A wrap on Christmas

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!

18 thoughts on “A wrap on Christmas

  1. Your Christmas sounds great! I really missed having church. Ours is closed. We have bought season passes to the ski area where we have a vacation home. So we are spending the week there. Trying to motivate the kids to get out on the slopes is not always easy though…

    1. @Sarah K- I missed church too. I really wished our church would have elected to do some sort of in-person services, but I am not in charge. In any case, a few of us still recorded service music, so it could be sent out virtually. It was nice to sing in any way I could.

  2. After Covid tests all around, we had (young and healthy) grandparents come for a visit which helped with Christmas cheer. We still had a major strike out with our 13 yo who failed to convey that the spotify subscription on his list was a real priority, but we have figured out how to sort through that.

    This week we are on our own, but flush with presents and what looks like half-decent weather we have some fun activities planned including taking advantage of our gifted membership with a trip to the now MUCH less crowded Museum of Natural History in NY. I am also super excited to get my first Covid vaccine tomorrow morning.

  3. I always love your posts! What was the name of the survivor book you gifted your 13 y.o? We are big survivor fans and I think my oldest would also enjoy! Thank you!

    1. @Erica – Santa brought him “Survivor: The Ultimate Game” by Mark Burnett (the producer) – it’s about the first season.

  4. So glad you had a nice Christmas! Ours worked out well too. I used your suggestion of matching family pajamas (even got a pair for Grandma!) and everyone loved them. My five year loves matching her older sisters. A few hit gifts here for older kids were the book Hamilton: The Revolution, a $10 milk frother, and the board game “You’ve Got Crabs”. We’ve also been using the new Amazon Echo Show to video call family.

  5. It sounds like a lovely Christmas. I like how you have “sibling gift day”, and so on.
    My two boys are two and three weeks after Christmas, to the day. They are now over 20, and still a Christmas present forgotten to be opened or, um, ordered, turns into the birthday present.
    And I just have to say, they will fondly remember playing hide and seek in the empty new house forever! What fun!
    Happy New Year!

    1. @Barb – the sibling gift part is pretty cool – I really do like them considering what the others will like. And yes, hide and seek is fun! The place will soon be a construction site so we need to get it in while we can!

  6. Some of the presents that were a hit with the boys 11 and 13 years old – a whittling kit, Camelback water carriers for our hikes, stopwatches to time their runs because they say mom is too slow.

    1. My 4 and 6 year olds got camelbacks for Christmas from my sister! We are looking to do more family adventures in 2021 now that they are getting older (travel permitting of course) and thought these were a great idea. Though they turned out a lot bigger than we thought! We look forward to growing into them 🙂

  7. Paintball gear was the big winner for the 10 year old boy. The 13 year old girl’s big wow was a necklace made from a ring of Viking chain mail.

    We missed driving through the big Christmas light neighborhood and visiting the big interactive Santa’s Village which were both on my list, my we got impromptu photos with Santa at our neighborhood outdoor dive bar/cajun joint so little Christmas surprises added to the seasonal fun.

  8. Our almost 14 year old daughter is really interested in the biological sciences, so she got a microscope with prepared slides and,… get this…. a dissection kit complete with formaldehyde-soaked specimens. Turns out you don’t have to be a high school science teacher to buy them! She is over the moon happy, they have tonnes of play value, and we’re both cost effective as far as “big wow” gifts go. Highly recommend for the budding doctor/lab tech/forensic scientist in someone’s life!

    1. @Amy- wow, that does sound like fun! I may have to look into that as a birthday gift. Especially since the kids aren’t really doing in-school science this year…

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