I for one believe that you should maximize the mileage out of your Christmas tree, which is why we usually put it up the day after Thanksgiving and keep it up until, oh, March or so. Ah, if only I were kidding. (As I have mentioned several times in the past, I would keep it up even longer than that if I could--call it an MLK tree, a Valentine's tree, a St. Patrick's Day tree by rotating the decorations) but after a certain point, I guess most people feel like having a Christmas tree up past January 1st is a soft sign for mental illness. (Another soft sign--having more than three cats, and having more than five drug "allergies" on your medical record. Oh, you know it's true.) Anyway, we don't have enough lighting in the house as it is, so the Christmas tree serves many purposes.
Thanksgiving was nice, in that it was low-key and my pie wasn't awful. Cal helped. Really, the work involved was minimal, especially given that I used a frozen pie crust--anyone can slice apples and pour a bunch of sugar and cinnamon on them. Yes, and a pinch of nutmeg, shut up about the nutmeg, Rachael Ray. The most nuanced touch Cal and I put into it was the egg wash and the sugar crust, but honestly, even a child could make this pie (and did).
I had to work the day after Thanksgiving (the OR schedule was extremely light, but there were still some cases) but I was relieved by a member of the call team by around noon and being at work was a great excuse to excuse me from of any errands that might entail going near a shopping center on Black Friday. I find the whole concept of a "doorbuster" sale highly unappealing, as it implies camping out the night before and forcibly streaming in the second the store opens, trampling whatever or whoever might get in your way to secure the latest in Tickle Me Elmo technology. Someone actually gave us a Tickle Me Elmo for Christmas a few years ago (it was the model that not only talked and shook, but also would throw itself on the ground flailing its limbs and screaming) and that little buddy ended up disemboweled of its batteries and at the bottom of a storage bin in due time.
We are going to visit my parents in New York for a few days next weekend, which should be fun except for the part where we have to travel with two kids. Cal will be fine--he's old enough that he can be entertained by any number of things, be it drawing or activity books or DVDs or endlessly writing strings of cramped letters and numbers on a page until the entire surface is filled. (At best, I think, great, a facility for math and reading! But sometimes it looks a little serial killer-y, like Kevin Spacey in "Seven.") Mack, however, will probably be tougher to handle, as he has neither the attention nor the inclination towards distractibility and probably spends 80% of his waking time trying to inflict bodily harm to himself. It just makes him feel so alive. You could put him in a room full of colorful toddler-appropriate toys that light up and play music and teach you Latin while giving you a massage, and the first thing he'd gravitate towards would be the single outlet in the room, so he could try to stick the box cutter into it.
(Never fear, o vigilant internet, the ornament is plastic! As well as delicious. He will be shitting glitter for days.)
I haven't been back to New York for about a year and a half, which is far and away the longest I've been away from home (as I will probably always continue to think of it, no matter how long we've been here). The only time I haven't lived in Manhattan was for college, and that was just in Boston. In those carefree, pre-9/11 days, going between Boston and New York was as easy as hopping on the subway--one time, lacking any other form of identification, I even got on the plane with my library card. It would be great to be visit New York regardless of what time of year we went, but there's something great about the city at Christmas, so I'm especially glad that we can be there close to the holidays. I can't wait to take Cal to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. I've said this before but I'll say it again, because I am old and this is what old people do. It's one thing to enjoy the holidays (and I do), but it's a whole other thing to watch your kids enjoy the holidays. Kind of reminds you what it was like to be a kid yourself.