December has not been a particularly easy month. I feel like I have been sick for most of it. There was the post-Thanksgiving stomach bug, with a week of reprieve, but then I came down with a cold that I am still battling. Consequently, I haven’t been running much. Running is my way of staying happy and energetic. Also, the various illnesses have kept me from sleeping well, whether I’m dealing with those long dark mornings or not.
I would not naturally be 100 percent in the Christmas spirit at the moment. So this makes me really glad that I planned ahead to make sure we’d have some fun seasonal stuff going on. I would probably not have elected to do any of this if it was just occurring to me, but thinking about it, and planning ahead, means it happened.
There were the dailies: The kids have enjoyed finding the elf. He forgot to move one night. The elf and mommy have a funny tendency to crash together! But for the most part he (or she?) has kept circling the kitchen and family room. We’ve been opening one wrapped Christmas story every day. The big kids really look forward to this, and after some fighting over the exact nature of a 3-person rotation, have accepted the order. Having a featured story daily has encouraged me to spend more time reading to the kids, which has been a long-term goal. Some books have been duds. Dear children’s book authors: not all books have to rhyme! Please don't force it just because you're writing for children. But some have been pretty cool.
I bought stockings with our names on them. We decorated our tree (see photo my mom snapped of the baby, staring in awe). We did Longwood Gardens breakfast with Santa. I had to get those tickets in October! There was a nice little Christmas moment during that experience, in that my iPhone camera broke, we forgot our other camera, and as my husband was racing to the parking lot to get his iPhone, it was our turn in line for Santa. But no worries! The people behind us took all the photos with their phones, encouraging the kids to smile, and sending me the shots afterwards. The kids liked Santa and the breakfast, and seeing the poinsettias and trains. We went to the Furry Christmas at Sesame Place, and a Christmas with the Conductor event at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Lancaster. My husband took the 8-year-old and baby to Scuba Santa at the Adventure Aquarium (I stayed with the 6- and 4-year-old, who played while I spent 3 hours wrapping presents the other day). We’ve had two rehearsals for the Christmas pageant at church. My 8-year-old is so excited to be a reader, and I've been coaching him on how one speaks in public. Slowly. Clearly. If you mess up, don't draw attention to it. Just pause and pick back up where you were. I’ve got tickets for the Nutcracker with my daughter. I hadn't thought the boys were that into it last year, so I got us matinee tickets for when they were in school, but my 8-year-old found out and was mad. So my husband got himself and the 8-year-old tickets, and they'll go to an evening performance. I quite like the idea of a father-son date to the ballet.
Then there was the adult stuff: I went to NYC for the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus holiday concert. My husband and I went to his office party. I sang a karaoke duet of a Journey song ("Don't stop believing!") with one of his colleagues. Fortunately, this hasn't seemed to harm his career.
And the family stuff: My whole family was here celebrating this weekend, and we’ll be celebrating with my husband’s family after Christmas.
So all in all, we’ve done pretty well on the festivities front. I haven’t felt too busy. Instead, when you add in two date night dinners during the month, the weekends have felt nicely full. I like knowing we have fun stuff coming up that I can look forward to. It’s made what could have been a bleak midwinter a little less blah.
If you're celebrating Christmas, what's been your favorite festive activity so far?