A couple of weeks ago, as we were preparing to take down the Christmas tree, Jack turned to me with his big cheeks and puppy dog eyes and said, “Don’t take Christmas!” I gently explained that Christmastime was over (“Why?” “Because it’s January.” “Why?” “Because January comes after December?” “Why?”) and that we would get to have a tree and all the decorations again next year. Jack’s next query? “But can we keep the presents?”
There was an abundance of presents this year. You might even say there was an OVERabundance of presents. They didn’t ask for much. A doggie, a Milo, and a purple baby, to be exact, so when all is said and done, we could have had a much “simpler” Christmas, I am sure. But along with the stuffed animals, the costumes, the train set, and the pirate ship (more on that later), came family. An abundance of family, you might say. Henry, Jack, and Sophie get to do Christmas twice (and yes, that means more presents). But it also means two “Christmas Eves” with carols and Christmas jammies. And two Christmas mornings with bacon and stockings.
And two sets of grandparents, eight aunts and uncles (even if some were only there via FaceTime), dozens of cousins, great aunts, and great uncles, and one great grandma.
At dinner on Christmas night, Ann asked, “What was your favorite gift you ever received?” One of my sixth-graders had asked me this at the lunch table a few days before, so I was prepared. But honestly, I couldn’t remember a single gift I’d ever gotten for Christmas. (I went with the Playmobil dollhouse mansion which was a birthday present, if I recall correctly). And I wasn’t the only one who came up short. (I won’t tell you what Will’s most “memorable” present was. Hint: It was NOT his favorite.) And I know it is not because we’ve never received anything worth remembering. It’s just because our Christmas memories are shaped more by our traditions and the people we fill the holiday with than they are by the gifts we receive.
So this Christmas, while searching for gifts from Santa was a new (and popular) pastime, it was the time spent with family we will all remember:
Standing outside in our pajamas the weekend after Thanksgiving to see the trees on our street light up.
Stopping by Operation Santa at Buckley help wrap presents for kids who are not as fortunate as we are to celebrate Christmas in such a big way.
Moving aside all the toys we already own to make room for a big tree in the corner (this was Jack’s idea AND his job). Riding in the red wagon to pick out our tree from the tree stand on the corner. Don’t ask us how much it cost. Actually, do. It was hilariously expensive. Taking a trip to the hardware store to pick out a star for the top (and finding a bunch of other fun Christmas paraphernalia in the process…cookie cutters topped the list). Opening the box full of Daddy’s ornaments that Grammie sent (and in many cases, that Grandma and Grandpa made). Decorating our tree while Alexa (read: Pentatonix) sang PTX Christmas Deluxe Edition on repeat in the background.
Making gingerbread cookies and realizing afterwards that despite triple-checking all ingredients, Sophie was probably allergic to something in the sprinkles, and we couldn’t eat the rest of them. Have any of you ever tried to make gingerbread cookies with a two year old? How about with three? Hello, mess! Can you guess whose plate is whose?
Searching each morning for Meatball, the Elf. He even made it to Nana and Grumples’ house!
Sure, one Christmas will fade into the next, and there will come a day when we’ll all ask each other, “Was that the year that it snowed? Did Peter and Jen make it that Christmas? Was that when Grammie’s Folly first arrived? And sure, we will probably remember this Christmas as the one that ended with one sleepless night and one stomach bug (not the same child either, so yeah, that was fun). But we will mostly remember it as the fun, festive, and family-filled few days we hope that Christmas will always be. And as we took down the tree, we talked about all the things we were going to miss until next Christmas rolled around. In the meantime, we’ve got a bunch of new toys to play with 🙂
Some highlights from under the tree(s):
Get ready for STRUM: The Remix. Album coming soon.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this Christmas a memorable one for Henry, Jack, and Sophie. As we took the ornaments down Jack bid them farewell, exclaiming, “Goodbye, ornaments! See you next Christmas!” before giving each one a kiss and laying it in the box. I know we have approximately 345 days to go, but I can’t wait to see his face light up when we open that bin again next year.