New Year's Day is rapidly approaching, which means it's time to look back on my 2016 holiday fun list. This is the list I make annually of activities that make the season feel festive. So how did we do? Very well, for the most part! Here's how it all sorted out.
The literary Advent calendar. The kids opened all 23 books. I'll admit that we lost a bit of steam in the middle and doubled up some other days, but it was nice to have a reason to read a story with the big kids (even though 2 of 3 can now read to themselves). I also did a toddler supplement, and have had a number of nice minutes sitting in the rocking chair reading Little Blue Truck's Christmas, Merry Christmas Daniel Tiger, and so forth.
Sassy the Elf. He, or possibly she, appeared at the beginning of December. We encountered a slight logistical issue in that many nights my 9-year-old wound up going to bed later than I did, which can be a problem for elf mobility, if you get my drift. Sometimes Sassy would move when I got up at 5 a.m. with the toddler. Fortunately, the toddler doesn't know the rules, so there was no shrieking about touching Sassy.
Advent services and the Christmas Eve pageant. On Christmas Eve, my 9-year-old read the story of the Wisemen to the congregation, while my 7-year-old was a Wiseman, and the 5-year-old got to be the star. She was a very good star! I made it to 3 of 4 Advent church services, and went to church on Christmas itself, too, which I think makes up for my absence on the 3rd Sunday (when I was speaking in Cancun -- yes, I have a tough job).
Breakfast with Santa at Longwood. We drove there in an icy wintry storm for our 8:30 a.m. reservation, but we made it, darn it. Next year I'm setting my alarm for the moment the ticket sales open so I can get the 10 a.m. seating.
Baking cookies and the gingerbread house. No one ate the gingerbread house, but we did make it. Various relatives made cookies with the kids, so while I never personally made cookies, the cookies got made. All good.
A Christmas concert. I attended the Young New Yorkers' Chorus concert in NYC in mid-December. The music was stunning as usual. The drive home through pea soup fog was also stunning, but not in a good way.
The Nutcracker. I took the 9-year-old, 5-year-old, and my mother-in-law to a matinee performance of this today. The 5-year-old was fidgety, but the 9-year-old loved it, and I am always awed by virtuosic ballet technique. The 9-year-old was quite intrigued to learn that I danced in a performance of the Nutcracker once when I was in 8th grade. Ah, roads not taken.
An adults-only NYC trip. My husband and I went into NYC a little over a week ago, ate at Aquavit, and stayed in a hotel overnight so we didn't have to make the usual 11 p.m. dash to Penn Station. We saw art and went window shopping, neither of which are fun to do with children. I'd like to make this an annual tradition.
Involve the kids in giving. I had the kids all pick out an animal from the Heifer catalogue, and they were excited to do that, but I probably could do better on this one. I'd love suggestions on how people have gotten their kids involved in giving, or volunteering, and how they've imparted lessons on generosity (during Christmas, or any other time for that matter).