Well, we made it. The stockings bulged with wonderful trinkets, plus toothbrushes and toothpaste (a family tradition). The presents were unwrapped. Well, most! The baby lost intensity and took his morning nap halfway through, so we saved a few for his birthday.
Every kid got at least something that made them go “wow,” which was a goal of mine, and something that seems to get harder as kids get older. Our winners: The baby really liked a Fisher Price Little People construction set. The 5-year-old rode his new light-up scooter indoors until he hit my cupboards one too many times and it became an outdoor toy (as it is supposed to be). The 9-year-old got a mini trampoline for burning off Christmas energy. The 11-year-old has been making cool stuff on his new 3-D printer (hobbyist level…research revealed that there are all kinds of price points on these things…whoa). The 13-year-old got a knife-throwing set since he’s into the Hunger Games. We shall see how that goes! He also got a book on the first season of Survivor from Santa, and this has occupied a fair amount of time.
The baby slept through the night a few nights in a row, which definitely made Mama go “wow!” Now the last two nights he hasn’t again, but it was still a little Christmas gift to me.
We made treats such as homemade cinnamon rolls, Christmas cookies, and turkey (and then turkey chili with the leftovers). Even homemade butter, as Santa brought a kit for that. Shake room temperature heavy cream, wash with cold water. It felt very Little House in the Big Woods.
All told, we did …OK… on the holiday fun list. The kids gave each other presents — we now have a tradition of opening sibling presents on the 23rd. We open grandparent presents on the 24th. This stretches out the fun. We all wore our new matching family pajamas, and I have to say, people looked pretty cute.
We didn’t find a new holiday lights display, but we visited three of our favorites: Longwood Gardens (before the conservatory had to close), Morris Arboretum’s garden railway, and Elmwood Zoo’s Wild Lights. I sang masked and socially distanced Christmas carols. We didn’t do our family pageant (though I read through Luke 2), and we didn’t go to the Choo Choo Barn (no Christmas display this year) or to Dutch Wonderland (Drive-through lights…and my kids said they were done with drive throughs). But…I did celebrate my birthday with a lot of fun stuff, and we plan to celebrate the baby’s birthday. I bought a cake mix. And we have the leftover presents!
Now, though, we’re facing down a long stretch of…not much. None of our original post Christmas travel plans were going to fly this year, and the kids don’t go back to school until January 4th, and the big kids are virtual that first week.
So….lots of time at home. We have been doing family walks, and going to the new house to play there. Hide and seek in an empty and unfamiliar house is kind of a challenge for the seeker, as I discovered when the baby and I were “it.” I try to get out and run each day and relax as much as possible during the baby’s two naps. Because he is mobile and into everything! I am banging my head against a 1000-piece Star Wars puzzle. I’ve done about 300 pieces. I was supposed to have helpers. They bailed. I will probably stick with it, though this seems like a funny thing on which to model persistence.
I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas! If you had any surprise gifts that worked out well for family members, particularly older children, I’d love to hear about them.
Photo: Santa brought me a sippy cup!