Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to Appreciate December . . .

  . . . without TOO much over-the-top material goods wanting, painfully whiny behavior.  And that's just talkin' about me, friends! 

Kidding.  I don't give a fig about getting material goods for Christmas, but I do like to painfully whine and methinks this might be a month of Guiness Record material in that department, if yesterday's kick off was a good indicator. 

Anyhoo.  Here's my little spin on advent.  I just don't call it advent.  Don't know why.  We celebrate advent, so why wouldn't I call it advent?  Dunno, I'm too tired to think through that one this particular morning. 


Maybe I can't stop digressing today!  Here it is.  I tape a bunch of folded squares to a window and let a child peel one off each day to reveal that day's special surprise for December.

Wanna know what special surprises are in store for my little ones this year (besides, clearly, Mommy losing her mind JUST in time for Santa's arrival)? 

They're a mix of philanthropy, sweet treats and special family time, maybe with a little materialism thrown in for reality.

December 1 - Trip to the Pet Store for Our Smallest Family Member's gifts
December 2 - Extra TV OR Extra Mysterious Benedict Society (for Oldest)
December 3 - Put up Xmas Decorations - with Music
December 4 - "1/2 Sleepover" for Oldest (I try to incorporate things already on the docket!)
December 5 - Family Trip to the Conservatory
December 6 - Christmas Craft - Make Your Own Cards (this year's special craft)
December 7 - Pizza Dinner
December 8 - "Holiday Happenings" Gymnastics Class for Both Girls (they've earned it - Oldest should get
                       most improved after her progress this fall)
December 9 - Drive Around and Look at Lights (after dark - which is soooo early now)
December 10 - Hot Chocolate Party & Bake Cupcakes (it's amazing what adding the word "party"  does to what could be a mundane event - this is one of Oldest's favorite ones every year.  I make hot chocolate, add a bowl of "add your own marshmallows" and voila!  Kids are ecstatic.)
December 11 - Mommy takes Oldest to see "Fantastic Mr. Fox,"  Daddy and Youngest Have a "Special  Night" (which, of course, consists of just those words - she's two, she doesn't need much to think it's a big deal - LOVE that)
December 12 - "All About Others Day" - Turn in our Giving Tree Gifts at Church, Attend Reconciliation,  Daddy Takes His Girls Christmas Shopping
December 13 - Later Bedtime Night!  (15 minutes for Youngest, 30 minutes for Oldest)
December 14 - Browsing at Barnes and Noble After School
December 15 - Free "Skip Piano Practice" Day (we have something else planned that day, so no time - see?  I'm crafty with the scheduling)
December 16 - After School Ice Cream (Mommy needs treats too!)
December 17 - Trip to Target for Final Supplies/Extras (do your kids love Target?  Mine do - just entering the doors is a gift to them)
December 18 - Doughnut Bakery for Breakfast  and Extra Computer Time
December 19 - First Watch for Breakfast and Oldest Gets Sleepover in Mom and Dad's Room (it's like
staying at the Ritz for the way she acts about it)
December 20 - Bake Cookies and Special Christmas Dinner (a fun little kid friendly buffet of choices - Oldest will help plan and prepare - loves it)
December 21 - Go on a Carriage Ride (new this year - at our local outdoor mall - $10 for adults and kids free)
December 22 - Later Bedtime! (15 minutes Youngest, 1 HOUR Oldest)

And that's it!  Why do we stop at the 22nd?  Because we travel for Christmas and I've found that it's completely unnecessary to do this once we hit the road - that provides excitement enough.  Maybe that's why I don't call it advent - I tried to take a calendar with us one year on our trip to finish it off and it got smashed in the suitcase (with chocolate - ugliness), so we didn't even get to finish it when we wanted to finish it.

I think the magic is the "not knowing" for them (well, Oldest - Youngest is still too young).  They love wondering what each square will bring.  Even ones that aren't very jazzy are greeted with excitement because, to a child, this whole season is filled with magic.

So, what do YOU do with your family in these days leading up to Christmas (or Hanukkah)?  None of the above takes into consideration gift wrapping, Christmas card preparation, baking (though I've tabled that for this year - I'll talk about why another day). 

Let me know!

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