Sorry about the radio silence. I’ve been really enjoying the holidays this year, and loving the freedom to try new ways of celebrating.
The kids’ Christmas Vacation (excuse me, “Winter Break”) got off to an early start this year on account of being snowed in for what would have been the the last three days of school. By the official beginning of the break they were suffering from a nervewracking mix of cabin fever and Christmas anticipation, and it seemed like I was dealing with one ridiculous squabble after another. I recalled that we’d had a similar situation last year, and had solved it by letting the kids have one early gift to keep them occupied. I decided that that was worth turning into a tradition, and we busted out the jumbo tub of Tinkertoys that had originally been meant to be a Christmas gift. Brilliant! They played happily with those and the bickering ceased.
And by the end of that day they had created this:
It’s the Enterprise 1701, of course. Just brings a tear to a mother’s eye.
Our traditional Christmas Eve consists of opening one gift each and then watching The Muppets’ Christmas Carol together. I LOVE that movie.
This year was a bit different: we each opened our gift and then we went to church for an evening candelight service. That was wonderful, and will definitely be a regular part of our Christmas Eves from now on. Then we came home and snuggled up and watched The Muppets’ Christmas Carol, and I cannot remember a year when I’ve felt more deeply attuned to its sweet message of love and thankfulness.
And then the kids went to bed, and I stayed up till the wee hours wrapping the last of the presents and putting them under the tree along with the various items that don’t get wrapped. We always have several toys that are arranged, unwrapped and ready to be played with, beneath the tree after the kids are asleep. These are things that are either for Luke and Elizabeth to share, or there’s no question of who they are meant for.
We had another new twist this year, and frankly I found a bit baffling.
I’ve never ever told my kids that Santa Claus was real. I’ve told them the stories, of course, and we read “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” every year, but I’ve always said that it was just a fun story people like to tell.
Last year, when Elizabeth was at the age when few kids still believe anyway, both of my offspring began peppering me with questions about how I really KNEW that Santa wasn’t real. I stood my ground on his fictional status, but they seemed unconvinced.
This year they specifically stated that they wished to receive one present each from good St. Nick himself. The implication here was that my blatant unbelief had been keeping him away all these years, and that I was to Knock It Off immediately and let the jolly old elf do his bit.
Fine. Who am I to squash my children’s holiday fantasies? I bought a whole ‘nother roll of fancy wrapping paper, snuck it into the house, and on Christmas Eve I wrapped one gift for each child plus one for the family in this Special Santa Wrap. Then I faked guy handwriting as best I could for the To/From tags. If I’d been a bit more on the ball I would have taken the tags to church and had an actual guy write them out, but one can’t think of everything.
I actually slept in pretty late Christmas morning, and the kids let me because they were happily occupied with the contents of their stockings and with the unwrapped stuff. Come to think of it, that may be why we started doing it that way in the first place. Sometimes an extra couple hours’ sleep is a gift unto itself.
Speaking of which, I’m off to bed. To Be Continued…