Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Comes to Town

This Christmas was such a wonderful, crazy mix of emotions and festivities. Most of the time I just wished that I was snowed in somewhere so I would have an excuse not to go out and face the crowds again in the shopping centers. BC, I would start shopping the week after Halloween and finish shopping the week after Halloween. The rest of time could be dedicated to crafts and cards and consuming obscene amounts of sugar. Last year was the first year that Phil did 98% of the shopping as I couldn't bring myself to leave Lily's side to go fight crowds and shop. As it turns out, I'm not a big fan of shopping, or crowds. I think there actually may be a phobia in there brewing.  We usually do a date night to get the kids squared away and with true Christmas Spirit this year- a friend's daughter donated her babysitting time to us. It was fabulous and meant so much to us. This was just one of a series of events that caused me to ponder the true meaning of Christmas and how to convey to my children that true gifts come from the heart.

One of our big events was an enexpected invitation to a special breakfast with Santa given by Neiman Marcus.  So I felt a little vindicated for spending that extra time finding the perfect outfits..we had another occasion for which they were needed! The breakfast was amazing. Although if it had been planned by a mom, pictures with Santa would occur BEFORE the smorgasbord of yummy treats. The night before was Phil's Squadron's Party, and we had to sneak out early since we knew we had to be downtown by 8 the next morning. It's funny how understanding people are when you tell them you have to be to town by 8am with 4 kids. Of course maybe that was because said 4 kids were exhibiting their lively natures at the time. Upon our arrival in "town",we were shown to a formally set table, with extravagantly decorated cupcakes and pastries. The meal was amazing and followed by the Shining Stars, a great song/dance troupe of kids. The floor shook as they danced causing both Bella and Lily to cling to us like spider monkeys. They were amazing. Of course their final song was a lively rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".  Lily's eyes grew wide and I saw her poke Phil's shoulder. "Daddy! Is THIS "town"? "  He immediately started chuckling as he told her yes.  She was positively giddy "Santa Claus is coming HERE!" And sure enough as the words left her lips, Santa bounded through the door, pack in hand.  It was magical. Of course in a few years, when one of her  friends has to explain that Neiman Marcus is not in fact considered town, it might not seem so magical to her.

Then I started shopping. This is when I started questioning the true meaning of Christmas. I don't like to shop when it is necessary much less than when it is crowded. That is why I am a pack rat- I stuff away things so that some day I can spend a whole bunch of time searching for that one thing I squirreled away to save myself a trip to the store. I used to love wrapping presents- now I hurriedly fold the paper together and figure I can blame the wrap job on the children. But mostly I don't have the time to spare to be the perfectionist I want to be. That bothers me, but then I try to remember big picture. Big picture is that the best part of Christmas was walking around looking at Christmas lights. It began to sprinkle and the kids pretended it was snowing. It was still 76 degrees out. The best part of Christmas is that gift that touches you. They each got to open 1 gift Christmas Eve night and since I hadn't wrapped any yet- they got to pick 1 sent from Grandma who had the foresight to send Snow. I am convinced it is the stuff they stuff on the insides of diapers- you mix water in it and it swells and then you put it in the freezer and it gets cold. Bella took a taste...that stuff probably causes cancer, great. Phil tracks Santa's Flight with Norad and then we assemble the cookies and carrots and egg nog on a special plate with Mickey on it that my Grandma and Aunt sent and we tuck the sugarplums in. The whole while, magic is in their eyes. Lily is putting the pieces together. So santa lands on the roof? Yep. And he comes and leaves presents tonight ?Yep. Maybe he can get Phillip's helicopter down while he's on the roof. Brilliant. (Phillip flew a toy helicopter up there on his birthday...we have been waiting for it to blow down...and waiting...and waiting.)

SO Christmas came to town. I have Bella, naked skating( think bambi with kneepads) in the back, Lily on her scooter that has a special scooter for Barbie that attaches to it- Kiera left as soon as humanly possible to compare gifts with her friends and Phil, Phillip and Stewart tend to the technological things that need tending on Christmas morning. It was a really good Christmas just because it was.

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