A toy and wrapping paper tornado seems to have torn through my house. It was a good — if long — day, but the kids seem to have mostly been happy with how things turned out. My little guy had asked Santa three times for an “octopus shark robot.” (When he saw Santa at Tinseltown, at the Railroad Museum of PA, and at the breakfast with Santa.) No such thing exists, as far as I know, but his stocking contained an octopus and shark Play-Doh set, and he played with it happily for hours yesterday. So I’d say that was a win. Nice work, Santa.
While we are very much still in the Christmas season, I thought I’d go ahead and post a run-down on the 2022 Holiday Fun List. This is the list of little adventures I make every year of things I want to do to make the holidays feel festive. Mostly there has been success! Here are my intentions and what happened…
Run a Turkey Trot with my eldest. We ran a 5k race on Thanksgiving, and finished with a better time than he thought we’d have. He’s now been trying to get his mile time down and I think we will aim to do a faster 5k in the spring. I am thrilled to have a new running buddy.
Make sure the kids see the Polar Express. They went with my husband to the showing at church, and the 2-year-old has talked all month about the boy who got to see Santa. We also listened to the story when we went to the Christmas with the Conductor event out in Lancaster.
Read Christmas books with the 2-year-old. Yes! We’ve read through a lot, including the Grinch, and Little Blue Truck’s Christmas. I hoped to pull the 7-year-old into some reading, and I did, and the 11-year-old wound up listening to a lot of the Christmas stories too. So this was nice. I’d like to continue this, though the familiarity of Christmas books leads to some natural advantages for this season. For a list of some favorites see here.
Build the Lego holiday main street. My 13-year-old and 11-year-old and I constructed this set. We did it in my office to minimize destruction by the toddler, but even so, it needed to be done while he was sleeping or elsewhere. I’m glad to have activities to do with the older kids. I wound up doing three 1000-piece Christmas-themed puzzles during the holiday season too! These I could do on the dining room table while my little guy watched videos.
Get matching family pajamas. We bought another set from PajamaGram, and all spent the day in them yesterday. The adult ones have a nice gray hoodie as the top, which got good ratings from my eldest. We now own 4 matching sets from PajamaGram, so unless they start releasing new designs we may have hit the end of the line there!
Have the kids give presents to each other. We did sibling presents, and opened them on the 23rd. For the most part it went pretty well, and some went more than well (the 7-year-old gave the 13-year-old a bionic hand that he then spent an entire evening constructing. It’s pretty cool!)
Welcome Sassy the Elf. Sassy came to visit us at the beginning of December and moved around the house every night. This year I got to be surprised to see where Sassy would appear each morning, which was fun, though there were some hiccups in this process.
Do breakfast with Santa. We had breakfast with Santa at Neiman Marcus. It was fine — we shall see if this makes the kids’ lists next year…But hey, there was face painting, and balloons, and Santa did bring the octopus shark toy as requested!
See the Nutcracker. I went last weekend with my two older boys and had a very nice time.
Go to NYC. My husband and I went together, and while there was a lot of traffic, we did make it to the Met and to our holiday party, and we were home by 11:15 p.m., so all around a success.
See holiday trains. So many holiday trains…At the Brandywine museum, at the Morris Arboretum, at the Railroad Museum of PA, at the Choo Choo Barn…Now that I look at this list, wow, did we spend a lot of time going to things this year.
See one other lights display. At least some of our family members made it to three! I took the little kids to Tinseltown in Oaks right after Thanksgiving. We went to Longwood Gardens (and I went back solo), and we went to Luminature at the Philadelphia Zoo. That’s three light tunnels to run through!
Sing the Messiah choruses. Yep, in the Messiah sing-along. We also sang some of the choruses as Sunday morning and Christmas Eve service music.
Play Christmas carols. I have definitely played through some of the Christmas songs in my new piano music book. It helped keep me playing the piano through this busy month. My extended family sang Christmas carols together (with my mom accompanying) when they came over for a holiday dinner a few days ago.
Watch my kids in the Christmas pageant. After a multi-year hiatus it was back on! My daughter did excellent as the angel Gabriel, and my 7-year-old made a very convincing wise man. My 13-year-old assisted with the candle lighting. The service of lessons and carols later that evening (Christmas Eve) was also great, with so much singing, though it was a bit tiring! We sang something like 8 anthems and then every hymn had a soprano descant…
Bake. So I’ve just been substituting vegan butters (which get sold as sticks!) for butter in recipes and so I’ve been able to make normal cookies. We made some for Santa, and then Santa brought my daughter a donut maker, so we tried that out this morning.
Be in a good mood. Well, mostly. This past month has been a lot. But we did make good memories, everyone got to do a lot of what they wanted to do, including me, and now the stress of the octopus shark robot is behind us. That definitely makes me feel celebratory!
Photo: The octopus shark Play-Doh set