Friday, December 27, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Christmas Accomplishments, Chuck Norris as a Motivational Tool, and Empathizing with Charles Dickens

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Well, Christmas was amazing. As usual.

I just love the whole feel of the entire day. Before opening presents, we all gather in a room to read Luke 2 and pretend not to hear the younger kids complaining.

Then we open presents one at a time, and the kids like figuring out a silly order in which to do it (reverse alphabetical order by middle name, rainbow order by what you're wearing, longest to shortest hair, etc.) Each one plays with his or her new thing for a while until it's their turn again, and it's one of the most relaxed and fun days of the year.

My biggest accomplishment, which I'm positive I'll be bragging about for the next 12 months, is that I ordered a total of 4 complete outfits for the girls and they all worked. Let me repeat that. I ordered them online, and all of them:
  • got here on time
  • fit
  • looked cute
  • were acceptable to my teenagers (they actually liked them)
If they gave out awards for motherhood, I would win one with this.

The other highlight of Christmas morning was this police officer costume for my 3-year-old. Between him and his brother, this dress-up outfit didn't hit the floor all day. Someone was always wearing it. The one thing I didn't realize was that one of the accessories that came with the uniform was a police whistle.

The weekly hilarious recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8, Christmas mayhem style. #funny #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #relatable

So I'm deaf now.


We enjoyed our usual Christmas traditions, some more quirky than others. I enjoyed reading about some of yours on Facebook. What about the rest of you?

Our kids draw names, but instead of getting their Secret Sibling a present, they do something nice for them every day of December and then reveal who they are on Christmas Day.

I have to help the younger boys with this but my 8-year-old did this totally independently and I loved the reveal card she made for her dinosaur-loving brother:

The weekly hilarious recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8, Christmas mayhem style. #funny #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #relatable

Of course we miss days and definitely don't do perfectly at the Secret Sibling thing, but the closer I get to 40 the more I'm like, "You know what? That's okay." I've heard this about 40. I'm excited.

Another of our more unusual Christmas traditions has been dubbed "the Annual Evans Family Christmas Light Contest That Nobody Knows About."

On Christmas Eve(ish,) we drive around and look at Christmas lights, and when we come across a spectacularly decorated one we leave them a plate of cookies and a thank-you note for putting so much time into their light display.

The kids all love it, mostly because we deliver the cookies and note ding dong ditch-style, so the excitement is pretty palpable as they're all yelling "Go! Go! Go!" in the backseat while Phillip peels out the moment the child delivering the cookies sprints back and hurdles into the car.


One thing we did differently this year was our Christmas tree. Most years, we go to a Christmas tree farm and cut one down ourselves the day after Thanksgiving, and we make kind of a day out of it.

But for some reason our Saturdays were always busy (including one where I was in Florida, and I'm not complaining about that) and it just didn't happen.

It turned out to be fine, though, because if you just go to the place down the street on Christmas Eve they'll give you a tree for $20, which is a great deal for a live tree in New England.

The weekly hilarious recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8, Christmas mayhem style. #funny #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #relatable

My least favorite part of the Christmas season is decorating, anyway, so I didn't even mind doing it this way. Maybe we'll make a regular thing out of it.


The high schooler has quite a bit of schoolwork to catch up on over the break, and Phillip and I have been experimenting with different methods to encourage her to keep working hard.

My favorite is sending her a motivational Chuck Norris joke of the day via text.

This was the first any of the kids had never heard of Chuck Norris jokes before (e.g: "Chuck Norris doesn't wear a watch, he just decides what time it is" "Chuck Norris was once denied service at McDonald's so he roundhouse kicked it so hard it turned into a KFC") and they thought they were hilarious.

Every time we sit down to dinner now, my 5-year-old begs, "tell us some more Chuck Norris facts!"

I seriously thought about going online to find a What Would Chuck Norris Do? bracelet for every one of them for Christmas, but decided the shipping costs would have been exorbitant. So maybe I'll just put it on the wall in vinyl lettering or something. I'm looking into it.


Last night we watched a very entertaining movie called The Man Who Invented Christmas, and I highly recommend it.

It was the story of Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol, and I really liked it (I always like movies about writers.)

I haven't yet looked it up to see how historically accurate it was, but I can vouch for the fact that his reaction to constant interruptions when working (slow blink with a touch of eye roll) was 100% authentic.

Seriously, it's the same face I make every time I try to do anything around here.


I wrote once in a post called "Never, Never Have I Ever" that I've never bought a Magic Eraser.

Well, I bought one and I am an idiot.

Why did I not do this before?? Magic Erasers are totally magical, and I love them. They erased the grubby handprints all over every wall in this house, which soap and water don't even touch. We've tried.

It's quite possible that this is like microfiber... I've been burned before. At first I thought microfiber was a miracle fiber with super-cleaning abilities so we bought a microfiber couch and chairs, only to realize they stain easily so they always look dirty.

Of course, last time I was in a furniture store I saw zero microfiber couches but places are still selling Magic Eraser, so it's probably legit.


I always look forward to this lazy week between Christmas and New Year's. With the exception of my high schooler (who is working hard because Chuck Norris can divide by zero!) we all have nowhere to go and nothing to do. We're just going to watch some Christmas movies, take some hikes, and play some games.

And if I'm honest, another reason I look forward to this time is that when kids misbehave, I can indignantly declare "Alright, no more [insert privilege here] for the rest of the year!"

Except this time, I can threaten to take a given privilege away for the rest of the decade. That's special, people.

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Kimberly said...

Oh gosh, where do I start with this post . . .

1) “And pretend not to hear the younger kids complaining.” I’m still working on that.

2A) I love the Secret Sibling idea!
2B) Also, we will never, ever earn one of your Awesome Decoration Cookie Plates, but the tradition sounds like fun. :)
2C) Oh, THAT’S why I’m more zen about my imperfections lately--I’m in my forties now!

5) I’m sure the Charles Dickens movie is lovely, but the picture on that video link looks really demented.

7) “No more _______ for the rest of the decade!” I will definitely use this on my kids for the next few days.

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Chuck Norris jokes were HUGE when I was teaching high school. I loved using them with the kids. Did you know Chuck Norris has been dead for years? Death is just afraid to tell him.

I really like the idea of dropping cookies at the best house; that is super fun.

Jenny Evans said...

Ann-Marie: I can't take credit for the cookie idea, I heard someone mention it as something they did in their family growing up and stole it for myself! I suppose that's where most good ideas come from, though.

Handsfullmom said...

I love your Christmas lights idea. I might have to steal that one for another year. And magic erasers are awesome!