I'm not a Scrooge or anything. I'm not the most Christmasy person either. Truth be told its not my favourite holiday. I love decorating and cooking and the general merriment. Though, in my opinion, and likely from too much exposure to the media, it feels like its top heavy on consumerism. The gap growing each year between what that elusive true meaning of the season and what is now the new meaning of this Holiday.
This year to fight against my own cynicism, I'm doing things my way. The focus this year for Christmas is not what I'll be shopping for but rather what we'll be doing together as a family. Far away from the shopping malls. Oh sure, normally, I will not even listen to holiday songs until December 1st. I did however, find myself channel surfing in the car again this week and have left it on a Christmas carol or two. OK, so I'm a sucker for a song that takes me back to a time when Christmas was really special to me. A time when it was pure magic. Untainted by what I know now. I find the religious songs to be my favourite now.
To make this season special and to help distill a more spirited Christmas in my family's memories we've done the Santa Parade with the homemade gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate thing. I've never seen a batch of cookies disappear so fast! Tonight we'll head into town and be present for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. We'll sing Christmas carols and stop into Tim's for a hot chocolate. We'll tour the neighbourhoods to take in the holiday lights.
We've already taken a slew of Christmas books from the library and have been enjoying reading all the little tales of snowmen and mice. We've found some nice books about the first Christmas. We're working hard on our Christmas lists and Santa pictures. Thinking hard about those who aren't as fortunate as we are. Working on ways that we can help provide those people with a little something to make their holiday better. Always remembering that this holiday doesn't have a "sale" sign on it. That whether there are gifts under the tree, this holiday will find us. That we need to be able to keep this holiday in our hearts first before it can go all wrapped up in pretty papers and bows.
The Christmas Spirit is rumbling it's way to the surface. Warming my heart. Bringing back the memories of what used to be good. I'm lucky, I can revisit some of that magic through my children. Teaching them what is most important about this special time of year. Giving them the best gift of all, that isn't found under a decked out tree.
Fall has been dragging out as long as she can. She has blessed us with far more above seasonal days than we normally get. We actually saw an Indian Summer which melted into weeks of steely grey skies with wistful breezes to blow the leaves about. We've been fortunate.
Still it doesn't stop the kid in me from watching the sky. Wondering when those first snowflakes will appear. All day my friends just North of where I live have been reporting snow sightings. Each time I got the update through Facebook (while I was diligently working) I'd dart to the window and look out to see the spectacle just to find that Whitby was being blessed with more sunshine.
The big black clouds have loomed in the distance all day. Now with the kids home the speed of the household has kept me too busy to think about much more than just trying to stay ahead of the night time tide. Cooking, cleaning and entertaining excited children. Finally, a break. The kids upstairs playing. I snag some quiet. A hot cup of tea in hand and a pen poised to create a shopping list, I hear an ecstatic cry. "SNOW! Mommy it's snowing!" The rumble of little feet scrambling from upstairs to the main floor. More shrieking.
Assembled in front of the window with our finger tips pressed against the cold glass. A true snowfall. It was coming down heavy and being driven by a stiff wind. Snow. Finally.
The TV only needs to be on for five minutes in my house and the next thing I know I'm being followed all over my house by two boys chatting me up about the latest greatest toy they've seen on whatever TV show they conjured to market this rotten little piece of future landfill fodder.
Of course these toys are made of some of the worst offending materials ever manufactured by man and chemistry. Some have been nothing short of scandalous for being painted up with lead then aimed at children who haven't made it out of the mouthing phase.
Some of these toys last for about two weeks before being broken. Anything with small parts lasts just long enough to be sucked up into the vacuum. I'm still wondering why Lego doesn't include crazy glue with their larger more elaborate sets. The Death Star doesn't really look like the imposing weapon it's supposed to be after two days with my guys. It just gets torn down to a heaping pile of shapes. There is no talking Dad into rebuilding it even if we've kept the "Sears Wish Book" of directions it comes with.
Today I had to dash into Walmart to buy a toy for a child I don't even know. I called home while wondering the aisles to ask my son what he thought his friend might like. He rattled off every toy he's ever seen this boy play with and after naming every piece of sport equipment at leisure, I was still at a loss. Now with my boys we've discovered that the box the toy comes in can often be more fun than the actual toy but that wasn't going to cut it for this classmates birthday party. I needed a plan. I needed a clue.
I started polling the unsuspecting but overwhelmed mothers that were likely wandering those aisles for the very same reason. What do you buy the boy who is very athletically inclined but likely has all that stuff? Of course they looked at me like I was crazy. My hair sticking all out of my braid and my dirty wet run gear. I'm not even going to tell you how badly I must have smelled. If I said I reeked of desperation one might think it were true.
After another couple of minutes has passed and I've picked up and put down a few more things. After a while some of these crazy toys all start to look the same. Board games have gotten complicated too. What I wouldn't have done for a light up in the dark yo-yo at this point. Do they even make those any more? Close my eyes and grab. That's it. Done. A non-decision is still a decision. Perhaps I can blame the poor choice on the child.
Purchased. Wrapped. Gift sitting in the car. My son looks up at me and says "Mom did you get James the new Bakugan Sky Raiders?"