The day after Christmas goes by several different names around Casa McGlinchey:
1) Boxing Day;
2) Uncle Zan's birthday; and
3) "Every Part of the Buffalo" Day.
Like a modern-day Native American squaw, I went out foraging this morning (to World Market, Target and Pier 1 - to buy wrapping paper and other holiday decor on clearance, as well as board games and other toys to put up for birthday gifts), and then I spent the remainder of the day breaking down The Buffalo. The Buffalo, in this extended metaphor, being the aftermath of Christmas. No, I didn't take down the decorations - but I did: pull everything out of the old pine blanket chest that serves as a coffee table as well as gift wrap central; collapse gift boxes and put them in the bottom of the blanket chest; sort through holiday gift bags, segregating about thirty to put into a future garage sale and putting what was left on top of the boxes; organize newly purchased tubes of gift wrap on top of the gift bags; consolidate small pieces of gift wrap onto one tube; cut empty gift wrap tubes into segments for use in future party cracker projects; sort through ribbon and package ties and determine what can be used next year; cut the rest of the ribbon (stuff with knots that I couldn't untie, and stuff that had been reused to the point that I was just dealing with ribbon fragments) into short lengths for future use in a craft project which I will explain later; and so on and so forth. Very little got thrown away; almost everything got recycled.
I also took the time to wrap the "gift closet" gifts that I purchased for the boys, intent being that I will take them up to work and store them in the aforementioned gift closet, which doubles as a credenza in my office. See, I have three IKEA credenzas in my office. I bought them because, in no particular order: they are the same lovely blonde wood as my desks (I have two, placed in an L shape) and bookcase; the design of them is really cool (cabinet up top with a drop down door that could double as a stand-up desk, three roomy drawers down below); and they add vertical interest and take up wall space in my fairly large office.
The problem is, I don't have a lot to store in them.
I can't store client files in them, other than temporarily, because firm policy is to maintain a central filing system. Reason for this policy is twofold: files should be where everyone can access them, and once upon a time a tornado passed right by our building. We didn't get a direct hit, but others down the street were not so lucky. Any files on the perimeter of the building were picked up and deposited miles away. So, central filing is strategically located "in the middle."
I do have some other work files that still exist in paper format - form documents, seminar papers, etc. - but they already had a home in the form of a low and long file cabinet that moved with me when I switched offices awhile back. Result: three empty (and very roomy) credenzas. In which I store personal papers (my old PTA and Junior Club president notebooks), manila envelopes into which I have "organized" the kids' art (by "organized" I mean "shoved in haphazardly") and kid gifts. Which are now pre-wrapped. I fully intend to make a list of what is wrapped in which box, so at some point in the future I can avoid having to unwrap a box to determine its contents. I fully expect that I shall fail in this endeavor.
While I was out foraging, I applied some Christmas money to table linens (holiday and other) and some great square plates that I have been coveting at Marshall's. They are robin's egg blue, like the walls in my dining room and my mom's everyday dishes. Table linens were on my mind, because one of my gifts from my sweet spouse was a folding banquet table. While I love our very old oak gateleg table (purchased by my mother from a favorite antique store back in Houston, and also lovingly - and quite professionally - refinished by my mother), it is an odd size, given its age, and because of the gatelegs you really can't pull up more than four chairs to it. Now I have a standard 72-x-30 table that I can put up in the dining room when we entertain, and I can move our real dining table (which is entirely portable, given that both sides drop down - the true genius of a gateleg, and an awesome feature in a small house) into the den and set up another seating or serving area in there. The true greatness of a 72-x-30 table is that most rectangular tablecloths will fit it with an equal drop all around - not something I'm used to, given the odd dimensions of the gateleg. Thus, for the first time ever, I could shop for tablecloths with abandon.
I returned with two Christmas tablecloths (one primarily red and one in candy tones) plus a Thanksgiving tablecloth that I got on deep clearance, a really cool reversible table runner, and a brown-and-aqua paisley tablecloth that is almost the same pattern as our dining room rug. Oh, and napkins. Lots of napkins. And napkin rings.
Mid-taking-apart-the-buffalo, I stopped to play with my new table stuff. And discovered that the first of the two holiday tablecloths is amazingly versatile. Here it is with some of my go-to holiday dishware:
Um, you can't actually see the tablecloth in this photo, on account of the reversible table runner (reversed to the lime green side). You can see it better in the next two photos, which feature a tablescape of trees and houses to match the design of the tablecloth:
I used the napkins that go with the red cloth to pick up the color of one of the tablescape houses, but I really like the napkins that go with the multi-toned cloth. They are a bright-colored paisley with no actual Christmas motif, so I can use them year-round.
Third incarnation of the versatile tablecloth:
Matryoshki dishes were a gift from my mom. They are actually the reason I started my foraging at World Market. I wanted to pick up four more. No such luck. But I did pick up the paper plates that coordinate with the earthenware ones, along with paper napkins featuring Japanese kokeshi dolls. I started collecting matryoshki as an adult, and I have a collection of kokeshi that my dad started for me when I was a kid, so that's the doll tie-in. In keeping with this being "Every Part of the Buffalo" Day, I also purchased a package of matryoshki Christmas cards at World Market for four bucks. A chain of little dolls fold out from the inside of the big exterior doll. I removed all of the doll chains, kept half of them intact for use in a future decorating project, put aside the big doll cutouts to assemble into a garland, and separated the remaining little dolls with the intent of converting them into cupcake toppers. But that's for a party to be held next holiday season. Probably - if I can wait that long.
Some of my matryoshki are shown below.
The green felt tree was also a day-after-Christmas acquisition. Initially the store had three - the green one and two aqua ones. I purchased the aqua ones. And then felt sorry for the orphaned green one. But not sorry enough to pay full price for it.
It looks cute with my nesting dolls, though:
The brightly colored, Russian-esque ornaments in the vase were a Target after-Christmas score. They were a buck apiece, and they are PLASTIC. Love plastic ornies for vase fillers - lightweight, and you can't kill them.
Last tablescape for today features the red tablecloth, which I loved because of its retro ornament design and because of the colors in it (pale green and aqua, to match my favorite dish sets).
Obviously, I enjoy mixing and matching and seeing how many combinations I can come up with using the same raw materials. What can I say: I was a Garanimals kid growing up. And I still have a Garanimals mentality. When you live in a small house, everything has to be multi-purpose, or you can't justify making space for it.
Although, if my table linen collection gets too out of hand, I probably have some unused credenza space at the office . . . .