With the last day of November being tomorrow, the countdown to the holidays is quickly approaching (or really, has already begun!). I felt the countdown starting as of last week, thinking about all of the things that I need to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, in fact, it is my favorite time of year, but I feel that they have snuck up all of a sudden. This year just went by way too fast! We are spending the holidays at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Montreal this year, thus leaving the week before Christmas, so I’m already feeling overwhelmed in getting everything done beforehand! We are doing a lot of homemade gifts, which is a lot of fun, but also takes a lot of time. Already, every weekend in December is booked, so it makes it challenging to work on things. There is only so much time in the day to do things with Keenan only napping for 2-3 hours. Anyhow, as my husband calls me, “a big stress puppy,” I just need to take a deep breath, make LOTS of to-do lists and start crossing them off! Doesn’t anyone else feel that way?
Fortunately, my husband is very supportive, so he has offered to help me with some of the gift ideas that we are doing, thus taking a load off of my shoulders. I don’t feel as stressed, but the stress is still there. I think a lot of it has to do with how I feel. My cold has gotten worse, in fact, my nose was so stuffed-up last night that I could hardly sleep. Everything has moved in to my sinuses and head, as well as feeling cold one minute and hot the next, so I’m drinking lots of fluids and taking plenty of vitamin c to hopefully get rid of this bug soon! Today was definitely all about laying low with no CrossFit, that’s for sure!
Speaking of the holidays, I’m so excited that Keenan is of the age where he is starting to “get” Christmas. When he sat on Santa’s lap last weekend, he was so excited and no longer scared like last year! He says “hi” to our Santas and baby Jesuses in our nativity scenes (my mom bought him a toy one to play with) every morning. He is learning (and can pretty much sing them entirely) “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” with is so cute! Yesterday, as we were driving to the box, “Rudolph” came on the radio (we pretty much listen to Christmas songs in the car from now until the end of December) and he started singing along! Every time we pass by Christmas lights, he is in awe and it is so much fun to see him experience the magic of the holidays. It has brought back many wonderful holiday memories for my husband and me when we were kids. I just love it!
To continue fostering the magic of the holidays, we are starting some family traditions. Last year we were given an Advent calendar and we used it with Keenan, but he was still a tad young for it. As soon as we brought it out this year, he was super excited to “practice” opening all of the boxes. Starting on Saturday, I will place either a sticker, a very small toy or one of his favorite snacks in the first box for him to open in the morning. We will continue the tradition until Christmas!
In addition, I just bought the “Elf on the Shelf,” after hearing about it and seeing it on so many blogs. It is such a cute idea and a great story! If you aren’t familiar with it, the book is about an elf that comes to live with you from December 1st until Christmas. The elf is watching you at all times and taking notes for Santa, so it can be used as a great tool for fostering good behavior (something I’m looking forward to!). The idea is to put the elf in different parts of your house each day and have your children look for it when they wake up in the morning. I think Keenan is going to love this and I can’t wait to start on Saturday! We are going to read the story with him tomorrow night and then have him look for the elf when he wakes up. I’ll keep you posted on his reaction!
Since the holidays is now all about Keenan, my husband and I are thinking about starting our own tradition of having an “at home date night,” exchanging our gifts and watching a holiday movie a couple of days before Christmas. Dana from Mastering Mommy Brain and her husband do this tradition and I really like it! I mentioned it to my husband and I think we might do it a couple of days before we leave for Montreal.
Since it is Thursday, I also wanted to link-up with Jessie for her fun Thankful Thursday Link-up!
In a similar fashion to what Jessie wrote, I’m not going to make a list of all that I’m thankful for, as I have pretty much said most of it before. After talking about family traditions around the holidays, it has really made me think about the true meaning of Christmas. My mom gave Keenan two great books about the story of Christmas, one from Tommy DiPaola, “The Christmas Pageant.” We have been reading them almost every night and they have made me think about why we celebrate Christmas, not just for Santa Claus. Giving gifts to others is really a side note; it shouldn’t be the main event. The best gift of all is giving back to those in need and spending quality time with your family, truly appreciating all of the moments you have with them. The time you have with your family is time that you won’t get back. Even though families can sometimes be complicated (who has a family that’s perfect?), it is still important to spend quality time and show them that you love them. In addition, helping someone who is less fortunate than you can be the only and most special gift that person has ever received (the true gift of giving).
I’m thankful for Keenan opening my eyes again to the magic of the holidays and making me remember why it is such a special time.
Questions: What are you thankful for this time of year? What kinds of holiday traditions do you have? Any new ideas that you are trying this year? I would love ideas for more traditions!