Be forewarned: if holiday traditions and hearing about my offspring and upcoming gifts aren’t your idea of fun, feel free to move on to another day. I get that I’m not going to resonate every day with every reader. I write about what I know about and what I deal with on a daily basis, so of course it’s going to hit on fatherhood and being a parent. A really fun part of that is the Christmas season. The decorations. The Christmas school concerts (usually brings a tear to my eye and I shake when I laugh, like a bowl full of jelly). The Christmas Story (love the “leg lamp” and the whole Santa scene: HOooo, HOooo, HOo :creep: ). The movie ELF which my kids absolutely love and crack up at the dumbest parts (I think it’s Dumb and Dumber for kids + Christmas = Hilarious).
I have two kids, daughter Birdsnest and son LoudBoy, who go apeshit for Christmas. We have one, maybe two, years left where they’ll both believe in Santa and have that totally awesome innocence associated with the holiday season. It will seriously be a sad, sad day when we have to come clean about the whole Santa thing to Birdsnest in the next couple years…so we’re doing our best to enjoy the moment that is really fleeting in the big picture of life.
Christmas preparations begin at our house the weekend following Thanksgiving. That’s when we traditionally get our [fake] tree out and get things set up. Everyone helps to decorate it, and the kids, with wide eyed glory and fumbling fingers are spacing ornaments on the tree. Before we offer our feedback on the job they’re doing, the ornaments are usually clustered in about a 2-square foot section of the tree. Loudboy especially likes to keep the ornaments nice and close. Dog Dum-Dum likes to help now too. Dum-Dum grabs the paper towel ornament wrappers, tried to grab the ornament from low hanging branches, and in her running around the tree tends to knock a few off from time to time. We dig out all our other household Christmas decorations and the kids really love the preparations kicking off the holiday season. We have an Advent calendar that we use every year that we put candy in for each day, and they just go bananas over that. It’s usually the first thing they do when they get up in the morning.
Yesterday was Saint Nicholas Day, and for us, he comes and puts small gifts in the stockings. Now I didn’t follow this tradition in my house growing up, so I tend to forget about it most years and Holly takes care of it. The kids get really, really worked up over it though. Last year, I believe they conspired to sleep together in the same room and get up in the middle of the night to see what St. Nick brought them. So there I was, 2 am, having to get them back into bed since they were up playing with the new toys in their stocking. Yesterday morning was much better as Holly and I were up first before the first one arose since I had to be out of the house by 6 am. Got to see them get excited about chapstick, pajamas and lego figures though. Then we got into the inevitable discussion if St. Nick was the same as Santa (which according to LoudBoy was a topic at school too… what is the answer to that? Like I said, I don’t know much about St. Nick day or whatever).
Now we, as parents, have a difficult time not spoiling our children to some degree. We’re super fortunate to the place in our lives where we have nearly everything we could want from a material goods perspective. For the kids though, Christmas still is primarily about presents. Yeah, they know about baby Jesus and we listen to some religious Christmas songs and explain their meaning, but let’s be honest here: for a 5 and 7 year old, it’s about the excitement of seeing new “stuff” under the tree. So we struggle with how much is enough and since we have boxes of plastic toy crap, coloring books, markers, beads, and stuffed animals spread throughout the house, we don’t need more crap. So no Loudboy, you likely won’t see the 6-foot giant stuffed teddy bear you keep asking about (from Costco) under the tree. No, Santa probably won’t be buying you the $180 LEGO Millennium Falcon
nor the $380 LEGO Death Star . Yes we know he makes the toys and doesn’t need to worry about how expensive they are but even Santa has his limits.
So instead of a lot of junk, they are getting some new Lego sets that we all like playing with, and a few other smaller odds and ends. Since they are getting one “BIG” present (a new gaming console to upgrade our Playstation 2 we’re still rocking) they will be getting just a few other presents, which is still going to be plenty. I remember when my brothers and I got our NES for Christmas (and before that, we blistered the palms of our hands up on the Atari 2600) as kids and it was seriously one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten and we spent hours and hours playing Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt (nice ink below). While they’re maybe still a little young, they are already following our console gaming footsteps (which is a dangerous road to walk, so we’ll keep an eye on this, but wintertime where we are sort of sucks so it’s something to do…). LoudBoy is surprisingly good at the Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones games. The new console came bundled with two Lego games and a cart game so I know what my family will be doing Christmas day!
One relatively new craze is the Elf on the Shelf thing. Apparently there’s a little story that goes along with him and you’re supposed to move him every night and stuff. Sounds kind of cool, but I just know we’d forget to move him half the time…pass. Saw a few pics of the elf that were funny.
One other Christmas tradition is getting holiday cards from friends and family. It’s a nice way to see how everyone is aging and how you’re stacking up amongst your long-time peers. What we really look forward to is the “Brag Letters”. You’ve all seen them: “Johnny is doing so good in school, Sally stopped shitting her pants at daycare and she’s only 4 years old, Bob got a promotion to assistant janitor and my new business selling kitchen utensils to my friends is really taking off”. Seriously, if you are sending this type of letter out, realize we’re all secretly thinking you and your family are a bunch of douches. If you don’t believe me, do your own independent research. Holly and I bring the “best of” Brag Letters in any given year to work or to our IRL friends so we can all have a good chuckle.
Anyways, I hope your holiday season has started off well. It’s really a blast seeing Christmas through the eyes of your children.