Five Christmases

It’s nighttime on Boxing Day, and my post-Christmas melancholy has struck earlier than usual.

Christmas with little kids is totally exhausting when you’re in the thick of it, but during the quiet moments — when no one is fighting over a new toy or sneaking into the chocolates or whining from being overtired — you realize how freaking special it is, you know?

The kids are at such FUN ages for opening gifts, and getting caught up in the joy of putting together Lego sets and playing new board games. I can only hope they are this much fun at Christmas when they’re surly teenagers, but something tells me that won’t always be the case.

This year was our fifth (FIFTH?!) Christmas as parents, which kind of blew my mind. D was only six months old at his first, and suddenly we have a four-and-a-half year-old and a two-and-a-half year-old. When did this happen? More importantly, how did we get lucky enough to have these two amazing kids?

My main beef with Christmas is that it’s so, so, so, so much work for such a short period of time. I spent two and a half months shopping, had numerous multi-hour wrapping and sorting sessions, and worked in all of the traditional activities — baking and icing sugar cookies, making candy and caramel for the neighbours (and then delivering it with my little elves), visiting Santa at the mall, writing letters to Santa, etc.

Then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there’s a completely different set of “tasks” — taking photos of each memorable moment (like putting out cookies and milk, reading The Night Before Christmas, opening key gifts), shooting a bit of video (particularly the “first reaction” when they come down the stairs to see the tree), writing down who received what from whom (for thank-you notes), visiting each set of family members, etc.

It felt Ike I was working my way through a giant checklist … and now it’s all over, for another year, which is a bit sad. Also, it will probably feel like I suddenly have extra time on my hands?

We stuck to our usual gift-giving scheme for the kids, which we’ve done for five (FIVE?!) Christmases now:

Santa, in case you’re wondering, brings one item (which they ask for in their letter). The rest of the gifts are from us.

Here are C’s gifts from us this year:
  • Something you want: a second-hand play kitchen with a wooden Melissa & Doug pizza set
  • Something you need: a shirt
  • Something to play with: a Minnie Mouse book with little plastic figures
  • Something to read: a Lego Friends book and a Berenstain Bear book*
  • Her Santa present: two small Lego Friends sets (it’s her favourite show)
*In previous years, it’s always been one book each. But I’m a fool for books and can’t resist them, so they each got two this year … and it’s not uncommon for me to buy them each a book during the odd trip to the mall, so … #sorrynotsorry #booklover


… and here were D’s gifts this year:

  • Something you want: a Playmobil play table (built by Darling Husband, painted by me)
  • Something you need: a shirt
  • Something to play with: a Playmobil police station (he’s wanted it for a full year now)
  • Something to read: a Busytown book and a Dora & Friends book (his favourite show of the moment)
  • His Santa present: a remote-control Barbie car
We head home in the morning, and while I’m looking forward to getting back into our house — and back to our familiar rhythms — it’s always a little sad to say good-bye to Christmas for another year.
Unpacking sucks the big one, but organizing and putting away all of the new toys is probably one of the highlights of my year, so I can’t say that I won’t be having a good time tomorrow! 🙂

So what do you think?

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