Monday, November 19, 2007

Last Christmas...

WHY such an early Christmas post? Read on...


Last December, before going to Austria, I brought Little Boy to the mall where he waited in line for Santa and climbed right up on his lap and asked for Lady and Diesel 10 (both trains from Thomas). I brought a stocking with me and come Christmas Day, Santa did indeed find this good Little Boy (Austria has an angel that delivers gifts, not Santa!). He did not have much in his stocking... an apple, some chocolates, I think a roll, maybe an orange... and Lady and Diesel 10! Believe it or not, they are his only 2 Thomas trains (this year he has asked for Emily and Rosie). Anyway, I think it was at this very moment that he believed, really believed in Santa. LOOK!!! Getting his stocking was his very favorite part of Christmas last year! It was a true "wow" moment.


The BIG pile of gifts - a bit overwhelming, as he would have much rather have had just 1 gift and had the chance to look/play with it instead of rushing on to the next present. And then, after all that gift opening he was expected to sit down for a big Christmas dinner, soooo hard for an excited little one. NOT that I am complaining... we were in Austria with DH's family and that is their tradition... it was just alot... all at once. Gosh - the kids over there don't even see the Christmas tree until they come into the room to open presents, so you can imagine it was all very, very exciting for my son and about 1/2 way through dinner he was done, done, done. Sensory overload.


Which brings us to this year... I don't want my son to get ALL his gifts on Christmas Day... he doesn't know where to start, what to play with, everything gets opened at once and strewn about and who knows which pieces go with what. I've talked with DH and we have decided to give him 1 little present per day in conjunction with opening a window on his Advent Calendar. Just as an example - we got him a car transporter truck that holds his much played with matchbox cars. He will get a few new cars on various days - it will lead up to the truck on Christmas day. Many of his Advent presents will actually be little books about Christmas I have bought for him (I will split up the "set" - this will give the 2 of us time to read the stories leading up to Christmas. I am really looking forward to that!


Come Christmas Day he will still get a few presents from the 2 of us, plus his stocking - he is getting Emily and Rosie from Santa along with a new stuffed animal friend and a FEW other goodies (the food items and probably a new kids toothpaste and socks). I am hoping that this will really give him the chance to enjoy each new little toy, one day at a time.


And... I have high hopes of enjoying a peaceful Christmas dinner this year! Want to see what I looked like last year at dinner???? LOL! OK, it wasn't all that bad - and dinner was a delicious meat fondu (another tradition in DH's family), it was just late and my son was overly excited, a bit over-tired... and just so happens to be the only child under the age of 20-something in DH's family... and - well, if you are a Momma - I don't need to say more. I do love to be in Austria for Christmas and this year I am a bit torn if I want to go or stay here? I even have plane tickets to go... but... I have gone for the past 3 years so maybe this is the year not to go? The year I was pregnant my Doctor advised me not to go because I live at SEA level and the Austrian Alps altitude could have been dangerous for the baby. I stayed at sea level! We went for years before Little Boy was born too. It will actually feel a bit strange not to go...


Oh, and did I mention how beautiful the mountains are??? And how much I enjoy skiing on a nice day? And that even Little Boy is learning to ski?
And that I think it is important for my son to see his Austrian family every year? His Omi is over 80 and she has already been over here 2X to see him, but I think the trip is really long for her now (shoot, it is long for me too and I am no where her age!). DH's sister goes out of her way to be accomodating and making me feel at home and I really do have a good time.

Oh, but did I mention trying to keep his little fingers out of the bowls of fine chocolate everywhere and candles and the glass ornaments on the Christmas tree? No?!?... well...


Here is a photo of the 2 of us in front of the Christmas tree with the candles light. The real candles. Like as in light a match type candle. Trees in Austria are usually fresh cut and set up on Christmas Eve. Also - you might be able to see that the branches are farther apart than what we see in North America. The other day, while waiting in line to cross the USA/Canadian border I saw several trucks full of Christmas trees headed toward the US. I would NOT light a candle on a USA tree - by Christmas time they are dry, dry, dry. Actually, one Christmas a local family woke up when their Christmas tree caught on fire from lights - because they had one of those ornament smoke detectors on the tree!!! I guess extra smoke alarms can't hurt this time of year... so check your batteries, buy that funky ornament, buy more smoke alarms if needed - gosh -I sleep with a fire extinguisher next to my bed... can't help it! It helps me sleep better.

Personally, I like a fake tree, gasp! Actually, my Nana and Grampa used to have a GREAT one that was silver and had a light behind it with a colored wheel that rotated... the tree would be red... green... blue... purple... oh, how I loved that tree when I was little... truly retro now! Anyone remember those???


Oh, so back to the beginning of my post... why so early? Well, it is only November 19th so if you want to try out the daily Advent gift idea in your own household - there is still enough time for you to get organized for it!


And me, well, I just want to be together as a family for Christmas, no matter the country, but this year I would be especially happy to be in Canada. I can even order a fondu pot from Home Hardware for our dinner... I think I am just a bit tired of traveling right now.


Susan said...

I love your Christmas idea. My first thought was the 12 days of Christmas, but the advent calendar works, too. We always did an advent calendar. We always did the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Those were my family's traditions, and we kept them with my children. I like the safety of a fake tree, but the smell of a real one!

Darcie said...

Funny you should be speaking about the trials of family Christmases. I was getting all stressed just last night about ours. And I've always thought that having both families so close in miles was the kicker...but it sounds like miles and oceans away are difficult too! ;-) It all works out...and the main thing is for health and happiness, right?

Has DH ever experienced a Canadian Christmas? Perhaps it could be his turn to travel!

Hedgehog said...

Good luck with the decision! I know it's a tough one. Me, I'm excited about being in Maine again after two years away.

Mama Koch said...

Having little ones at Christmas is always tough. I always thought I had to satisfy everybody else and it was too stressful. I'm actually glad my boys are older and their needs have changed. The older folks that I no longer try to satisfy just don't seem to matter anymore!

Good luck with your decision. Enjoy the holiday--it's about faith and family and we should keep it that way.

andsewitis Holly said...

The Advent Calendar idea and opening a gift in conjunction with each day sounds like a great idea. I can understand your being torn as to where to spend Christmas. I'm glad Growing Boy is feeling better.

cher said...

oh...I love the idea of spreading Growing Boy's gifts out that way- so much easier on children. And...good luck with where you end up celebrating! Always hard to travel a lot.

Mary said...

What a nice idea to have a small present with the Advent calendar.

I am also torn at Christmas whether to travel to family or stay at home. This year we will be home and my oldest son and his wife will be visiting us. Keith is planning a quick trip to California right after to see his sister and Mom but I'll stay home.

Bingo~Bonnie said...

thanks for posting the photo of the tree with REAL candles on it! I'd heard about that being how the first Christmas trees were lit, but never seen one. and yes I rememebr those silver fake trees with the changing color spotlight :) my cousins had one in the bedroom they shared!

oh - and I love your advent/gift idea! I wonder if I have time to come up with something similar?? I have a few ideas... I bought some books at a yard sale a few months ago about Christmas that I haven't shown her yet...

Since the very first Christmas with our daughter, we started our own tradition of asking Santa for only 3 presents... just like how baby Jesus received 3 gifts from the wise men... and suprisingly she still remembers what Santa brought last year and she is only 3.....I wonder how many kids, or even adults for that matter, can name even 3 itms they got last year??? ~Bonnie