Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas Blogging

I've had several posts rolling around in my head for the past few days, but I haven't been able to get them from my brain to the computer, for a number of reasons. One is that I seem to be blocked--I can't access those posts, and when I try to, they end up as fodder for the trash can and not much else. I don't know why this happens, except that it gets worse the longer I avoid posting. I've been struggling a bit lately: this blog is supposed to be about my kids, so I can remember them as babies, and yet I don't post much about them except to complain. I love them intensely, so why is everything I write about them so negative?

Another problem is that I'm really busy lately, gearing up for Christmas. We're throwing a party for some friends of ours (Jen and Del) who got engaged a few months ago. I always have the Christmas Eve party for Lance's side of the family, which this year will include 12 adults and 6 kids under 4, so I've got that to plan. I've got gifts to purchase, wrap, and ship. We got most of the decorations up this past weekend, but we still need to handle the tree. This year we are heading back East to see my family the day after Christmas, where I'll stay with the kids until the end of January. Lance has never been to New York City, so I am trying to plan an overnight trip there while we're home (it's just a few hours away by train). So the times I take for blogging--naptime, when Isaac's in pre-school, the minutes I can steal away when the two monsters are playing together--I've been using that time to get other things done.

I have been dropping by your blogs briefly, trying to stay in the loop, and yesterday I read this. Once again, Mommygoth has inspired me. I know I just wrote a post about Thanksgiving and how I prefer that holiday to Christmas, and that is true, but it is also true that I really really enjoy Christmas. For me, though, enjoying Christmas is more about the anticipation than the actual holiday. It's such fun to have a whole month's worth of activity, all building up to the big day. There's just that feeling of excitement and, yes, good cheer, in the air that I find really intoxicating. So in the spirit of that, here is my Christmas list.

The best things about Christmas:
1. The music. I love all kinds, and I bring it out as soon as Thanksgiving is over. Some favorites: Dwight Yoakum's "Santa Can't Stay"; Marcy Playground, "Keegan's Christmas"; Harry Connick Jr., "What are you doing New Year's Eve?". I love hearing new and unusual Christmas songs, too--if any of you have some odd favorites, I'd love to know them.

2. The lights, tacky and tasteful alike. I love driving around at night in December, taking in the beautiful, subtle white lights of the stately homes, which is just as much fun as shielding your eyes from the glare of a thousand bulbs on the neighbors lawn, complete with plastic Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the Baby Jesus, and a thousand lit up reindeer.

3. Wrapping presents. Well, okay, this chore does get old quickly, but when you first sit down with the paper, the Christmas music on, dinner cooking in the kitchen, surrounded by Christmas decorations, the kids sound asleep--that's a very comforting, pleasant feeling.

4. Sitting on Santa's lap. My birthday is in December, so as a child, many of my birthday parties involved taking a few friends to the mall to sit on Santa's lap. Now that we can take our own kids, the circle of life is practically complete. It is indescribable to participate in the same traditions with my own children as I did myself.

5. The treats. Red and green M&Ms. Candy-canes. Hot chocolate, hot mulled cider. Christmas cookies. Dark chocolate. Yule logs. Eggnog. Gingerbread lattes from Peet's, not Starbucks. Gingerbread houses. Champagne.

6. Making Christmas cookies. I will confess something here: I don't like making Christmas cookies. I like to cook, but rolling out the dough and cutting out all those Santas and bells is incredibly tedious. However, Christmas cookies are part of the holiday and not something I feel I can skimp out on. So, instead of using my grandmother's sugar cookie recipe, which takes talent and patience, I found my own Christmas cookie recipe on the internet, which uses a cake mix and takes about 10 minutes to bake, with one batch making enough cookies for the whole season. No rolling, no cutting, but you do get to sprinkle on the red and green jimmies, and that's the whole point of making cookies, no? This year Isaac will be able to help me, and I can't wait.

7. Santa Claus. Oh, the memories I have as a child, searching the sky for Santa and his sleigh. Listening on the radio, as we drove to my great-aunt's house every Christmas Eve, to the announcer claim that Santa was spotted over Kansas, or approaching Ohio. Can anything beat that excitement? Or when we finally got home and into our pajamas, rushing Mom and Dad through the reading of 'Twas the Night before Christmas, so that we can get into bed--quick!--before Santa catches us awake and leaves us coal, instead of toys in our stockings. This is the first year that Isaac has been old enough to understand, and already I am having such fun with him.

8. Christmas morning. My own children have been too young to really appreciate this, but I can't wait until they do. My father, who was pretty absent for most of my childhood, would get really excited on Christmas, and have a great time teasing us: insisting we wear blindfolds so that we couldn't see whether Santa had brought us gifts or not until after breakfast, asking for cup after cup of coffee while we squirmed in our seats, pretending with mom that it was no special day at all, and why were we so excited? Then he'd peak into the living room and say something like "Well, it does look a little different in there, maybe we should go check it out." And squealing with delight, we'd trip over ourselves in an effort to get to the gifts.

That's just a few of the things I love about Christmas. There's more, but I need to get to the mall to find a few last gifts. Happy Holidays, everybody.

No comments: