This year is the Christmas of “good enough”. We’ve been so busy (as anybody who gets paid by the hour can especially understand) that we haven’t been able to prepare for Christmas up to the usual standards.
The last two years we spent an astronomical amount on our Christmas tree. Yes, the trees were beautiful but c’mon, it’s just a tree. This year we managed to secure a tree straight from the forest-legally obtained, I assure you. It’s about 2 meters tall and a bit crooked. It is definitely good enough, and it came at a fraction of the cost of last year’s tree. It’s amazing what you can arrange while drinking beer outside the local shop.*
We bought fewer presents than usual this year. Our girls left their letters for Santa on Saint Nicholas Day and we bought a few things from the list. We’ve learned from past Christmases that sometimes things very important on St. Nicholas Day are long forgotten by Christmas. As far as presents go, the girls received enough. (We decided not to buy the top present on the list. Can you guess what it is? This is how it was written: Tłajlajt Dasz. Any ideas?)
Our house is pretty much clean. Well, it is much less dirty than if was a few days ago. I don’t really have the time or energy to clean it top-notch so clean enough will have to do. Nobody likes us so nobody is going to visit us anyway więc good enough for us is good enough at all.
As far as our Christmas menu is concerned, we went easy on the labor, heavy on the out-sourcing. OK, I did go all out and make Christmas cookies myself. The rest I ordered from a hotel restaurant. Christmas supper was delicious. Merry Christmas to me.
What does all of this good enough stuff mean? Well, it means that on Monday when Misiu went to work and the whole village was cooking and hoovering, we girls went to the village library to chill out. We had some books to take back plus some more books and puzzles donated by a friend, sorted out in her pre-Christmas cleaning frenzy. Lizzie and Rosie chose some books for the Christmas break and Lizzie even found a book from her second grade reading list that she needs for school. Then the girls set into making Christmas ornaments from plaster. They glittered up the whole library. I chose some books for Misiu including “Gulag” as a revenge for his last year’s Christmas present of two books about WW2. The librarian even made us tea. She was very moved when we gave her a chocolate-covered ginger bread and wished her a merry Christmas.
Good enough also means that on Christmas Eve we spent the whole day together and enjoyed each other’s company. OK, we exiled the kids outside for awhile but it wasn’t because we wanted them out from under our feet, but because the weather was so nice it was a pity to stay inside. The girls invited the neighbor kids and they had a pre-Christmas uczta in the barn.
Today we spent the morning assembling Legos. I mean somebody did. It wasn’t me. I chose the dollhouse pre-assembled and talking Barbie with batteries included**. Later the neighbor invited us because their new gaming system was in English and they couldn’t figure out how to switch it to Polish. We were served 5 different kinds of cake, all home-made, all delicious. Next we were served a collection of dishes- salads, fried fish, cold fish, bigos, pierogi. Once again, everything was homemade and everything was delicious and our hostess didn’t sit down for a minute. She said it’s not in her nature. She likes to be in the kitchen, on the move, serving people. To each his own.
Locating the Christmas tree in the kids’ room is a stroke of genius we happened upon a few years ago. All the Christmas chaos is contained in one area. It does have its drawbacks though, for Santa I mean. Get the presents under the tree undetected with two little ladies sleeping just a step or two away? Challenge accepted!
I also had a minute to enjoy the sunrise which took place after we opened all the presents this morning. My little Amerykanki woke up pretty early.
I hope that everybody had a “good enough” Christmas too.
*All and any beer consumed outside the local shop was done so by Misiu, not by me that’s for sure.
**I would like to take the opportunity to apologize to anyone who bought a talking Barbie that happened to scare their child this Christmas. Misiu couldn’t resist recording “I’m a scary Barbie” in a monster voice on most of the talking Barbies at Smyk. Whoopsee.