Archives for posts with tag: Christmas

Santa Claus using tablet in snowy nightOh Santa. You big jolly robust lie. Thanks for the memories. I think.

Last night my almost eight year old had his world crash down around him. He discovered the truth about Santa. There is no cute discovery story here. I didn’t get to write a nice letter telling him about the magic of the holidays. I didn’t get to ease him into this. It was abrupt and frankly ugly.

He looked over my shoulder while I was tackling work stuff and happened to see a document I designed. Working mom life crashed with regular mom life. It was messy with shattered glass and tears and sadness.

He caught a glimpse of a letter to the boys from the elves. And I like to design things, so it wasn’t just in a word doc. No it had all the flair of me, perfectly laid out in a design program. And he saw it. There was no going back.

I tried. I tried to skirt the issue. I tried to ask what he believes in his heart. I tried to say I didn’t buy the elves this year. He caught the this year part. He wouldn’t believe that he had just imagined this document. He knew what he saw. He demanded the truth. Finally, I broke down, unable to lie any more, unable to clean up this mess of mine. I gave him the truth.

Then he collapsed into a hysterical mess. “There is no Santa and that means there is no Christmas.” And I felt like I’d failed as a parent. I hugged and rocked and reassured. I told him the story of how I found out. I told him this means we have a secret that’s just ours. His brother doesn’t know.

I reassured him he still gets the gifts. “Christmas isn’t about gifts!” He shouted back.

I asked if he understood that this means I’ve done the magic and that means that I love him so much that I’ve tirelessly created all of these things all these years.

Almost eight year olds can’t reason like that in the midst of world crushing news. Can adults even? Doubtful.

I left it for a couple hours. We did homework together. We chatted, about other non-Santa related things. And then it was bedtime. That gloriously difficult time of the night. The steep hill at the end of the marathon. Each boy headed to their respective room. The little one full of tantrums and pleas for never going to sleep and more water and kisses and mama mama mama mamas. The big one, patient and waiting, getting himself changed and brushed and situated.

The big one walked out of his room, requesting his song and hug. I was standing in front of the elves. The almost eight year old said, “I wish I could touch the elves.” The little one opened his door. The big one scurried back to his room. “Mama! Mama! MAMA!” The little one shouted. I urged him to get back in his room. He begrudgingly closed his door.

“Jackson, come here,” I whisper yelled. His bare feet scuffling across the wood planks, stopping abruptly in front of me. “Go ahead. Touch the elves.”

His face lit up, his eyes widened as far as they could. His eyebrow raise made me jealous. “Really?”

“Go ahead. You know. With age comes privileges like this. It’s our secret and now you know and now you can touch them. Plus. This is our game now. I’m going to make it hard to find them. And only we will know.”

He picked them up and turned them around, taking their hats off, playing with their outfits. His fingers gently moving across the felt fabric. His smiled spread across his perfectly smooth face, his dimples deep-set in his cheeks, his eyes aglow. He was beaming and happy and the magic of Christmas hovered all around his string bean body.

“Did you want to choose their outfits for tomorrow?” I asked.

“What? Outfits? You have outfits?” He was shocked.

“She’s been holding out on you. She has a whole stash,” my husband chimed in.

Then we sat on his bed, after closing the door, in secret hushed tones I showed him where they were stored and we went through each piece of clothing, discussing the outfits. He made his choice. A Christmas tree costume for his and a Candy Cane outfit for his brother’s. He requested I order a tiny soccer ball for another outfit. He went to bed happy and excited. His tears of heartbreak dried and gone, replaced by the excitement of our new tradition. Our secret.

And maybe, hopefully, the thought that growing up isn’t so bad after all. It’s just different.

Christmas is over. My husband returned to work today. It is rare for him to ever take a day off, so yesterday was a treat. The living room is still a half disaster. The dining room table, forget about it. I started trying to clear it of all the new things, but I didn’t finish. I hope today I get that done.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Daddy breaking my no treats rule....

Daddy breaking my no treats rule….

Christmas was amazing though. I had such a wonderful time. I loved watching Jack. He was so into it. Very into presents. Loves opening them. It truly did blow last year out of the water. I loved watching him play with his new things. He is so grown up. Not a baby anymore. His face looked older and he would quietly concentrate on his new things. In his own world, playing with his wonderful new stuff. I just sat near him a lot, watching, and being totally over the moon. I covered his squishy cheeks in tons of kisses because I couldn’t get over how amazing he is.

Christmas morning!

Christmas morning!

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

If I had to dream up a perfect Christmas I am pretty sure it would have went along the lines of this year. I just am over the moon for my two guys. We really had a great family time together. There were minimal tantrums. None really, in all honesty. The worst of it was late on Christmas Day at my aunt’s house. Jack was just clingy. He didn’t want me out of his sight. That really isn’t bad. Considering he is a month shy of 2 years old.

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Now we move on to New Years Eve. No big plans for that. A lot of people make resolutions. I do not do that. I find them pointless. People never follow through with them. The way I see it is, if you really, really want to change your life you will start the moment you want to change things. You don’t wait for a Monday to start a new healthy lifestyle and you don’t wait for a New Year to do it either. I haven’t always been so strict with my healthy living. It was something that I refined and honed in on over several years. It started in my early 20’s when I stopped drinking pop and I started to run on a regular basis. Over time I got sucked into this lifestyle more and more. It became part of me. Intertwined to the point where I could not function if I had to stop living how I live right this second. It is me and I am it. So for me, the concept of a total overhaul on anything in life starting January 1st seems doomed to failure. I think we need to give ourselves time to change. Let it consume your life slowly, like a lava. Slow moving, yet so very powerful and consuming. That is the key to true lifestyle change. There are no quick fixes, if there were, we would all be perfect human specimens. I wouldn’t have a temper. I would snap my fingers and never be short tempered again. I also wouldn’t bite my nails, my one big vice. And maybe just maybe I wouldn’t love shopping as much as I do. Ok, scratch that, I wouldn’t change that part of me for the world. Ha!

My point is, don’t set yourself up for failure by putting so much pressure on yourself. January 1st is not some special day where all the stars align and make it easier to change yourself. You can find that path any day of the year. Also, change may take more than one year. A true lifestyle overhaul probably will. My temper is much better since getting pregnant and having a child. I used to not have to care about it. Then I had a child, and now it matters how I respond to things. So I have developed this immense patience over time. I am not perfect and I still get frustrated, we all do. But over all, I can listen to the same cars song 100 times and still not get frustrated. I can be asked the same word over and over. I can handle a tantrum in the store, for the most part, without losing my cool. Sure, I will have a day where I too am cranky, and then maybe I will yell at my child, but I try my hardest to have less of those days and more of the patient ones. It is a practice and I  have to work at it all the time, not just starting on New Years Day and then watch the gumption of my declaration fade out slowly over the next month or maybe two.

That is my advice on New Year’s resolutions. You don’t have to take it. We are all different. That is just my view from my life experiences.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or any holiday you celebrate. I love this time of year because it is all about family. That is what is important, focusing on your loved ones. We did that to the nth degree in our home. I hope New Year’s Eve and Day go wonderfully for everyone. I won’t be putting on a skimpy hot dress and hitting the town. I will curl up with my boys in our living room and spend it with them. That is perfect for me. I may even go out and get some party hats for the 3 of us to wear! Jack is a night owl and I bet, if we let him, he will make it until midnight!

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Do you go out? Or do you stay home with your family and celebrate from your living room like we are? Do you feel how I feel about resolutions? 

I am sitting here on my couch, sipping my coffee, listening to Christmas tunes, and reflecting on the past year. Mostly thinking about the difference between last Christmas and this current one. They have both been very happy and wonderful. I thought last year was the biggest Christmas of my life, Jack’s 1st Christmas! But I have to confess that this year has blown last year out of the water. I know there is a lot of focus and importance placed on that 1st Christmas, but I think this year is even better.

Jack won’t remember a thing from last year. Not one second. He couldn’t open gifts. He couldn’t enjoy much Christmas food. I was still nursing. He has just sort of started sleeping through the night, but it wasn’t like it is now. He was not walking or talking very much. A couple times he got frustrated with the whole gift opening process. I was hosting both days. I was exhausted, swamped, and Jack really did not know what was going on. We had a wonderful time. I was excited for Christmas morning. I took videos and photos galore. I threw all of my energies into it, like I did this year. BUT this year there is a twinkle in his eye. He talks about Santa. He can actually open all of his gifts. He knows what a gift is! He knows what snowmen, elves, snowflakes, trees, lights, and candy canes are. He begged us to go play in the snow the other day.

He insists that Santa, Ho Ho, will knocky on the door, when brings Jack’s toys. Yes he says, door, knocky, Ho-ho! It makes me laugh. I have been telling him that I think Santa will be sneakier than that.

I am so excited for Christmas morning that this past week has been dragging. I am done wrapping every single gift. I really have nothing left to do for Christmas. I have to go get some food this morning, but that is it! I cannot wait for tomorrow morning. As a matter of fact I gave him one of his gifts last night. I really wanted to open it and play with it.

It is so different than last year. I see this joy in his face when he talks about all of the Christmas things. He gets excited. He wants to play with all of the ornaments on the Christmas tree. You know what, I let him. We have had a couple casualties, but mostly he only gets the shatter proof ones. I know that I am probably awful for thinking his 2nd Christmas is way cooler than his 1st, but hands down, it is. Seeing the Christmas joy in your child’s face and eyes makes such a huge difference. I imagine Christmas from here on out will be similar to this. Maybe each year topping the last. As he comprehends the world more and more.

Christmas in my house was always magical. Always. My mom went out of her way to decorate our home and our tree. I remember coming down in the morning to huge piles of gifts. Were they always super huge? Probably not, but to a child, any pile looks big. My mom always did the best with what we had for Christmas. I do not remember a non magical Christmas. Filled with lights, a tree, Christmas cheer, family parties, Christmas songs, and warm love. I have distinct memories of just the Christmas lights on in the evening as we all hung out, watching Tv or whatever. To this day I still love having only the glow of Christmas lights filling a room. I told my mom this year my passion for making Christmas so magical for Jack comes from what she always did for us. She told me it made her cry happy tears. I know now why she did it all. I thought I knew last year, but I didn’t truly understand until I saw his little face light up when I told him noises from the chimney/fireplace were Santa doing a practice run. He said HO HO! And the next time it made noise, he shouted HO HO again, all on his own. If you ask him who is coming in a couple days, well one day now, he will say “Ho Ho!” Can I stress enough how much he is into Santa? I know i keep mentioning it, but it is so cute I can’t even handle it.

Here is a look at last year and this year. Well, this year not exactly, since I cannot post Christmas photos I have not taken, but it is close enough, since Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving in this house. This year it started the day before because we were going out of town.

Last year Christmas Eve

Last year Christmas Eve

My love and me on Christmas Eve last year

My love and me on Christmas Eve last year

I took this the other day. This is one of his wonderment faces!

I took this the other day. This is one of his wonderment faces!

Loves the tree, lights, and ornaments

Loves the tree, lights, and ornaments

This was from celebrating Christmas with my inlaws last weekend. They went to SC this year to visit my sister inlaw. So we celebrated early

This was from celebrating Christmas with my inlaws last weekend. They went to SC this year to visit my sister inlaw. So we celebrated early

Merry Bearsmas. This was also our Christmas card photo!

Merry Bearsmas. This was also our Christmas card photo!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day! I hope both days are filled with love, family, joy, happiness, excitement, magic, and just peace. I hope you get an opportunity to see the wonderment in a child’s face that I know I will be completely absorbed in over these next two days. Merry Christmas!!!! Also, feel free to share your thoughts on Christmas getting more awesome as your child grows. I hope I am not the only mom who thinks the 2nd is way cooler than the 1st! 😉

Pretty the Elf has been very busy since I last wrote about him. I have been having a blast with Elf on the Shelf. Jack is into it as well. He says ELLL for elf and always find him. If my scene falls down, he tells me immediately, so I can assist Elf back to his spot. Here is an update on Pretty’s or ELLL’s activities since I last posted about him. In all honesty, I came up with all of these ideas on my own. Somehow I pulled them out of my brain. I am still not sure what adventure he will have this morning. I felt that away a lot each morning. Then, I would be walking through the house and something would catch my eye, an idea would form. I am hoping that today the same thing happens. We only have a handful of days left. I would like to form all of my own ideas this year! No research necessary.

Peekaboo! I see you! Pretty/ELLL was playing hide and go seek

Peekaboo! I see you! Pretty/ELLL was playing hide and go seek

Rock climbing. This was a favorite of Jack's. At one point the tape gave away and he fell. Suddenly Jack shouted "Mom help!!!" I came over.He followed up with "Elll fall down!" Then as I placed him back up there, Jack insisted I add more tape.

Rock climbing. This was a favorite of Jack’s. At one point the tape gave away and he fell. Suddenly Jack shouted “Mom help!!!” I came over.He followed up with “Elll fall down!” Then as I placed him back up there, Jack insisted I add more tape.

Jack had a cold, and pretty caught it. Poor elf.

Jack had a cold, and pretty caught it. Poor elf.

He was having a healthy Sunday breakfast. No syrup and candy like Buddy the Elf

He was having a healthy Sunday breakfast. No syrup and candy like Buddy the Elf

A little gardening

A little gardening

Candy Cane zip line adventures. Another favorite of Jack's

Candy Cane zip line adventures. Another favorite of Jack’s

Snowball fight!!!!!!

Snowball fight!!!!!!

Ball pit. Jack's loves ball pits. This was another favorite spot. He talked about this all day. At one point he stole some of the ornaments but left Pretty alone!

Ball pit. Jack’s loves ball pits. This was another favorite spot. He talked about this all day. At one point he stole some of the ornaments but left Pretty alone!

Reading Christmas cheer

Reading Christmas cheer

So that is where I am as of yesterday morning. I have to come up with something fun for today. I have been glancing around my living room and Jack’s playroom as I sit here. No epiphany just yet. It will come at some point though. My favorite thing is when I ask him where the Elf is, he goes back to the exact previous spot from the day before. I love his memory!

 

Have you been doing Elf on the Shelf? What is your Elf’s name? Where do you get your ideas? Do your children enjoy it?