I swear, I have started writing that post about selective mutism. Hopefully I’ll get it done this week.
But for now? I have other, more pressing issues on my mind. To be precise, I am dying to know what you all do for Christmas (or Hanukah).
You see, I’m in the mood to change the way we celebrate that holiday around here. I want it to be less about me running around shopping for everyone (which, incidentally, I do enjoy), baking (which I used to enjoy, but not as much any more) and endless hours sequestered in my bedroom wrapping everything (which I do not enjoy at all), only to have it all eaten and ripped open in a matter of minutes so I can spend the rest of the day feeling all, “Hmm . . . that was anti-climactic,” and more about . . . meaningful stuff. So, to summarize that insanely hard-to-follow sentence, I want Christmas to be less about material stuff and more about meaningful stuff.
Of course, when you’ve celebrated Christmas pretty much the same way for forever, you do tend to worry about how your kids are going to take to changing it all up, but still . . .
So here is how this post is going to work, assuming you all are in a helpful and cooperative type mood and I don’t bore you to sleep before you can comment: I am going to tell you what my ideas are for celebrating this year, and then you can tell me what your ideas are (that don’t involve buying a million toys), and then maybe I’ll feel more excited about Christmas this year, and my children won’t weep and wail from being Horribly Let Down on the Big Day. (Oh, how I love blogging and being able to make up my own rules for capitalization and, at times, punctuation!)
Idea One: One nice, store-bought type present per child. Midge wants an American Girl doll (she is the only one of the girls who doesn’t have one) that is being discontinued after Christmas, so this will probably be her gift. Of course, we made the other two pay for half of their American Girl dolls (even though they were Christmas presents) and Midge currently does not have that kind of cash. However, since this would be her only store-bought present . . . Quinn keeps stealing Midge’s and Tank Boy’s Leapsters, so that will probably be his gift. Tank Boy wants a big pirate Lego set, so that would be his. L~ is good with anything that has anything to do with horses, so she’d get something along those lines. A~ . . . hmm . . . I don’t remember what we talked about getting her.
Anyway, aside from one store-bought gift each, I then want to make What We Love About You jars. Let me explain: two years ago for Mother’s Day, A~ took an empty baby food jar and made a label for it that said 12 Things I Love About You. She then cut up 12 slips of paper and wrote something she loves about me on each one. It was the sweetest gift ever! So I’m thinking I’ll get some nicer jars, decorate one up for each child, and then McH and I will come up with some predetermined number of things we love about each one and put those little slips of paper in. Additionally . . .
I’m thinking each jar will come with some little pad of paper whereon family members can write things they love about each person and put them into the corresponding jars. Then . . .
At the end of the year I will take the slips of paper from each jar and make a scrap book for each child using photos and the What We Love About You statements for that child from that year. See? Planning ahead so this gift keeps on giving every Christmas.
Also, and I know this is culturally overdone, but we have never done it in our family, I’m thinking of making coupon books for each child. You know, things like, “This coupon entitles you to one game of your choice with Mom.” Or whatever.
Confession time: I don’t spend enough time with my kids. I know this probably sounds strange coming from somebody who home schools, but I fear it is true. Sure, I spend a lot of time with them . . . overseeing their school work, telling them to put their laundry away, reminding them to take showers and brush their teeth, yelling at them because OH MY GOSH! How many times do I have to tell you to [insert relatively simple task of your choice here]? JUST DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD WHEN YOU’RE TOLD!
So, combine all that with house keeping and making meals (my word, five children eat. a. lot.), trying to grow and preserve food every now and then, doing the grocery shopping, taking care of the animals, blah, blah, blah, and I spend the rest of my time just trying to find some peace and quiet. Peace and quiet, in my mind, does not include playing Scrabble with a six-year-old boy who is the emotional equivalent of a 13-year-old girl; and, as we all know, we’ve got one of those sulking around, too (though, honestly, I think she’s a pretty darned easy 13-year-old girl) (much easier than the six-year-old boy, anyway).
Ummm . . . so, yeah, coupons. I think the kids would love them, and they would be a good reminder to me that I need to spend more time having fun with my kids.
What other ideas do you have for meaningful gifts for your children (and feel free to chime in if you celebrate Hanukah rather than Christmas).
Then there is the actual Day. Traditionally, we get up, open the presents (there go my hours and hours of wrapping everything), eat Christmas Morning Rolls (aka monkey bread) and then I fix scrambled eggs and bacon and all those other protein-type breakfast items that I usually don’t fix (because cereal is so much easier) (but when one has monkey bread for breakfast, there must be protein to help balance out the blood sugars) (if that is even possible, considering one is eating monkey bread).
We also always try to have the local missionaries from our church over for Christmas breakfast because, you know, they are 19 and 20-year-old boys away from home. They need to open a present on Christmas morning and have a home-cooked breakfast as far as I’m concerned.
And then, the rest of the day? The kids play, we play with them, the end.
I want to do something more, something meaningful. Maybe take Christmas cookies to the local fire fighters and police officers who have to work and be away from their families on Christmas? But what else?
What do you think? What are your ideas?
I want some presents in our Christmas, but I don’t want it to be all about the presents. And? I don’t want to spend the entire day just hanging out in our house, selfishly enjoying whatever we do decide to do for presents. McH is going to have something like two weeks off around the holiday. I want to make those two weeks count. I want to make them two weeks of creating memories and serving others. But I don’t want to make them exhausting and overwhelming.
Tewt the Newt says, “Discuss!”