Christmas: cookies; creativity; and

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Christmas: cookies; creativity; and caffeine.

I spent my Christmas morning baking an army of gingerbread men and citrus wreaths. They were beautiful and lots of fun to decorate. Each gingerbread person had a distinct personality and the accessories to prove it.

My day's plan was to bake cookies, arrange the gifts shipped from family and then in the late afternoon, deliver cookies to Tod's office and spirit Tod away to go Chirstmas shopping. When I checked in with Tod at noon, he told me that he might have to work til 7 as his colleague's daughter was ill. Oh. no! No shopping! I hadn't bought any gifts in advance.

Since I knew what I wanted to get, but didn't think I'd find it in the neighborhood shops, I decided that I'd surprise Tod with a Christmas tree of some sort. But as it was Christmas day, all the shops had replaced Xmas decorations with New Year ones. so I went the creative route and created a paper and copper wire sculpture in the middle of the living room.

Banners of shoji paper formed a conical tent from ceiling to floor; a meter-high cone of paper, lit from inside, stood in the center of the tent as the tree. I decorated the tree with spirals of copper wire hanging from the apex and a circle of spirals at the bottom. Held together with tape and office supplies, it was a little makeshift, but it had the desired effect--Tod's eyes went waide and he was surprised.

As it turned out, Tod's coworker came in to relieve Tod at five, so we did go shopping after all. I brought a huge basket full of cookies in, and Tod passed them around. There were 90 cookies when the basket arrived and four remaining when we left to go shopping. A hungry office!

When we arrived home after shopping, we ordered a pizza (delivered 30 minutes later by a man in a Santa suit) and settled in to unwrap presents. As we went along, we discovered a theme: caffeine

The Zous, our stuffed elephants, gave Tod a traditional Italian, all-metal coffee/espresso maker. I followed up with a coffee grinder and espresso beans. Tod, trying to guess the contents of a gift from my parents, guessed that it was coffee beans; it turned out to be one of his favorite snacks, corn nuts. Tod's parents really did send coffee beans. And they sent a steam-expressed espresso/cappucino maker. Our "coffee life" is very happy.

By the time we finished unwrapping the gifts it was 11 o'clock. After our long, busy day, sleep was very welcome. Merry Christmas!

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