Thursday, December 05, 2013

Decorating for Christmas (Bah! Humbug!)

This year we've been slowly decorating for Christmas, emphasis on the slow. I can't emphasize enough how Benjamin is into everything, always. Those of you who've had tiny tots probably understand.

We did drag our Christmas boxes down from the attic and hunted through them to pull out the most important and exciting decorations we own: the nativity and the advent calendar. We actually have several nativities. We put the Ghanaian one on a shelf in the living room, as well as the ones from Israel. One from Italy went on the mantel. And I still had two left to set up somewhere (and others that are still boxed away).

The two that I had left to set up were made up of so many little parts and I had so many little hands flying to "help" that I was looking for a way to get out of the mess, and quick. Then I spied the advent calendar and inspiration struck.

Our advent calendar is a little cabinet filled with drawers. Working quickly, I filled each drawer with a character from the nativity, told the girls they could take turns opening the drawers. Every day they'd find a piece to "their" set for the year and would be able to arrange it however they'd like.

Decorating time was over. It was now personal time.

Yesterday Rachel came running off the bus.

"You'll never guess what I picked out of the prize box!" she yelled to me as she came tearing down the street.

"What did you pick?" I asked.

"The nativity!" she panted. "But not the whole thing. Just an angel. But I think it matches one of our nativities and I want to put it up so we can have an angel in our house because we don't have very many decorations up yet and it's almost Christmas break and..."

Rachel can really talk when she gets going (so can I, for that matter) and, also, she had been back in school for two days before announcing it was nearly Christmas break (though today she said that her favourite part of the day was "school." What about it? "Just the whole thing," so I think she's doing fine).

She pulled the angel out to show me. It did match one of our sets beautifully. And it just so happens that it matched the set in the even-numbered drawers, which only had eleven pieces (rather than twelve), so Rachel agreed that it could be one of her advent turns and put it up beside the stable that matches the set she gets to put up (which I suppose is technically the twelfth piece of the twelve-piece set but the stable didn't fit in the little drawer).

Now both girls will get to have twelve days to set up their little nativities and I didn't have to think of anything to put in the drawers this year. The Christmas Eve drawer is still empty, unfortunately, but the way I see it is that I still have 19 days to figure out what to put in there (maybe I'll just leave it empty like in the Easter Egg lesson (though that kind of feels like the wrong kind of symbolism) so maybe they'll just get so wrapped up in excitement that they'll forget about it (I doubt it)).

Anyway, the whole point in telling you all of that (besides obviously pointing out that it doesn't feel like Christmas to me AT ALL yet (so maybe I should step it up on the decoration home front)) is this:

We went for a family walk yesterday after Andrew came home from school/work (it's like 70 degrees here (see above: it doesn't feel like Christmas to me AT ALL)) and I said to him, "You'll never guess what Rachel got from the prize box today!"

"What did you get?" he asked Rachel.

"You have to guess," she told him.

And then I don't remember entirely how it happened but a little farther down the conversation I ended up saying something along the lines of, "And it matches one of our nativities perfectly and *tsk* I just gave it away!"

"What?" Andrew asked, confused. "Who did you give it to?"

"Who did I give what to?" I asked, equally confused.

"The nativity."

"No one."

"What? You just said that you gave the nativity away, so who did you give it to?"

"I didn't say that!" I laughed. "I said I gave it away, as in I gave you too much of a hint about what Rachel got from the prize box at school!"

"Oh! You figuratively gave it away, not literally."

He totally thought I'd boxed up the nativity and gave it away.

He must have sensed how frustrated I had been while trying to decorate with all my little "helpers" unwrapping fragile items and scattering pieces to this and that all over the house. I was probably about ready to give away all our Christmas things, but no...we still have them...and they'll slowly get put up.

I know they can't help their behavior—they're excited and Christmas comes but once a year—but, was chaotic!


  1. We have just a tree with lights and even that she won't leave alone. She keeps pulling the lights around and stealing the click on extension chord. I feel your pain!

  2. I love reading your stories. I can picture your little ones trying to help and sense your frustration as they try to set things up for you. You seem to have so much patience though. I enjoy the back and forth between you and Andrew about giving it away...ha, y'all are cute!