Why has this year’s celebration been termed our Naked Christmas? Oh, it’s an interesting story, but let’s start from the beginning…
Our Christmas tradition is that we go to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve for mass and dinner and then wake up together on Christmas Day to see what Santa brought us. I love continuing one of my favorite childhood traditions (modified over the years of course) into my adulthood and sharing it with my children.
This year our celebrations got off to a bit of a rocky start. Christmas Eve was unfortunately rather hectic and stressful for us. I had to work part of the day (at least it was my day to work from home), and once I finished working, I had to finish up laundry and pack. Then we began the drive to my parents’ house where we dropped our dog off and headed straight to church. After being stuck in a car for over an hour and getting a shorter than normal nap, Parker was in special form at church. Austin generally does pretty well in church, but the more active he gets, the harder it is for him to sit still, so he struggled a bit as well. The kicker for my boys was the dinner that came after church (too much sitting still!). Our Christmas Eve tradition of a nice family dinner out is becoming increasingly impractical as our family expands. We’re thinking something like “Crockpot Christmas Eve” for the future. Basically it took an hour and a half for dinner to be served, which would not be a problem if you were having a romantic dinner with your spouse, but when you’re trying to entertain young kids, it’s basically a disaster.
We were all done for by the time we got home, so we barely made it through our evening activities: opening one pre-Christmas present (annual Christmas pajamas from my mom), taking a family picture, putting out cookies for Santa and putting baby Jesus in the nativity. I was pretty cranky because all these moments that should have been wonderful were exhausting messes. It was what it was though, and we’ll just do things differently next year. Fortunately I managed to let it go and enjoyed setting out presents for the boys. In our family, gifts from Santa are unwrapped (though unwrapped gifts may be deliberately hidden amongst the wrapped gifts so that everything isn’t visible all at once). My mom tried wrapping my gifts my first Christmas, but it took me days to unwrap everything because I was so young, and she realized toys like doll houses look much cuter assembled under the tree than in a box anyway.
Christmas Day finally arrived, and just like any day in our life, it started early. Everyone is used to that now, but we still managed to run into a bit of drama. Due to the unwrapped gifts situation, our kids cannot leave the room until it’s time (when the bells are rung) so that we can all be there to see their reaction. There was a bit of a miscommunication, and my brother started walking out with Parker while I was still brushing my teeth. I freaked out, Clint was frustrated, my dad was amused, and my mom kept trying to quiet us because the video camera was rolling. This real family moment was brought to you by the non-morning-people.
Anyway, when we finally got our act together enough for Parker to make it to the Christmas tree, he hopped from toy to toy excitedly. This was an interesting contrast between last year when Parker just sat down with the first toy he came across and started playing happily. One of the first things he saw this year was his new bike, and it wasn’t long before he was riding it around the house. Later he opened his new monkey backpack, which he filled with toys, put on his back, and then he donned his helmet and hopped onto his bike. Apparently all these layers proved too much for Parker though, and he stripped off everything, pajamas included, and hopped back on the bike completely naked. And that was just the beginning of naked Christmas. We got him dressed again, and he continued to enjoy discovering his new toys. A surprise favorite for the morning ended up being a little car transporter. Last year the surprise favorite was a trash truck. Funny how it’s always the small, inexpensive toys that they love. We tried to go easy on the toys this year for a number of reasons: lack of space, lack of money, trying not to overwhelm the kids and to teach them to appreciate their gifts… even still it seemed like too much. I forget to factor in all of the gifts they get from other people. I also have been trying to teach Parker about the joy of giving gifts, so I had him make gifts for people again this year. Parker wanted to make bird houses, but I decided bird feeders were more practical. Such a mess, but a good project nonetheless.
I had a challenge with gifts for Austin this year because he already has plenty of age appropriate toys being handed down to him from Parker. I didn’t want him to be “neglected,” but I also didn’t want to end up buying a whole bunch of toys that were just going to duplicate what we already had and be one more thing to store. It turns out I was fussing over nothing because Austin was content to just be hanging out with his family, and Parker’s new toys were just as entertaining to him as his own. The two kids close in age thing is new to me, so I was happy to discover that many of the gifts were interchangeable (Parker played with Austin’s toys and Austin played with Parker’s). One thing that struck me as interesting was that Austin showed almost no interest in opening gifts (good thing there were only a few wrapped gifts for him), whereas on Parker’s first Christmas (when he was just shy of 4 months old) he was surprisingly interested in and skilled at opening presents.
As a child, I waited for Christmas with anticipation— wondering what Santa was going to bring me. Now that I’m older, I am most excited to be able to see people open their gifts and to watch my children enjoy the magic of Christmas. That being said, my husband always manages to surprise me with really thoughtful gifts, and this year was no exception… he got me a scanner! That may not sound all that exciting to you, but let me explain… you see, I have this major paper accumulation issue (I’m talking bags and bags of papers piled up in our house). Pre-kids I had a lovely filing system, but I just haven’t had the time to keep up with my filing since the boys came along. Being so disorganized causes me way too much stress, clutters up our house, and means the occasional bill that I can’t put on auto bill pay will often be paid late. We had talked about getting a scanner a while back, but we decided it was too much money and the reviews weren’t that great on the popular one anyway. However, Clint did his research and found a lesser known scanner that had much better ratings and was a better fit for my needs. Not to be overly dramatic, but this one item could seriously revolutionize my life! So far I LOVE it , but once I get it more thoroughly tested out I will share details (in case I’m not the only one with a paper problem).
I also managed to surprise Clint by getting him the Stoker (a device that lets you control your charcoal BBQ from your phone) that he had had his eye on for a while. The look on his face was priceless, and he said something like,”You didn’t! You even got the right one!” Of course I got the right one. I had written down a while back which one he wanted. So now my husband can cook from work, while we’re on a family walk, or wherever. Clint (the main cook in our house) has found it hard to do as many home cooked meals as he’d like to now that he’s cooking while watching two kids… so yea, this should meaner fewer semi-instant meals and a happier husband!
It was a lovely Christmas morning, which led into a delicious afternoon meal of biscuits and gravy prepared by my dad. Then after lunch Parker decided he wanted to go for a swim. The weather was fabulous, but it’s still winter time, so the pool was way too cold. My accommodating dad heated up the spa for us though, and soon Parker was naked again (we didn’t bring swim trunks), and this time Austin joined him as they both happily splashed in the spa. Now here’s where things get interesting. While Parker is swimming around in the spa he suddenly realizes that he has to pee, so my dad tells him to just go pee in the dirt, which Parker does. Later Parker apparently realized he had to poop, and before we knew it he was squatting down over the dirt and pooping! Clint took Parker inside to get him cleaned up, and when he came back out only a minute later, the dog had managed to eat the poop! I know… so gross! But seriously, you just can’t make this stuff up! Totally hilarious! After that it was official: 2013 shall be remembered as the Naked Christmas (it’s better than calling it the Poopy Christmas).
All in all it was a relaxing family day that we finished off with the most delicious prime rib (an extra special meal we only have once per year for Christmas). We stayed at my parents’ house until Saturday afternoon and enjoyed doing as little as possible. Our lives are always so go, go, go, but at my parents’ house we couldn’t do much in the way of chores, and we had help with the kids, so ahhh… we caught our breaths a little. We gave up being responsible and instead we slept, went on a walk, watched a movie, and relished in not doing much of anything at all. Of course all good things must come to an end, and when we got home the process of unpacking and cleaning began, but at least we were refreshed from our time off.
Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Almost New Year!