Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Addie is a few months away from turning 4.  This means that she is very much aware of what is going on around her and is becoming more aware of the seasons and the meanings of the holidays that we celebrate.  This also means that she wants to jump in with both feet and participate in every way that she can.

And this means that Mommy needs to take a step back and weigh what is important. Having my tree look just so or giving her the freedom to help me decorate and put the ornaments where she wants to.  Having my ideas executed perfectly so they look like they belong in a magazine or letting her apply the stickers to a certain project so that she can feel like she really helped even if the stickers don't line up perfectly.

On Monday of Thanksgiving week, we set up Addie's Christmas tree in her room.  I set up the tree itself and draped the beaded garland..... and Addie did a wonderful job with the rest!  She may have clumped some of the ornaments together, put some of the heavier ornaments on branches that don't really support their weight, and put ornaments on the back of the tree where no one can see them, but she is as proud as can be of her little tree. Just look at the way she stares at her tree while she is getting ready for her nap.

Will I mention to her any of the things I listed above?  Absolutely not!  For being a 3-almost-4-year-old she did a fantastic job!  (Speaking of fantastic, the other day I told her, "Addie, I think you're fantastic!"  She looked horrified and said, "No, I'm not! I'm a people!")

The next day, Tuesday, Addie and I put up the main Christmas tree.  Being a preschooler means looking for fun places to hide and hang out in.  She crawled her way into the corner behind the tree and asked how long she could stay there.  The thought hit me, she could be a big help with the lights!  I told her to stay back there and together we strung the lights on the tree.  I would hand my roll of lights and she would pass them around to me.  It was the easiest year I have had where stringing the lights were concerned. 

Then it was time to decorate.  I had a small bag of family and sentimental ornaments.  She wanted to decorate so badly, that I gave her the bag and let her do her thing.  Again, after it was all said and done, I did not move anything she put on the tree.  She did a great job, and I have to remember that the tree is not mine, it is our family's Christmas tree.  The majority of the ornaments I did put on the tree, but she was helpful in handing the ornaments to me.

This year, Addie is excited for Christmas to come.  Her gifts are already wrapped (I finished shopping for her) and under the tree, except for one which will be set up with a bow in front of the tree on Christmas morning.  On Black Friday, after doing quite a bit of my shopping online and out in the stores, I came home and wrapped the gifts.  When she woke up from her nap, she wanted to open her gifts! 

Enter our plan for the Christmas countdown this year!

This is definitely not an original idea of mine, I have seen it online several times this year and last year and it is basically free. The idea is to wrap 24 Christmas books and then open one each night through Christmas Eve as a fun way of counting down to Christmas. 

I went through our books, movies, and CDs and pulled all of the Christmas ones out.  I then counted out 23 of them and set them aside (I put back the movies that we are able to see on Netflix and number 24 is on it's way.  I ordered the Disney movie Robin Hood from eBay.  It's not a Christmas movie, but it's a movie she hasn't seen yet so it will be like a Christmas Eve gift for her.).  Then came the process of wrapping them. I was going to do this one evening last week.... until I ran out of tape after the third "gift". I got Brian to help me out a bit for this.  Because we did this on Black Friday during Addie's nap time, I wanted the majority of the items at least covered so if Addie woke up early, she could not see what was inside the wrapping paper.  Brian covered them, and I wrapped up the corners.  As I thought, Addie did wake up, but because the "gifts" were already covered, all she saw were "presents".  Can we say excited! 

After each item was wrapped, I let Addie put number stickers on the tags I had already punched out.  Again, I had planned on having the tags placed in uniform spots on the packages, and the numbers aligned just so on the tags.  But if I had done that, I would have missed the complete joy that my daughter experienced as she put the stickers on the tags and the tags on the packages. 

I was going to line the gifts along the wall leading to the Christmas tree so Addie could visually see us getting closer to the gifts under the tree, but it looked too cluttered for me.  I decided to put them in a basket under the tree.  I like it much better.  Now we are waiting for December 1st.  Addie asks almost hourly when she can open the presents.

This year, we are also going to light Advent candles each Sunday evening through Christmas Day.  Our church passed out a flyer giving all of the details about the verses to read, the candle to light, and what to focus on with the lesson.  It's another tradition I hope to begin this year.

Each year I'm convinced that being on the parent side of Christmas is the most exciting side to be on.  The kids just think their side is the most fun!


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