This year we decided to extend Christmas from 1 day to 12, as kind of an experiment. Our goal was to take off some of the pressure to have Christmas Day be perfect, reduce the post-holiday mood crash, and make Christmas more about a season of experiences than one day of gifts. You can read more on my thoughts about that here.
Here is some of what we’ve been up to the past couple weeks:
We’ve spent lots of time just being together as a family. We’ve baked and decorated cookies (pictured: bottom left), let the kids have special Christmas baths with red and green food colouring, hung out with grandparents, decorated our home, and volunteered together.
The kids got a few special gifts for Christmas this year, including a round house for Moses’ train set (something he has been begging for for months) and Miriam’s first doll, which a friend from the U.S. was so kind to order and ship for me since the company doesn’t deliver to Canada. It is personalized with Miri’s hair colour, eye colour and name.
Moses picked out his first gift for Miriam this year. He chose a blue My Little Pony for her, and paid for and wrapped it himself (with a little help from his Dada). He was SO excited to give it to her that we let her open it on Christmas Eve.
Now for Experiences–my favourite part:
The kids and I took part in the children’s program at church. They were lambs and I was the Mama sheep because that was the only way they’d agree to go up on the platform. Below in the bottom center you can see Miriam in her little sheep costume. That’s the only photo I can show on the blog because all the other ones have other peoples’ children in them. We also went to a Christmas concert on December 23.
My cousins and I threw a Christmas party for our children, and we all had a great time. The Mamas talked shop, the Dads bounced babies and watched Mission Impossible, and the toddlers decorated chocolate treats (pictured: bottom right), finger painted canvas tote bags, played “pin the ornament on the Christmas tree”, and refused to cooperate for photos.
Moses’s preschool hosted a Dinner with Santa. We went and had pizza, and then got to meet the big guy himself. It is the same Santa we have seen three years running in different venues through the city. He is, hilariously, the most un-enthusiastic Santa ever, staunchly refusing to say “Ho Ho Ho” or do much at all other than ring a jingle bell. It has been the topic of many a Christmas joke in our household, especially since people like to rave about how “authentic” he is. Yes, sir, he and his fake beard and grumpy demeanor sure channel the real St. Nick. Miriam had similar thoughts about him (pictured: top left).
Last, but definitely not least, we went to Disney on Ice! Our plans for our “big outing” included driving to a nearby town and walking through their enormous lights display, but my sister surprised us on Christmas Eve with tickets to Disney on Ice, so on the 29th we did that instead. It was a great gift and just what we needed–a fun experience we could all do together (my sister and parents went too), rather than more “stuff.”
We took the train into Toronto, which Moses LOVED, and thanks to the construction going on in the Skywalk that was supposed to lead directly from the train station to the stadium, we had a nice long walk through the city streets instead. We took in the sights of different buildings and old trains on display, and decided we need to get into the city more often, just for a change of scenery. There may be an aquarium trip in the plans for summer 2013. Anyway, the ice show was a lot of fun. Miriam danced the night away, Moses sat in awe with his mouth hanging open, and Cal and I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace. Tomorrow we go to a New Years Eve Service at church (yes, we get crazy up in here) and New Years Day we build a gingerbread house and hang around in our Pajamas, and that will conclude our Twelve Days of Christmas.
More on Extended Christmas, plus New Years thoughts to come.