For someone who hasn’t been in the holiday spirit until recently, I have been Christmasing my brains out! December nights area always a bit hectic for us. We have a few very important Christmas traditions that may add to the hustle and bustle (and sometimes stress) of the evenings, but the girls look forward to them so much that I can’t not do them.
There’s the Family Advent(ure) Calendar, that almost made the girls’ heads explode with excitement as they waited for November to click over to December so it could begin…
Last night, since it was #GivingTuesday or #GiveSomething Day (no matter the name, the idea behind it is irresistibly cool), the girls and I donated to BurghBaby’s fantastic Christmas Crazy charity. Last year Michelle raised more than $7,500 to donate to two Pittsburgh-area women’s and children’s domestic violence shelters to make Christmas possible for wonderful people who could really use some magic. Over the past five years, Michelle has helped raise more than $30,000. Thirty-thousand dollars, you guys! So proud to be a teeny, tiny part of such a cool cause each year! Want to help? She has more posted here on her blog.
[Sidenote: I was explaining domestic violence shelters to Bee, about how sometimes someone in your family has something wrong with their brain and their emotions and they hit and beat the people they love. And that sometimes they don’t use physical violence, they can do just as much damage with words. And so sometimes moms (or dads) have to take their children and run away really fast and stay somewhere where they can’t be found…even by Santa because it happens so fast. (Hey, I had to think of why they didn’t have Christmas.) And Gracie, in the middle of my scaled-to-age explanation asked, “Like in The Shining movie?” I tried to hold back the chortle because laughing in the middle of an abuse discussion didn’t seem appropriate but holy out of nowhere reference!]
Our Adventure completed, the girls and I sat down to read two Christmas stories. Each year I wrap our Christmas books in wrapping paper so even though the girls are more than familiar with the books, they’re not supposed to know which they’re choosing. (Not supposed to know because the giant Find Santa [a la Waldo] book is easily recognizable, and the girls somehow sussed out which was the Jolly Postman book last night. Much to their delight.) I add one or two new books each year – yes, even though the girls are way past simple childrens’ books – so our collection has grown to such that we can read two stories each night instead of one. It helps stretch out the bounty given that the girls are gone every other weekend and this year for a week before Christmas. Still, sitting and reading stories to my ever-growing girls is a tradition that is dearer to my heart with each year’s passing. Guaranteed snuggles and reverting each night to when the girls would snuggle in my lap for bedtime stories? Yes, please!
Then there are the candy calendars that are holdovers from my own childhood and, because I am apparently insane, I added another ritual this year. I’m not sure it’s one that will be repeated, but it’s SO COOL, and it was on sale, so whatever!
Lego Advent Calendar! (And if you didn’t say that in the sing-song “Lipstick Taser!” tone from Despicable Me 2, you’re doing it wrong.) So far we have a lonely mailman (“Through rain and sleet and absence of villagers?”) and a mailbox. I’m sure at some point things will become obscene – Lego accidentally included an extra hairpiece for the mailman and Gracie already mock-gasped and asked who the mailman had scalped. So. Fun posts ahead!
Lastly, we had an extra little something to assemble last night! Because aunties are the greatest, you guys.
They sent a festive arrangement to cheer up their poor broken niece, and some chocolates to help her nurse feel not so left-out. Gracie tried to convince me that her left hand was the nurse because it was doing all the work. I think Bee-girl and I had identical, “Wow, that’s a stretch, even for you” looks on our face. Heh.
It’s amazing that we get all of these fun activities done each night, but somehow we manage. We have an ambitious schedule the rest of this week. I try to put some of the more complicated events in the first week, when everyone still has energy and gusto. Then we get a little lull and then Auntie Kim comes back on the 13th. Huzzah for reinforcements! Until then – be merry, and do what you can. Fa la la la la and all that.