Holiday fun does not come naturally to me. As a pre-teen and teen, festivity was not encouraged in my family. Christmas was something to "get through". Don't get me wrong, there were always presents but few traditions and definitely no joy. Like many other areas of family life, I'm starting from scratch when it comes to the holidays. In all honesty, it takes a lot of effort to get started and keep the momentum going. I mean, it's just me orchestrating all this and I have no schema for it. I know better than to try to duplicate magazine spreads and compete with the Pinterest paparazzi but at the same time, I can't just sit back and hope my children will enjoy Christmas. If I didn't plan a few things, arrange some outings, set up some crafts, my boys would spend the entire month of December playing Angry Birds. They'd be perfectly happy doing so but one day, not today, but someday, they'd regret not having a few special Christmas memories.
My boys are good in the kitchen, so we start there.
This no-bake recipe includes graham crackers, caramel, pretzels, dark chocolate and marshmallows. It may not be beautiful, but it's delicious!
We continue to unwrap a Christmas book each night and read together. It's not much different from our usual bed time ritual except that when it is over, there's wrapping paper and ribbon to clean up. Still, my children think of this as a family tradition we do during the holidays. I count it as a tiny success towards the goal of inventing our collective Christmas memories.
This year, the boys helped me choose names from the mitten tree at church. They went with me to buy the gifts for these children we will never meet. They never once asked to play with the toys before I wrapped them. I can tell they understand, at least a little, the importance of giving over receiving.
A few days ago, Liam came home from school with this drawing of the Nativity. It was so well done that at first, I assumed that his seven year old brother did it. Nope. This is the work of my five year old. The animals from left to right are cow, sheep and donkey. I love the colors and details.
Not to be outdone in the "stun Mommy with your talent" category--Henry created a stable, star and manger scene from K'nex. I had no idea what he was making until he called me into the dining room. When I was growing up, putting Scotch tape on the wall was a cardinal sin but I can't bear to take this down. If I have to repaint the wall in January, so be it.
The holidays are hard work for moms. All moms. It takes effort and stamina, patience and planning. You know, like the rest of the year. What I know for certain is that I'll get out of this season what I put into it. You know, like the rest of the year.