The Dog Ate My Christmas Present

Our silly tomten.
Our silly tomten.

We have four gifts under our tree right now. All of them were purchased by our daughter for Grandpa, Grandma, Mom (me) and Dad. That’s it, four gifts. And the dog ate mine.

Okay, perhaps that is just a bit of an exaggeration. The dog opened mine. My daughter and her sitter arrived home first, and they were able to rewrap the present.

It’s been that kind of Christmas season. Continue reading “The Dog Ate My Christmas Present”

It’s About the Presence

Christmas candleSeveral weekends ago my mother-in-law’s famous pepparkakors made their appearance on the dining table, and they were as yummy as ever. The recipe for these traditional Swedish spice cookies that we use in our family is over 100 years old and immigrated from Sweden with my mother-in-law’s family. Immigration is a very good thing.
For us, the appearance of these cookies marks the beginning of the holiday season, although I must confess to listening to Christmas music in the car over the last two weeks—because I am ready for the holidays.

I am not ready for shopping. Frankly, I’d rather not shop; I’d rather not have to tell people what to get me for Christmas. I’d rather dispense completely with the commercial part of the holidays (although I do still enjoy toy shopping). What I want is time—time with family and friends. Time laughing around a dinner table, telling old stories and creating new ones. I want to decorate a tree, to fill the kitchen with the aromas of a baking ham or pumpkin. I want to slow down and inhale deeply the scents cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, friendship, family, hugs and warmth. Continue reading “It’s About the Presence”

Hey Mom, Do you remember that year when the Christmas tree almost fell on me?

treefarm_dThis weekend was devoted to renewing existing family traditions and creating new ones. We began this Saturday with breakfast with Santa (sponsored by the Milton Optimist Club). It’s a new tradition for us, but one that our daughter enjoyed immensely, and one that we will probably repeat. The afternoon was spent on a trek to our favorite Christmas tree farm for a wagon ride out to the Christmas tree fields, the search for the perfect tree, a chance to meet and greet Dancer, one of Santa’s reindeer, and enjoy hot cider and treats. The weather wasn’t ideal for these activities. The hot cider and donuts are a little more magical when you have been trudging in the snow and cold looking for your tree, but still it was a very pleasant afternoon.

The evening was spent putting up and decorating the tree. Neither my husband nor I dared speak our fears, but we both thought the tree was up and straight awfully quickly with minimal fussing. It had really seemed too easy. Continue reading “Hey Mom, Do you remember that year when the Christmas tree almost fell on me?”

Through the Eyes of a Child

Christmas, when you have a five-year-old in the house, takes on a completely new look. Seeing the continual wonder in her eyes, hearing the excitement when she spies yet another house decked out in twinkling lights for the season, sends you back to your own childhood. You can almost feel your own eyes getting wider and wider as the season approaches.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-many years, I have complained that Christmas was approaching too quickly, that I wasn’t ready, that I had too much to get done. I’m just as behind this year as usual, but still, just this week, I found myself in earnest discussion with my daughter, whole-heartedly agreeing with her that Christmas seems such a long way away! Continue reading “Through the Eyes of a Child”

A Knitted Christmas

Santa had come and left presents and filled stockings.

When I woke at 4:25am on Christmas Day, I indulged myself and got up. I turned on the lights of the Christmas tree and settled into the over-stuffed arm chair under a hand made afghan.

“This is nice,” I snuggled further into the chair, “my first uninterrupted time with the Christmas tree.”

Then, a voice from the top of the stairs, “Mom. Mom. I had a bad dream.”

“Do you want me to come up and lie down with you?” I walked to the bottom of the stairs and looked up at my daughter.

“No. Why is the tree on? Was Rudolph here? Did Santa come?”

In two seconds she was down. “Ladybug girl!” she exclaimed, spotting the doll sticking out of her stocking. She flew past the rock-n-roll guitar and the drum, her two requests of Santa.

I laughed and went to wake up Daddy, who thought he had prepared for Christmas morning by setting a 5:30am alarm. Continue reading “A Knitted Christmas”

In Search of the Perfect Christmas Tree

The popular side of the tree.
There is nothing quite as magical as Christmas to a child. I remember how excited we used to get when my mother brought out our Christmas decorations and put up our tree. In addition to the tree, she used to hang paper streamers across the ceiling and put holly sprigs in the picture frames. I still remember the excitement I felt when I helped hang the ornaments on the tree and saw the orange, green and purple streamers covering the ceiling. Now when we remember our old tree we laugh about it. It was a tiny silver tree that sat on top of a table. It was about 3 feet high and had about 4 sets of branches made of silver tinsel. But when we were little, it seemed magical.

As we got older and saw some other options for Christmas trees, we started to want a different one, but my mother would not budge and each year she faithfully brought out the old one. I still remember one friend who came to our house and stood at the door to the living room. “Is that your Christmas tree?” she asked, pointing incredulously at the small silver object on the sideboard and then collapsing with laughter to the floor. Continue reading “In Search of the Perfect Christmas Tree”

A Holly Jolly Christmas

“And in case you didn’t hear” (hand to ear)

“Oh by golly,” (make a fist and swing arm across in front of body) “have a holly jolly Christmas, this yeeeeeeaaaaarrrrr!”

I’m not sure that I am supposed to have seen that much of the Holiday Sing routine, but my daughter performed for her dad and me the other night, and we even got her to ham it up for the video camera. She’s excited about Christmas.

She’s excited about snow.

She’s just excited.

We dragged her out shopping the other day, and she said “Merry Christmas” to everyone we passed in the aisles of Boston Store. I am happy to report that an overwhelming majority of the folks she greeted returned the greeting and usually with a smile.

I’m glad she’s excited about Christmas. I’m glad she’s excited about snow. I’m glad she’s glad that Swiper is off Santa’s naughty list. If only she were as excited about eating her dinner (including the green beans), or taking her bath, or putting up her toys or even going to sleep.

I’m beginning to feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. No. Not the Grinch, he was sneaky and quiet in his displeasure. More like the Abominable Snowman, loud and growlly. Continue reading “A Holly Jolly Christmas”