Thursday, January 01, 2015

Holiday Resolutions...Results are In!

Above: the sum total of our Christmas decorations with the tiny tree dwarfed by our presents to each other. (If you don't count our display of holiday cards.)

Before Holidailies began I made some Holiday Resolutions in this space. So it's time to review them now that the holidays are drawing to a close. See? Another great thing about holiday resolutions (as opposed to New Year's ones) is that the results are in soon enough. A year is too long a time to give yourself. I can sit here today (a rainy New Year's Day with temperatures in the 40's at best) and review them and be done and dusted of resolutions.

So here's my assessment based on the promises made in the above link:
  • I have steered clear of the malls, the big box stores, etc. I probably need a trip to Costco some time after January 10 or so to stock up on cheese and some paper goods. And maybe even pick up a new gadget or two. (Or not.) In all honesty I don't really usually shop malls and big box stores. Make resolutions you can keep I say.
  • We shopped independent stores. FFP bought me a couple of great books at Book People, the large independent book store that is a short walk from us. (They are in the package above before the Christmas Eve unwrapping.) I have started to dip into both of them: "Invictus" by John Carlin and "When Paris Went Dark" by Ronald Rosbottom. Both going to be great reads.I bought him a tie. I know, trite. However. I bought it at an independent clothing store downtown. I walked over there. AND I bought it off a mannequin in the window. FFP admired it one day when we were walking by. And I remembered. It was the only one they had exactly like that. He liked it and spent a bunch of time matching it to shirts and jackets. He loves clothes. We also shopped at his favorite store, an independent clothing store not far but not walkable, where he got a new suit, a new leather jacket and we both got new belts. He bought some sweaters at a chain store but at least it was one he could walk to! He bought a new hat (the kind golfers and hip musicians wear) at Goorin Brothers and while it's a national brand they are a very old (100+ years plus) hat maker. They have a single Texas store on South Congress. And yes, we walked there. We bought more books at South Congress Books as gifts to ourselves. This is a regular stop on one of our walks. I got two catalogs form Lance Letsher shows at a French gallery for myself. While I sort of gave in on the decorations (see below and above) we did shop for the tiny tree and its 'ornaments' at Toy Joy, a short walk over on Second Street from our apartment. So yeah we were jolly elves to ourselves but shopped pretty much independent and in the 'hood. We also bought libations for friends at Austin Wine Merchant, a great wine and liquor store in our neighborhood. (We can, in fact, walk to five or six liquor stores and several more places where wine and beer is available.)
  • I forgave myself for the crass gift of money to relatives. In point of fact I ended up purchasing some actual gifts as well and sending to my great nephews. However, my niece gave me quite specific directions. (Next year I'm going to buy a Lego toy for myself and put it together over the holidays. Maybe.)
  • I refrained from anything resembling a Santa or Elf Costume. I did wear my ancient red blazer to several parties. As festive as I got. How old is it? Well, I'm not sure, but it's probably twenty years old. When people complimented me on it, I said it was vintage but that I bought it when it was new! 
  • I did not cook a turkey or a ham. I graciously ate the (pre-cooked) one our Thanksgiving hosts provided. I did cook up some sausages and bacon in the microwave, (something I almost never do) as special holiday breakfast treats.
  • I spent not one iota of interest on the arguments over religion during the holiday. I noticed, with some amusement, that a nativity scene was place at the Capitol briefly and some believers in separation of church and state were offended. I was offended by nothing anyone did and enjoyed all the jolly trees and people's celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah on facebook. We were not invited to the Winter Solstice party. We used to get invited but I guess we were not good enough guests. Or pagan enough. In any case, it was one more night that we had to ourselves to enjoy our calm holiday.
  • I didn't decorate too much. FFP wanted a tree so we bought the one above and added tiny bats, flamingos, etc to decorate it. Got it at ToyJoy as mentioned above. I didn't drag out my bendable, posable holiday collection and other decorations from the depths of my storage cage. The one Santa above got left out after the last Christmas the bendable guys were up here. The several ornaments around him are ones we received over the holidays.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the decorations of others. There are several examples on our Austin Daily Photo blog. People go to so much trouble and I enjoy it. We didn't go driving around to look at lights, however.
  • We ate at several great restaurants and enjoyed parties. We even gave a dinner party for an (early) New Year's Eve dinner. We tried out a new restaurant and went to some tried and true ones, too. Didn't do Threadgill's (or any other place) on actual Christmas Day. Stayed in and had whatever we pleased from a stocked frig. 
  • We did see some movies. Well, one at the theater around the corner (Violet Crown) which was "Foxcatcher." Good but disturbing movie. We watched a DVD of "Gone with the Wind" and one of "Jezebel" and also watched the Christmas scene and a few others from "Giant."
  • We enjoyed the parties. Even though we didn't give a party we treated a couple of people to dinners and hosted a small party in a restaurant early on NYE as mentioned above. Maybe next year I'll give a party but probably not. The ones we attended were outstanding. Our dinner party was flawless with great conversation from very interesting guests.
Now that was simple wasn't it? Holiday or New Year's...I think the secret to resolutions is making ones you can certainly keep!

Lastly, for this holiday wrap-up, I bring you my assessment of the ritual holiday cards. As mentioned here I did not send cards this year but rather replied to the ones I received. But only the ones that were from individuals (not businesses or Realtors or brokers or charities). In the end I received two from people I could not remember knowing including two copies of one of them. FFP remembered being asked a favor by one of them. Didn't reply to those either. How could you write a personal note to someone you can't remember anything about? I also did not reply to one from one half of a couple who divorced. Didn't have it in me to write a note.

So...we received 22 cards from businesses, charities, brokers, etc. I got 56 from individuals who made the cut to reply to although two were from relatives that I had actually sent cards to before Thanksgiving with Christmas money in them. A lot of them were simple matte or glossy cards with family pictures. Some included those letters summing up the year in some fashion. One was only said letter but it was illustrated. Some were simply seasonal art or photos. There were snow scenes, snowmen, a Matisse chapel cut out card, the three wise men, doves, dogs, cats, ornaments, owls, Santas, wreaths, penguins, snowflakes, trees, birds, A few wrote a substantial personal note in actual handwriting expressing more or less heartfelt desires to see us in person or wish us well. I sent 57 cards including the three preemptive ones to relatives. (Two later sent me one and one had a form letter describing the year and another had a picture of the kid and a hand-written thanks for the money. One just sent a thank you, I think.) So I have a stack of paper and cardboard with glitter drifting from some of them. I'll keep them for a bit and then they will hit the trash or recycling bin. I'll save a few pictures. All in all, I enjoyed them and I've given the Matisse one a place of honor on my shelf.

Endings. And this ends Holidailies, too. Hope you enjoyed it. I have. But now I have one less duty of a morning and can do some other tasks around here. Or, you know, sit in my chair and stare dreamily out the window.