Friday miscellany: Christmas memories and the holiday fun list

This wound up being a very exciting holiday vacation! I’m still tracking my time in half-hour blocks — as I have since April 2015 — and so I’ll have some record of these nebulous newborn hours. I’m enjoying watching the baby take in the world for the first time. He’s doing very well. We went to the pediatrician for a second weight check on Thursday and he was back at his hospital discharge weight. And this was after completely soiling the entire exam room table! I can see his little face starting to fill out.

Anyway, I posted my 2019 Holiday Fun List back in November. This was a list of activities I wanted to do in November/December to make the holidays feel festive. Now that Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, I have been reflecting on these holiday memories.

One highlight? All the outdoor holiday light shows/walks/etc. I’ve written frequently about how easy it is to slip into the evening routine of dinner/homework/baths/kid bedtime/TV. Too much sameness and the days blend into each other. There is nothing memorable, so we don’t remember the days. When we say “where did the time go?” what we mean is that “I don’t remember where the time went.” Holiday lights provide a reason to leave the house in the evening and get some fresh air and exercise. That right there makes the season feel special, and we did several of these! There was the Philadelphia Zoo’s lights (pretty, though I wish some animal exhibits had been open!), Dutch Wonderland (with a few rides!), the Morris Garden Railway, Longwood Gardens (always a favorite; we had hot chocolate and pretzels in the beer garden), and Elmwood Park Zoo. That last one was fun because we had our cousins with us, so I was the lady in line buying 8 tickets for the butterfly train and 8 tickets for the carousel.

I also celebrated the season with a lot of music. I sang in my choir’s Christmas concert, and then in the Christmas Eve service (my kids performed in the pageant earlier in the day). When my husband and I did our baby moon in NYC, we heard my old choir perform. I took my three older kids and my mother-in-law to the Nutcracker, so we heard that orchestral music while watching the ballet.

That was the higher brow stuff. There was also some lower brow stuff: Cirque du Soleil’s Holidaze show (I enjoyed watching the juggling and contortions!) and then Disney on Ice. While that probably wasn’t my cup of tea, I have to say that the kids loved it — the 12-year-olds and the preschoolers. I sat with my 4-year-old, who was absolutely spellbound by the characters and songs and the staging. It helps that they’re performing the Disney workhorse songs (of course Let It Go would feature prominently in any ice-based show!) but I’d recommend this as a good event to take kids and friends or extended family to.

(A side note: I’m really glad I did not go into labor during Disney on Ice. Looking back,  it’s a little alarming to realize that 12 hours after I was sitting there in the Wells Fargo Center — my 4-year-old waving around his new bubble wand — I’d be holding my newborn!)

The matching family pajamas were an unexpected highlight. Everyone got into them, and most of the kids are still wearing them, as they’re not too Christmas-y. I think these should still fit everyone next year so I’m looking forward to bringing them out again.

One thing we didn’t do: Finish the Lego Gingerbread house! My 10-year-old and I were doing pretty well. We’re on step 165 out of 230. If I was still pregnant I’m sure we’d have finished by now but instead I had the baby and this kind of fell down the priority list. But maybe we can make some time to work on it this weekend.

If you made a holiday fun list, how did you do on it?

In other news: Do you listen to the How to Money podcast? It’s one of my favorites, so I was thrilled when Joel and Matt started talking about margin and my time management work in this past Wednesday’s episode.

9 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Christmas memories and the holiday fun list

  1. We got the Lego gingerbread house after we saw you were doing on it. And then I remembered we had not finished the Star Wars Lego advent calendar from last year . So we had both projects to tackle. STar Wars done, gingerbread house not. Still time! I am not thrilled that building Legos is still an activity my almost 15-year-old and I enjoy!

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday! I listen to How to Money and was delighted when they mentioned you. I really enjoyed when you were a guest on their podcast. Maybe they could be guests on Best of Both Worlds?

  3. We do an activity advent calendar. Many of the activities are things we would do anyway, but stretching to find activities to do on weekdays (including those when my husband and I might not be home in the evenings) is really kind of fun. In addition to seeing Santa and welcoming family and friends for the holidays we made pomanders, sang Christmas carols at dinner, cut out snowflakes to decorate the house (which we often leave up through February) and made cutout Christmas cookies.

    We did decently well on this until the last week when a couple of activities had to be missed due to the unexpected death of a friend and colleague. We did our best to try to keep the spirit of Christmas as I know he would have wanted us to.

    1. @Gillian – so sorry to hear of your loss. And I love the idea of an activity advent calendar! It’s good to brainstorm lots of ways to make the season special, including those random Tuesday nights when mom and dad are working.

  4. I listen to How to Money and enjoy it! Also I’m sure others have asked, but where did you get the pjs? I’ve done family pjs in the past but I focused more on price and the quality has been sub par. Would love some nice winter pajamas.

  5. Sounds like you had a really fun Christmas season despite the pregnancy etc!
    I am hoping you post a winter fun list soon. I always get such post-holiday blues and lists like those help me look forward to stuff. I need something to look forward to other than my summer vacation haha.
    Your baby is adorable!

    1. @Sarah K – normally I would do one! Though trying to keep expectations low this year with the newborn. My personal goal is to get outside for 20 minutes a day, which I have so far been doing with the little guy mostly (bundled up!) Maybe in a week or two I’ll feel more motivated.

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