This year, with a three- and almost-two-year-old to entertain and a real, grown-up house to decorate, I decided 2011 was the year to start some Christmas traditions.
No matter that I've been Classic Exhausted Pregnant Lady for the last six months. I love looking forward to special occasions, planning bits and pieces to celebrate along the way, and what better opportunity for all of that than the advent season?
So here's what we did this year:
-ordered sixteen Christmas or winter-related books from the Scholastic book drive at Will's preschool (that was back in November)
-got out the advent calendar given to the boys by Dave's parents
-printed out sixteen "Find a Book!" notes, almost one per weekday leading up to Christmas and put them in the corresponding boxes in the calendar
-wrote little notes in each book to match its plot, e.g. in The Longest Christmas List Ever: "December 15, 2011: Are you done writing your list for Santa? We love you, Mom and Dad"
-scheduled more labor-intensive projects like "Get a Christmas tree!" or "Decorate a wreath" (or even "Make hot cocoa") for weekend days
-juuuuuust remembered to hide the appropriate book under a bed or a couch pillow in time for the boys to do "Avin calder!" as Finn calls it every morning
The book idea helped me a lot because a) it's an easy way to get 'er done every day, and b) it adds to our at-home library, which means there's less of a chance that I will have a nervous breakdown because I've just read Berenstain Bears Go to the Dentist for the umptrillionth time.
The Christmas tree pickup was mostly me and Dave eyeballing trees while the boys wreaked havoc on the lot; because of this we ended up with a 90% great-looking tree with a 10% bald chunk that we could only kind of hide. Oh well!
The wreath decorating at Will's preschool was a non-starter as a project, although we did end up with two lovely wreaths (scantily adorned) regardless.
It should go without saying that the hot cocoa was a hit, as was lollipop day. There was also St. Nick's Day, where we had the kids put their shoes outside their bedroom doors and then gifted them with a Cars 2 toy the next morning. (My best friend in high school Maria's mom did this--except with candy and stocking stuffer-ish treats--and I was jealous every year.)
On Christmas Eve we're planning to decorate gingerbread houses with my sister's kids during our gift exchange, and I think that will be A LOT of fun and also EXTREMELY messy.
And now for a little pre-New Year's pledge: It's important to me that I document the months leading up to the new baby's arrival since they will be our last as a family of four. Also, Finny will turn two next month (!!???!??!?) and there is so much that is delicious and amazing about him at this age that I really want to record it. Meanwhile, Will's imagination has exploded and I've been slacking on writing down his recent gems. So in January, I'm planning to write here at least every other day, or four times a week, or fifteen posts in total. I figure if I put it online, I have a better chance of sticking to this pledge.
(I'll also post the whole backlog of photos from this month...)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!