anything. Your principal isn't to be trusted; I'm glad you're intending to look for a different position!

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    1. The only adults I ever give gifts to (besides my husband) are my parents, and this year it's just going to be some homemade cookies and fruit and such. They don't need any more "stuff" and so consumable gifts are always a good option for adults, I think.

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  10. At all looks very nice. There's no need to spend a fortune on Christmas. A few decorations, a good sized Turkey, and a few friends around is all we need.

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    1. I'm trying hard to see it that way this year, Cro. Thank you for stopping by, and Merry Christmas to you!

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  11. Christmas should always be about love, and never about money and things. You do very well to keep focused on your loving little family, and see a few friends without too much hassle.

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    1. Last year I bought lots of small gifts (hand lotion, candles, and such) and gave them out to coworkers, book club friends, neighbors, etc. I also made expensive fruitcakes and lots of goodies and gave those out as well. It was just too much! This year I sent cards to everyone (that's one of my favorite traditions) but that's pretty much it. This year has been stressful enough without spending more than I can afford and working myself into a frenzy to try and remember everyone with gifts.

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  12. Your tree looks beautiful. We have got 2 sons and one girlfriend and one wife and one grandson here on Xmas Day, but Boxing Day is my turn to do the wider family party....21 in all ! Luckily my DIL is doing the catering for both.

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    1. Holy cow! 21 people is a lot. Thank goodness for catering! :) Merry Christmas Frances.

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  13. Christmas lights seem to make everything cozier and happier don't they? I sure hope things clear up for your hubby. I don't know why owners and companies waste time getting things like this taken care of. Don't they know people depend on their pay??? I hope thing work out soon. Your home meanwhile looks warm and welcoming.

    Meanwhile, I will be enjoying a four-day weekend, my uncle and two of his kids and family will be here as well as two family friends for our usual roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner.

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    1. A "Yorkshire pudding dinner" sounds heavenly.

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    2. Last night Gregg came home from work with a week's pay....in cash! I'm not complaining, at least they're trying to make things right while they work out whatever issue they're having setting up his direct deposit payroll information.

      Your holiday sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read all about it! Merry, Merry Christmas dear Maddie!!!

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    3. Neil, one day I want to make Yorkshire puddings. I'll need your help and advice since I don't know the first thing about it! :)

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  14. Despite your decision to not go all out this year, your house looks festive and elegant. How inconsiderate of the new owners. What kind of problem could they be having? Are they reinventing the wheel? Still, wishing you a relaxed Christmas filled with love.

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    1. As I just told Maddie, Gregg came home with a week's pay in cash last night. While it's kind of annoying to have to go to the bank and deposit cash, at least they're trying to make things right while they work out whatever glitches they have in their new payroll system.

      Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, dear Mitchell!

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  15. Since my dear farmer died five years ago I always have a simple Christmas. I look back on the old celebrations and enjoy the memories but now I spend the day alone - my dear carer brings me a plate of their lunch- I read, I watch my choice ofTV and the day goes by like any other.

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    1. How I wish we could all drop in throughout the afternoon and have a cup of tea with you and wish you a Merry Christmas in person, sweet Weaver!

      Stay warm and cheerful! :)

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  16. I think it's okay to take a break from the holidays when the mood just isn't right. And still, you have that beautiful tree and lights, which is the best part of Christmas.

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    1. You're right, of course. Merry Christmas Colette!

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  17. Your decorations are lovely and the tree is a work of art! Everywhere looks so cosy and welcoming - no wonder Poppy wants to get in the photograph!
    I hope the situation with Greg's work is soon resolved.
    Have a great Christmas surrounded by friends and pups.

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    1. What a lot of nice things to say! Thank you so much. I hope your holidays are wonderful and all that you want them to be!

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  18. So glad that it's more tolerable at school. It has to be so hard to work in an unpleasant environment. We buy less and less each Christmas. No small children in our family, only adults who don't need STUFF. We have asked, for years, that people not buy STUFF for us, donate to animal shelters, please! We donate to our local animal shelter as they are always in need. That feels better to us. Love the pics of your decorating in your home!

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    1. The animal shelter where our George came from is always in need, too. I'd much rather spend money on a worthy cause like that than on a bunch of stuff which, as you say, no one really needs or even wants!

      Happy holidays to you and yours! Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. Your home is an absolute vision of peace and comfort. I wish you and Gregg and your sweet animal children have a wonderful Christmas. Which would include, of course, Gregg's paychecks coming in!

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    1. You are so kind! Thank you! I hope the Moon family has a wonderful holiday. I'm sure you will--there's so much love in your family. That's all any of us really need at Christmas. xx

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  20. Your tree is gorgeous! Enjoy your break! Hope you get lots of time to relax and celebrate your happy home.

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    1. Thanks Ellen! I love all the silver and sparkles on our tree. Being at home with my husband, dogs, and bird is my favorite thing in the world. :)

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  21. Your decorations look great. I truly believe that the simpler the Christmas the better. I hope you enjoy your time off from school. My break started on Friday afternoon and I don't have to go back until January 3! We have the 2nd as a holiday. Works for me!

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    1. Enjoy your break, too, Michael! It's always sorely needed by this point in the school year, isn't it? Merry Christmas to you, my friend! xx

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  22. When I mentioned effort, I wasn't really talking about putting up the tree and candles. It was more about not cooking/baking for three days straight, buying gifts for all and sundry, and going to one social gathering after another. Sparkly lights are essential for Christmas, though! :)

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  23. Your tree with all its glittering silver ornaments is a stunner.
    I'm hosting my in laws for Christmas dinner per usual. There'll be 11 of us this year. I'm a big believer in "keeping it simple." My mother in law cooks the turkey at her house and brings it with her when she arrives. I focus on the mashed potatoes and other vegetables- easy peasy. (We both contribute dessert.) My main goal for Christmas Day is to remain calm and enjoy the company. I hope you and Gregg enjoy a lovely and calm Christmas day as well. I also hope Gregg soon receives his back pay... how frustrating!

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    1. My tree with all its glittering ornaments WAS as stunner...see my latest post! Haha! Thank you for stopping by. Your dinner sounds nice. Nothing better than turkey, mashed potatoes, and veggies. Merry Christmas to you!

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  24. Your home looks beautiful and the elephants show so well. Your ficus and your larger tree are shining so prettily. I sure hope Gregg's pay is sorted out quickly. I told my sons let's limit gift buying to two presents each this year and they readily agreed, so that is a nice change.

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