Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Countdown Begins

Yikes.  It's December 1st.  How did that happen?

I have officially been listening to the Holiday Music Chanel on TV and have begun the process of obsessing over the right gifts for all the people in my life.  Granted, I probably started obsessing a few weeks ago.  But now I am actually doing something about it. 

Every year I manage to forget how very time consuming Christmas shopping and general Holiday organizing can be.  It never used to be so intense, but there's something about being an official "grown up" that has added a lot of pressure.  I am generally not a materialistic and consumer driven kinda gal, but there's just no way out of the mayhem at this time of year.

The kids and I take off for Canada in 18 days and there is a whole lot going on before then.  The most exciting celebration will be next week for the babe.  My daughter, who was so recently my itty bitty baby girl, will turn 5 years old on Wednesday.  On Thursday, we will attend the annual "art night" at her school where we get to check out all the kids paintings and enjoy a pot luck dinner.  Saturday will be her birthday party at the paint your own pottery studio (the first time we are hosting her birthday outside of our home!).

My husband will celebrate his birthday on the 23rd and my son, the little guy, will turn 3 on Christmas Eve.

All this, and my husband and I get to navigate the murky waters of explaining what the Holiday Season is really about and how different folks have different celebrations around this time of year.  We need to answer questions about why we go to Church with Grandpa and Nana on Christmas Eve but no other time of year.  We have to blend the explanation of baby Jesus with the Santa hoopla.

We also have to explain/elaborate on who Santa Claus is and how he manages to get presents to all the kids around the world in one night.  It's important for me to ensure my kids enjoy the bliss of all the North Pole has to offer this time of year.  But we also explain how our family supports the homeless shelter so the people with no food or homes can have a special meal over the Holidays.  We explain how we collect canned food to give to those in need.  We also explain why we buy gifts for children who may not get much for Christmas this year (which isn't easy after you've been talking about Santa Claus). 

Really, it's a lot to explain to an almost 3 and an almost 5 year old.  There is so much information for their little brains to absorb and it is easy to get messages intertwined.  Obviously we want to share the awesome joy of the season with them, but we want to hammer home how lucky we are to have everything we do, and get across how critical it is that we help others who are not as fortunate as us.

So good luck with all the things you have to do this month.  I hope you get a second to take a deep breath and soak in the goodness the season has to offer.  Because "it's the most wonderful time of the year!"