Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Tale of a Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas – it was very quiet and relaxing and we didn’t leave the house at all. And after the total craziness of the month and all the activities and parties, we were absolutely fine with that. The day got off to an early start with the kids waking us up at 6.30 am, which was quite a bonus considering that I had given JJ my alarm clock with strict instructions that they were not allowed to wake us up until 6.00 am. I was hoping that they would sleep in a little since we had gone to a Christmas Eve party the night before and had arrived home around 10.30 pm. By the time the kids were in bed, it was after 11.00 pm and so the thought of them waking up at 5.00 am and being tired and cranky all day was not very appealing.

So our Christmas day began at 6.30 am with two very excited little boys chomping at the bit to start opening the presents that Santa had left for them. Bubs was quite oblivious to the whole thing, but once he got into the swing of ripping open presents, he got quite excited, too. After all the present un-wrapping, while the boys were completely immersed in playing with their new toys, Big P and I made a big Fry Up for breakfast. We fried up diced apples and sliced bananas, a mini Christmas Pudding given to us by my parents after a trip to Ireland in the late Fall, eggs, bacon and toast. The boys drank OJ while the adults got to sip on Mimosa’s.

After the huge feast, I decided to take a nap as my Christmas present to myself. I never ever nap during the day, and so it was quite the treat to sneak off and catch a few z’s while the boys began a Wii marathon which lasted until I woke up four hours later! I thought for sure that I would only sleep for an hour or so tops, but it ended up working out well...I spend so much time with the kids and Big P works such long hours that it was a great Christmas treat for him to spend the entire day just hanging with the kids and doing whatever they wanted to.

So we ended up spending the entire day just chilling at the homestead, which was perfect. With the kids in school full time, they are always so happy when they get the chance to just stay home and play with their toys. We had vaguely planned to take the kids either sledding or ice skating or even a little day trip to a ski area, but the day played itself out in its own perfect way.

We ate a very early dinner – Australian style – thanks to Big P. Every year, friends of ours who live in Australia, send us a different Australian Christmas book along with a few gifts. So this year, as Big P was reading one of the Australian books to the kids one evening, he decided that this was the year that we would celebrate Christmas Australian Style! Since we didn’t have any family fly in for the holidays, and we had celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents with a huge Turkey dinner, we thought that the more informal Aussie style dinner would be perfect. Initially we had planned to sit outside around our outdoor fire pit and pretend the knee deep snow covering our yard was actually the Pacific Ocean…but the temps were so cold – below 0F – that we nixed that idea pretty quickly. So we stayed indoors, cranked up the heat and pretended to be in Australia while we ate a tasty meal of BBQed ribs, mashed potato and a big salad. ( I substituted the ribs for veggie bacon). It was delicious and the boys almost polished off the entire rack of ribs!

Then it was off to bed for the boys since an early night was very much in order. I think they were fast asleep by 7.00 pm...woop-woop! Then Big P and I had a date night, bowling. Well, it was in our house, playing Wii, but it was still really fun just to have the evening to ourselves and have some good laughs.

So all in all it was a fabulous Christmas. We are so blessed to have a loving family, a roof over our heads, presents under the tree and so many wonderful and caring friends. Although the month of December sped by like the speed of light, I tried to savor the moments, and to fill my heart with love and gratitude – not always successfully, but I at least felt like I was on the right track.

We managed to squeeze a lot of fun activities into the month:
  • The chocolate Advent Calendars and the unwrapping of a different Christmas story each evening were a huge success.
  • The Elf on the Shelf was the source of much excitement each morning as the kids rushed downstairs to see where the little Elf had decided to perch. (Even if it caused much anxiety for the parents to try and remember to move the bladdy thing each night…)
  • Anyway, keeping with the spirit of Christmas…we also squeezed in three visits to Santa,
  • we drove around looking at Christmas decorations in the evenings;
  • and we decorated sugar cookies (well, technically we started to decorate cookies until the Mother realized that we were out of red food coloring – which was essential for the present shaped cookies, the santa shaped cookies, the candy cane cookies and the stocking cookies…) and we ran out of time, so maybe we shall bake some more cookies and decorate them before the New Year.
  • The Family Secret Santa went off well – and will definitely become a new family tradition from now on. On Christmas morning, we each revealed who we were Secret Santa for (although everyone had figured it out…) and each person announced all the good deeds they had done for that person during the month. It was mainly a way to be mindful of the true Spirit of the Season – for the kids to get their minds off their Christmas Lists and be conscious of being kind and giving and loving to those around them. I must admit, I had to remind one particular child to try really hard to be a good Secret Santa on numerous occasions throughout the month…but it was always a good opportunity to reiterate the ‘reason for the season.’
  • We also went to various holiday parties and I hosted an impromptu Ornament Exchange Party at the house one evening, which was a lot of fun. On Christmas Eve, we went to a delightful party, with lots of caroling by the piano and delicious food and wine. Towards the end of the evening, we did a Gift Exchange which is always a good laugh, especially when one of your children is brutally honest with the gift he picked and then proceeds to critique all the other gifts that were opened from a standpoint of whether they would be totally awesome for a young boy or not…good times!
Now there is that seeming lull between Christmas and the excitement of New Year’s Eve. A time to recuperate and relax and reflect on another year that’s passed, before another year begins in earnest…

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