Saturday, December 2, 2006

Happy December!!

I am not really a Christmas person. Could be because I found the holidays stressful througout my teenage years. That was totally my own doing as my parents always prepared a wonderful holiday season for us. Then the couple of years around Kori's birth were a wee bit strained around the holidays as well. I did see some hope in enjoying the holidays as the kids began to understand the excitement. Then I worried about pulling off a nice holiday for everyone. It didn't go very well: If mom is unhappy, ain't noone happy. So the last couple of years I've let myself get caught up in the whole month of December. This seems to be working out with some success.

I spend the time from November 1 to December 1 griping and complaining (in 'pretend negativity' as I'm really not that grumpy about it; I just avoid it if I can) about the commercialism in the stores. Some poor sap spends the night of Hallowe'en cramming all the unsold Hallowe'en costumes onto one shelf. Then the rest of the night, they have to beautifully display Christmas candy and decorations in prominent spots throughout the stores. Really, is that enjoyable?? Novemeber 1 we walk into our local WalMart and poor Kori nearly peed her pants in fright when the 4' Santa moved and sang at her. It's a good thing I was holding her hand when she jumped because she nearly fell over.

So to avoid the unecessary pre-holiday stress I used to take on, I consciously make effort to have our home decorated for Fall. Until yesterday, there was a cornicopia on my table. There was a scarecrow in the hallway. Leaves and pinecones and fall placemats. Any Christmas shopping has usually been post-poned and only exists in list form. Now, this year, Brain and I have been able to have two kidless days so a lot of our shopping was done then. That seemed to work. No stress overload. Only some minor, infrequent anxiety. So shopping in November might be an option again for next year.

Our first holiday activity is normally the local Santa Clause Parade. THEN we being talking about how Advent is approaching. THEN I begin doing the mental math making sure I have wreath supplies on hand and filling up the calendar with specific holiday plans.

Yesterday was December First. The kids know Advent doesn't start until Sunday. We deep cleaned the upstairs - bedrooms and bathroom. Now, throughout the busy month of holiday celebrations, things will only need a passing over. We'll do downstairs today. We went around collecting the Fall decorations and packing them away in their spot on the shelf downstairs. I took the kids' chocolate Advent calendars out of the freezer (we have not done chocolate calendars in I don't know how long, but these were a gift from Uncle Brad's trip to Disney last month. He brought home chocolate. I recommend the Disney chocolate calendars if you're going to do them. Individually wrapped in foil, a generours hunk of lovely chocolate. But I digress). We set out the Winterish placemats and matching centerpiece.

Today we will continue to dig out the Advent/Holiday decorations. I have the St.Nicholas book in the basket, ready to read. I might even go to church tomorrow.

The tree is up for discussion this year. Normally, we celebrate Kori's birthday on the 23rd. After birthday celebrations, we put up the tree - usually on the morning of the 24th. Presents arrive throughout the day. Nice Christmas Eve dinner (the kids request the menu - last year I think we had pizza, or chicken fingers...). We follow Brian's German tradition of gift giving on the 24th. Works out nicely. However, this year, Kori has asked to put the tree up early. We don't usually miss having the tree up, with the Advent wreath and a daily Advent activity. So we'll see. Maybe if I can spare the space.

So in all this rambling, I guess I'm trying to say that after a few false starts, Chrismas is becoming enjoyable again. It's really nice to be able to fall back onto Brian and be able to ask him to make the decisions with things I'm feeling particularly stressed about. He's good like that. We've managed to carve out something that the kids understand and enjoy, something that I am ok with planning, something that is balanced and sustainable for the month and something not so overdone that we diminish Kori's birthday.

Now....if it would only stop raining....

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