For most of December I felt like I was scrambling — and not with holiday things, which seems to be the stereotype. No, it was other stuff: a visit from my grade school friend, all the extra Drama Club rehearsals, and lots of gluten-free cooking. All good stuff, but I came home from the last day at VFS feeling drained, a feeling that was not alleviated when the whole family promptly came down with a cold.
So it was that I looked at the calendar and realized that hey, it was already December 21st… and oh my gosh, I forgot Christmas. I mean, I didn’t really forget it. There are various gifts awaiting various small children, stashed carefully away from their notice, and I even remembered to buy chocolate for their stockings last time I did errands. But a tree? Decorations? Cookie-making? Not so much.
This was terrible, not so much because the kids had complained — they too have been busy, not to mention ill — as because the anticipation of Christmas was itself one of the Christmas traditions when I was a kid. That slowly building bubble of excitement, drawn out over the entire month, sweet and glittering and tortuous, was part of the pleasure of the day itself. Dave likes to downplay Christmas just like every other holiday, so there’s no help there; if Christmas is going to happen in this household, (cue heroic holiday-themed music) it’s up to me.
There was one week to make Christmas happen. We plunged right in by heading to Frog Pond Farm for a Christmas tree. The actual tree selection was quick (Nathan wanted whatever tree we were currently looking at, and Ryan was just trying to avoid the mud), and we spent most of our time there looking at llamas, camels, chickens, and adorable baby goats.
Memories of last year had faded a bit, so I was surprised when Nathan and Ryan were phenomenally helpful with setting up and decorating the tree. They even anticipated that we needed water in the tree stand; they plugged together light strands; they correctly identified non-breakable ornaments and began hanging them. Mica was exactly as helpful as one would expect a one-year-old to be: if helpfulness can be rated between one and ten, she was at negative two. She was fascinated by this tree-inside-the-house concept, and wanted to explore it — before I had it properly screwed in. She loved the lights, and wanted to explore them, which produced a few impressive tangles. And she still thinks the ornaments are an awesome idea, especially the little elves I inherited from my grandma, which migrate all around the house before she brings them to me and asks me to hang them again. I do — down low. She isn’t tipping the tree or ripping open presents; stealing a couple elves is fine. Nana would be amused by it.