Merry Christmas

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Last night I got home from work, went upstairs to change into lounge clothes and saw that someone had messed with the presents.  I had wrapped 3/4 of them, and hid them all in the corner of the room under a pile of blankets.  I came downstairs to find out Karl had moved the blankets to organize the room, Emerson came in and saw Nunya.  For those who follow me on Instagram you know this past May I bought Em's first Christmas present – a discontinued Lalaloopsy known as “Nunya Bizness” on the YouTube channel AllAboutMeep (and now you know how weird YouTube REALLY is, and why videos like Gangham Style have millions of views – it's all kids).  I found Nunya new in original box on eBay (and cheaper than original price) and have kept it at the office all year to ensure it was a surprise.  I was so upset, I didn't know how to handle it.  Karl felt I was being overdramatic, but Emerson's an age where she's not sure if Santa is real, but told me she WANTS to believe.  So I told Emerson that not all presents come from Santa, some come from me and Daddy.  The presents that were wrapped, Santa dropped by earlier that week because there's so many kids on the Nice List this year his sleigh would be too full Christmas Eve so he left a few presents early.  But the presents she saw were from us.  She said all she saw was Nunya and was so excited and would pretend for Santa that she was surprised.

This morning Emerson woke up and said Santa asked her in her dream to be his helper and she needed to put all the presents under the tree.  So this morning in her too-small pajamas (good thing “Santa” is bringing her new ones to fit her post-growth spurt) she carried each present one by one down the stairs and arranged them just so, with Nunya right in front (she recognized the shape of the box).

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Emerson this morning with our Jaclyn Smith Special

Tonight we go to my sister’s house where she decorates her adorable home so beautifully and cooks a gourmet meal.  We will each give thanks for the wonderful things in our life, and Emerson will start with what she is thankful for.  We finish by saying “Wyoming.” We eat by candlelight, and after the meal my mom reads The Night Before Christmas. Christmas morning, Emerson wakes to find “Santa” has brought her stocking up to the foot of her bed and it’s full of little gifts that will hopefully entertain her a while and let us parents sleep in. We all get dressed and go downstairs and get ready for family. My sister, my mom, and her boyfriend (and sometimes a few others too!) come over and we open presents while eating a bit of breakfast (this year will be bagels with cream cheese, lox, red onion and other toppings with plenty of coffee). We take turns – The youngest (Emerson) will find a gift under the tree for everyone except herself, we all open and ooh and aah. Then the next younger doles out gifts, and so on. We continue this until there are no presents left, so we’re known to separate presents into different packages, and buy tiny gifts we can hide in the tree. After, we have a big brunch cooked by Karl, and he always features at least one Norwegian food to recognize his family. That evening, us Ashpes girls go to the movies together – this year we’re thinking we’ll go see Into the Woods.

Christmas means different things to different people and at different times of their lives – when I worked retail it meant finally having a day off work since the insanity that started the day after Thanksgiving. When I was in my 20s it meant a reason for ugly Christmas sweaters, red lipstick, and drinks with Peppermint Schnapps. And now it’s a time to slow down, reflect on the year, and end it with the people I love the most. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by love, to have a home to share for the holiday, the ability to put some gifts under that tree (and to wrap those presents with two hands), and a job that gives me a bit of time off to enjoy all of this. I thank you all for being a part of my life this year, you have given me friendship, advice, honesty, perspective, and a lot of laughs. The happiest of holidays to you and yours, I’ll be back around the first of the year and can’t wait to reconnect then!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. What a lovely reflection Alison. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been distraught/furious/irrational in the past when I thought the girls had been snooping, so I feel you on the presents getting found out. We’ve struggled with where to hide this year – the girls are at my office often enough that they would find them there. We decided on the crawl space in the basement inside old suitcases. If they ever discover that space we are screwed.

  2. The tree!! It looks great! Tha ka for sharing all of your advice and your family’s adventures. Merry Christmas, honey. XO

  3. A merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family. Emerson looks quite proud of her work in being Santa’s little helper!

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