I totally get what people mean now when they say Christmas is more fun with a little one. This will be Wilson's third, but I think it will be his first that he really enjoys and sees as different from normal day to day life. Of course we love the very focused and intentional times of celebrating what God has done through Jesus, but I have also really enjoyed just making this a magical and memorable season for him.
Anyway, I wanted to record a little bit of what our season has looked like (mostly so I have a place where it's documented!)
We got a REAL tree.
This is our first as a married couple and the first I can remember my whole life (although I think Mom said we got a real one at some point).
Now I can't imagine ever going back to artificial. I love the look and I love the smell every time we open the door.
Wilson loves it too and surprisingly hasn't taken too many ornaments off. He likes to tell whoever comes by to visit, "Look at my Christmas tree! Look at the pretty tree!"
I put some of my old ornaments on it that my Mom sent me, and I was surprised at how much he enjoyed talking about them. He helped us put some of the ornaments up but he got really frustrated when he couldn't get them to stay on, so eventually I put him down for a nap and finished the job myself.
I had big plans for us to make cinnamon ornaments together and hang them on the tree, but he was only halfway interested in cutting out some of them. And in no way interested in helping me hang any of them. It's not really a pinterest-perfect life, folks.
Neither of my boys really love decorating (they are both ALL boy), but that is really okay with me because I love decorating and would rather do it myself anyway. :)
We just painted our living room ivory, and to be honest, one of my reasons for wanting to go white was because I knew Christmas decorations would look great against it. I think I was right. Priorities, y'all!
Wilson's favorite decoration is a very meager village (a church and a house with some trees) set up in our dining nook. They both have colorful lights that rotate inside and he asks every day if he can turn them on. He also loves to
knock over play with the little forest, and ask, "Is the deers sleeping Mama?"
We've been practicing advent with a sweet little calendar that Andrew's mom found for me last year. Wilson moves a character out every morning (or night if we get behind). I've been really surprised at how self-disciplined he's been to not want to move every one out.
Then we take out the sheet of paper which tells us what story to read in The Jesus Storybook Bible. In theory this is a great idea, but he gets bored with the stories quick and most of the time we have to summarize them as he is jumping out of our laps to go play with cars. In the picture below he is deceivingly interested because we are reading the story of Noah... which as you know includes animals. That morning, and that morning only, he was captivated by a story he's read a million times.
Each night he gets to unwrap a present, which is always a Christmas book. He gets SO excited about this... and it's probably my favorite new tradition. Since we couldn't afford to buy 24 new books, I thought I was being really thrifty to check out about 15 of them from the library last month. I was just going to call and renew them (We can have books for three weeks and renew three times)... well when I called to renew, they informed me that one of the books was on hold and so I could renew all of them BUT How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Thankfully, I know the shape of Dr. Suess books and narrowed it down pretty quickly.
Lesson learned. Create a labeling system next year!
We had our annual Elf Watching/Tacky Christmas with the students last week and we had such a good time. I put Wilson down before all 30ish came over, and do you know he never even knew it happened? I kind of feel bad for him.
For the second year, we visited the Lewis Lights. This is a family that has decorated their yard for years and years and created a walking path for families to enjoy for free. They have so many sweet displays that kids love... like Barney, Thomas, princesses and tractors (and even some nostalgic ones for me like Care Bears and Rugrats).
The have a painted display of a children's book about the Christmas Story that all of the older kids walk alongside of and read aloud. You hear parents say, "Whose turn is it to read it this year?" and I love the idea that we could be starting a tradition that calls for that questions some day. It's just so sweet.
Andrew and I treasure these times. We hope that Wilson will always remember us speaking of Jesus to him in every season, but we hope he will look back at Christmases fondly and with sweet memories.
(And I just seriously started crying when I wrote that last sentence. Full disclosure!)