Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Very Griswold-ish Christmas

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny freaking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white butt down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of buttholes this side of the nuthouse."
- Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation
(Edited for children - it's just not quite the same)

Well, it's that time of year again. The time of year when I put on my mental elf suit, load up on eggnog & peppermint everything, and force Christmas and jolly goodness down the throats of my husband and children... Why?... Because "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

Really it is... I love making hot chocolate every night and watching Christmas movies. I love new Christmas pajamas & wrapping presents. I love making new traditions and continuing old ones.

This year is ending with a bang. We have had a few new additions to the Davidson Family:

• Birdie Jean, rescued dog, age 1.
We (as in "I") got her for the kids as an early Christmas present. Birdie is a Yorkie / Weenie Dog / mutt mix. There's really nothing that says "Christmas" like picking up your new dog's poop piles & steppig in her pee while cleaning up leftover Christmas decorations. Or better yet, chasing down your toddler after she steps in the new dog's poop and squished it between her toes. Good times. Memories made. Don't want to make those again.

• Bumper, Elf on the Shelf, age unknown.
This one really gets me pumped about Christmas. These are the last precious years Lake will actually believe in magical goodness. After listening to his stories of friends at school and their elves, we (as in "I") decided to get him one. They only had a girl elf left... he was ticked, but he quickly got over it once she started doing her thang. It is like I get to relive my childhood imagination all over again. Coming up with ideas for Bumper every night has been a lot of fun. Not nearly as much fun as the shock on his face each morning. Memories made. Definitely continuing these memories.

• 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar.
This is so easy a caveman could do it. It's also relatively cheap. I used an old picture frame that has been sitting in my garage. I covered it in an old Christmas tablecloth and glued 12 bags, stamped with "Day 1"... And so on. In each bag, I dropped a small $1 gift from "Dollar Tree" (store where everything is $1). Starting on Dec 14, they will open the bag and get a gift, while counting down the days until Christmas. It's super exciting for them and really easy for me. Win - win.

Now... Do I get stressed about finding the perfect tree? Yes. Do I get stressed about shopping? Yes. Do I get stressed because we haven't sent out Christmas cards in years? Yes. Do I get stressed over my husband refusing to put lights on the house every year even though his son begs for it? ABSO-freakin-LUTELY.

Amidst all that stress, there is a happiness and a joy that bubbles inside me. It comes from reminding and teaching my children about what is really important. I love planting seeds of admiration and celebration for the birth of our Savior in the hearts of my earthly angels. Since the day Lake was born, we decided Christmas would never be about getting a ton of gifts. That's what birthdays are for... The day we celebrate each of our children and the blessing they are to our life. Christmas would be about giving, and teaching. We give each child 3 presents... Just like Jesus received on his birthday, one from each wise man. We bake a cake (the kids choose the flavor). Lake & Lennon decorate the cake (very hard for me to give up the reins on this one); I light the candles and we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. (Notice my use of semicolon... They are so rare these days. I love a good semicolon.) At church, we buy gifts for kids less fortunate - Lake gets to pick out the presents. The kids are in Christmas programs at church, so the family gets to come & watch.

So that's it... my absolute favorite part about Christmas is teaching my babies about what is really important.... Jesus. Others. You. In that order, true JOY can be found. It can't be bought, and it can't be faked. The tree will die, the stockings will come down, and by New Year's Day, we're all on sugar free diets. But, one thing remains... Jesus is still our Savior and He is still giving freely. Let us remember what is really important and make that a daily tradition... Not just at Christmas, or during the holiday season.

Merry Christmas from us to you!

What traditions do you have?
What new traditions are you making?