Merrily We Roll

Like many of you, Malcolms are in the final push to Christmas! We fly to England Saturday morning to spend the holiday with Bill’s family. Our family’s December schedule is flip-flopping around like a fish freshly pulled to shore. My mind is carrying me along in the same fashion of fits and bursts…

Last night on my way out to a writers’ meeting, I asked Liam what he had to do as Secret Santa today. “Oh, it’s the last day, so I need a gift under $15 to give him,” he oh-so-casually explained. Liam is in 6th grade, so I’ve had many years of experience with this kind of last-minute information. We gathered six doo-dads I had picked up from Target’s party favor shelves earlier in December. Then, I looked at the four dozen Snickerdoodles I had made that morning. Do I want to part with a few of these for a Secret Santa gift? Yes, a dozen cookies would elevate the value of this gift, particularly if I assigned a dollar amount to the 6 a.m. labor that went into these cinnamon & sugar lovlies.

As something a little different for Christmas treats, I made almond crackers and breadsticks with a batch of hummus early Sunday morning. I put a package together to give to my neighbors who have four little children; they weren’t home so I left the box on the front seat of their pick-up truck. That afternoon we four Malcolms went to a Christmas concert in Boston. In the middle of the Hallelujah chorus, it hit me: Nuts! Oh my God, nuts! Do any of the kids have a nut allergy?!?! Holding my phone under the table, I quickly dimmed the screen light and texted my neighbor. Later, I learned there were no nut allergies. Hallelujah.

Earlier this month, we went out to dinner, and I took the Christmas Chat Pack with us to prime conversation before dinner. I love these cards; in fact, it would’ve been nice to give these to Liam’s Secret Santa buddy. But I digress… One of the questions was “what is your favorite part of Christmas decorations?” Both Will and Liam agreed: lights. That nugget channeled my decorating energy; I didn’t need every single tub of Christmas decorations opened and distributed — I needed some basics, plus a whole bunch of lights. I bought eight new strings of white lights to cheer up the living room and kitchen; I’m averaging hanging two strings each week of December. The string that I hung in 10 minutes yesterday lights garland in the kitchen, plus an empty high shelf. The glow is sweet enough; I don’t feel a real need to add a bauble to that shelf.

Will and Liam are 14 and 11, respectively; they are old enough to sit through Christmas concerts and musicals. Of course, there is a bit of negotiation involved with Liam. “Will there be popcorn?” “Can I have Skittles?” I acquiesce in order to sit through live entertainment with my family at Christmas time. Last Sunday at the concert, Liam proclaimed, “This is food heaven with great music! Good fun!” At 51 years old, I’m no longer above bribery. On the way home, we cinched the seatbelt around Liam extra tight to keep his sugar-bounce in check.

At the end of November, I purchased some small peppermint bath bombs as gifts — and as I write this, I wonder where I hid them. But I digress… Late one evening, I decided to try one out in a foot bath. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never used one before. I filled my foot tub with warm water, placed it at the foot of my recliner, and dropped a bath bomb in. I slid my feet in and watched and waited. For being a bath “bomb,” very little was happening; it was just bouncing around on the surface of the water and I smelled no peppermint. I had expected it to dissolve more quickly. A couple minutes later, I plucked it out of the water to inspect it. Did you know that bath bombs are wrapped in plastic which must be removed for them to fizz and add happiness to a tub and aroma to the room?!?!

Hoping you are merrily rolling along this holiday season! Happy Hump Day!