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Nary A Princess Amongst The Lot Of Them

We have had a fantastic holiday vacation
and truly excellent Christmas. We stayed put the entire two weeks,
save for a two-day trip to a hotel about 20 miles away – yes,
our children begged for an overnight in a hotel for their big
Christmas present this year. We were happy to oblige.

And speaking of Christmas presents, I’m going to brag here
and say that there was not a single Disney Princess nor even, I say
truthfully, any type of licensed character under our tree this
year. We had a pretty toy-free Christmas, and I could not be

I’m not saying I went all Scrooge on
the girls and gave them underwear for Christmas – though Cora
would LOVE that, since she adores having a full underwear drawer
(and woe be unto you if her Days of the Week panties are not clean
on the appropriate day). We gave the girls all items they truly
wanted, without a penny going into Disney’s pocket.

Maddie’s big wish was an iPod touch – she’d been
saving up her “jewels” for one all semester. Santa came
through and left it in her stocking, and she walked around with it
in her hand almost non-stop for several days – said it made
her feel like a teenager. Great.

Cora had a real Nutcracker on the top of her list, and Santa was
happy to oblige. Cora was then happy to oblige all of US by using
it to perform the entire show of the “Nutcracker”. Many

Both girls received a HUGE – I mean HUGE – box of
books; Maddie got about fourteen paperbacks like Magic Treehouse or
A to Z Mysteries, and Cora scored with several lovely picture books
(and a few First Readers – yes, she’s on the brink!).
The girls both screamed over the box of books, which I have to say
I would have loved to have received myself. Their delight was well
worth the months Santa put into scouring the clearance shelves at
our local half-price bookstore; Maddie finished most of hers before
the holidays were over.

Maddie took in, from various relatives, a couple crossword puzzle
books, some Brain Quest flash cards (yes, we are that geeky family
and yes, she likes them), a couple lovely tea sets, a book on
making crafts out of recycled materials (yes, she asked for it),
and the one toy of the season – a Wuggle Pet machine. If you
don’t know what one is, don’t ask, but the girls
succumbed to television marketers and begged for one for Christmas.
Maddie was the recipient of the machine, which came with two pets,
and she instantly gave one of the pets to Cora. My big girl.

Cora scored big in the art department, receiving more art supplies
than some schools have: blank paper, finger paints, watercolor
paints, even some watercolor pencils. She was in heaven and
promptly scheduled a private lesson with her personal art teacher
(read: Aunt Nikkie, who fortunately for me actually is a
professional artist and teacher). Cora packed all her supplies in a
bag all by herself and spent a blissful afternoon discussing
painting techniques, bringing home her current portfolio and
discussing streaking methods and the many uses of salt in a
painting. She also received from various relatives many books and
puzzle books, a tea set, and puzzles. A few people gave the girls
some great board games, which we’ve been playing since

The only other thing we gave the girls – besides our
overnight – was a big box of costumes I’d spent a month
buying up around Halloween from various children’s resale
shop and saving until Christmas. I piled about a half-dozen tutus
and beautiful dresses into a big box and when the girls pulled off
the lid they actually squealed. Christmas literally came to a halt:
Cora began scrambling out of her pajamas right there, trying
frantically to find the perfect tutu for whatever ballet was coming
into her head. As Cora ran naked around the living room (except, of
course, for her Sunday underpants) with a tutu in hand and Maddie
scrambled to get her dress on, Brian said, “I guess
they’re going to take a break from opening their presents

So the girls had a most excellent Christmas, and Brian and I did
not have to break open a single box encased in plastic or figure
out how to untwist all the plastic twisties holding some stupid
doll onto a piece of cardboard.

Which means we, too, had a most excellent Christmas.


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