Browsing Tag: christmas


    Kinda Proud of Myself for This Christmas Decoration Hack

    December 26, 2020

    This photo above is from Christmas 2018 and shows what the front patio area of our house looks like in a normal year when I do the exterior Christmas decorations. I’ve skipped a couple years recently for personal reasons — including last year. With all that we’ve gone through in 2020, though, I was really excited to put all this back up right after Thanksgiving.

    But there was a problem. As you can see in the photo, we have a really large white planter and several decorations “sit” in the planter. It’s been filled almost to the top with soil for years, so it’s been easy to place those items in the dirt or on top of the dirt and everything looks perfect.

    The problem this year is that I emptied the planter over the summer! No dirt. Totally empty. There was nothing in there to hold the wooden candy cane in place, to hold the silver & gold branches in place, or to sit the oversized ornaments on.

    But when I was building this a month ago, I came up with an idea and made it work. This is what it looked like even without any soil in the planter.

    Not bad, right? Everything’s in there, it’s all standing straight up, and not just leaning against the edges of the planter. The two oversized ornaments that usually sit on the soil have been placed elsewhere this year, but it still works and looks good IMO.

    My solution? Styrofoam!

    I’d saved a bunch over the summer after getting rid of the soil — had a feeling it might work to recreate this little part of the Christmas scene, and I was right.

    A few strategically-placed pieces of styrofoam, held in place by a heavy bag of river rock, and it turned out perfect. Here’s how it looks from above.

    By next winter, I expect the planter will once again be filled with soil and I won’t need to get creative again. But at least for this one year, I’m kinda proud of myself for this little decorating hack. Good job, McGee.

    And as long as I have you here … Merry Christmas!!!


    A Christmas Apology

    December 25, 2017

    A confession: I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit much this year. I’ve mostly sat this Christmas out. A few weeks ago, while Cari and our daughter were decorating the tree, I asked if I could skip doing all the outside decorations we normally do, and Cari said it was okay.

    I don’t really know why I’m in this frame of mind this year. I suspect it could be something to do with losing my mom a couple months ago, or leaving my job earlier this year and dealing with some bad tastes in my mouth that came from that situation. I really don’t know.

    And I need to apologize to family and friends for this because my lack of Christmas spirit has impacted you.

    See, one of my tasks each Christmas is to keep a spreadsheet of all the people we buy gifts for, what gifts we’re buying for them, where we’re buying (or bought) them, when we ship(ped) them, etc. The spreadsheet was born out of necessity many years ago. Between December 16 and 28, we have both kids’ birthdays and Christmas — that’s a lot of gifts to buy and organize, so I started tracking it all in the spreadsheet. And then I added in gifts for other family members, friends, etc.

    Here’s the problem: I didn’t bother with the spreadsheet this year. šŸ™

    This Christmas malaise led me to skip the whole thing this year. Cari has been busier than normal with her real estate career (she’s had 13 new leads in the past six weeks just through her website, not to mention other new clients coming in from referrals), and didn’t get a chance to focus on the holidays until the last week or so. In fact, she and Sean went out Saturday (the 23rd) and spent several hours catching up on shopping — stuff that we would’ve done much earlier if I’d been on top of things and organized like I normally am. One example: We normally send out a photo book to family members as a gift each year, but that didn’t happen.

    So I need to say “I’m sorry” to friends and family this year. I’ve been a bit in the dumps mentally and just couldn’t get myself in the Christmas spirit. And some of you ended up not getting cards or gifts from us because of it.

    This isn’t an excuse, but an explanation. I promise to get back in the swing of things next year, and I’m sorry that doesn’t make up for this year.


    Our Minimalist Christmas Lighting

    November 29, 2012

    We don’t do outdoor Christmas lights at Casa McGee. At least not in the traditional, showy, make-the-house-bright-enough-to-be-seen-on-Mars way.

    It’s not that we don’t like Christmas lights; quite the contrary, and we drive around every Christmas eve and admire what other Tri-Cities homes have put on display. (Plus, we try to get over to Senske‘s amazing light production.)

    The reason we don’t do Christmas lights is that, several years ago, I was up on the roof at our old house and almost fell to my death while trying to connect a string of lights to the upper corner. And that was the end of me playing hero so we could have our house look like everyone else’s.

    What we do, instead, every year, is just change out the existing outdoor lamps from regular bulbs to colored bulbs. It looked nice at the old house, but I think it looks especially good this year at the new house. Don’t you?


    The more I look at it, the better it fits. I don’t think our new home would look right with the regular string of lights around the edges. But this minimalist look just feels perfect to me.

    Have I mentioned lately how much I love our new home?


    Poor Sparky

    May 22, 2012

    My poor dog. He’s in for something different this Christmas, and I’m sure he’s going to hate it.

    See, I was shopping online for some dog-related supplies that we need and I was about a dollar short of qualifying for free shipping. A dollar!

    So I clicked into the CLEARANCE section of this website, and then sorted the results by price, with the cheapest items first. There were plenty of options, all of which would get me over the free shipping threshold.

    After a minute or two, I chose this:


    How awesome is that??!! Oh, he’s gonna be upset. Heck, even the dog in the photo above looks like he hates it. ROFL!

    Merry Christmas, Sparky!


    Merry Christmas!

    December 25, 2011

    Just want to wish a Merry Christmas to my family, friends and anyone else who keeps an eye on this blog for one reason or another! I hope the end of the year and all of 2012 is filled with blessings for you.

    God bless,



    Black Friday is Killing Thanksgiving

    November 27, 2009

    It used to be that Black Friday sales started at 7:00 am the day after Thanksgiving. Then stores started opening at 6:00 am. Then it was 5:00 am for a few years, and then some started opening at 4:00 am in the last year or two.

    This year, some stores at the Columbia Center Mall opened at 3:00 am. But no one beat Toys-R-Us, which opened the minute that Thanksgiving was over.


    How’d you like to be one of the employees there? You probably had to show up for work 4-5 hours early to start setting up for the crowd. So much for Thanksgiving evening with the family.

    What’s next? Stores opening at 11 pm Thanksgiving night? 9 pm?

    Meanwhile, I noticed a lot of online retailers didn’t even bother waiting for Black Friday. They were pimping big “Thanksgiving Day-only” sales online, maybe hoping to get shoppers to spend a lot of money in a turkey-induced haze.

    Thanksgiving — the holiday itself — is becoming an afterthought. Black Friday is killing it, and quick.

    But we did our best to celebrate it this year. Our good friend Tassoula came to visit and enjoy a great Cari-cooked meal with us. Dee-licious!

    Thanksgiving Dinner

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too!