This time of year, radio stations that have been blasting Rudolph and Andy Williams since Thanksgiving return to their regularly scheduled programs. Which is as it should be. Because you can take only so much of the "Twelve Days of Christmas," especially the versions with those weird lyrics about bringing just four colored lights for the tree. (I'm looking at you, Andy.) But as for the rest of the holiday hoopla, I feel like I'm just getting started. Maybe that's because I finished decorating the day before Christmas Eve and plan to leave everything up until Martin Luther King Day. Some people may think that's strange, but to me, when all the excitement/merriment/chocolate mint of the big day is over, it's finally time to sit back, cinnamon tea in hand, and enjoy all those festive garlands and scary Santas. It's also the best time to score bargains. Especially on decorations.
Years of experience have taught me not to burst into Target or Macy's expecting mountains of discounted, glittery loot to fall at my snow boots, though. The post-game shopping game requires more strategy. Instead of expecting a garden of goods, I hunt for delicate dandelions and violets curling up from the sidewalk crack crannies of shelves and clearance bins. This pay dirt is often half-hidden by the moss and weeds of stuff that's broken or just plain ugly (and yes, I know that most people consider dandelions to be weeds, but to this horticultural hoarder, they're the belles of the Christmas ball). Like so much of life, post-holiday shopping is all about managing expectations. So although I didn't unearth as much as I would've liked during my expeditions, I was pretty pleased to find this wreath for 70% off at Michaels (just $18!) and this trio of LC Lauren Conrad pastel pine trees for 70% at Kohl's (just $2.12 thanks to $10 in Kohl's cash!).
Here's some other stuff that less holiday hustle and bustle gave me the chance to do:
1) Wear (and photograph) this Pretty Pompom Presents Barrette. I've always wanted to make an accessory out of those tiny shiny packages they sell with the mini tree decorations in craft stores, and now I have! I think the mini pompoms add that certain something.
Ugly sweater print top: Xhilaration, Target
Mickey & Minnie sweatshirt: Disney, Kohl's
Pretty Pompom Presents Barrette
2) Take a proper pic of the husband's newest gingerbread creation: a castle!
This is the first thing the husband built using his own homemade gingerbread instead of graham crackers. It's been standing for a couple of weeks now and so has proved to be structurally sound. I assume that it's also delicious -- emphasis on "assume," as half-month-old gingerbread doesn't make for the best eating (or the calmest colon). Still, I was more than willing to gobble up the consolation prize of leftover gumdrops and Swedish fish.
3) Like most people, I visited with lots of family this week. And most of them agreed that what everyone wants for Christmas after Christmas is to stay home in their pajamas all day. There's just something about the go-go-go pace that comes with cranking out cookies, prettying up presents, and smiling like you mean it on demand all the time that makes you want to hibernate with a good book, Netflix account, and/or homemade tattoo kit (hey, I don't know what you're into) until March when Rita's reopens with free water ice. Yep, the week after Christmas is that sweet spot of you-time (provided that you don't have pets or small children -- or parents -- in diapers) between the 25th and whenever you've agreed to rejoin the rat race.
And that makes it truly -- sing it with me, Andy -- the most wonderful time of the year.