Christmas is just a couple days away, and the to do list is still long but shrinking. Most of the buying and wrapping is done, but there's still a little of that left. Tonight I also have to pack, drop off a gift for the neighbors, and soak in those last few moments before Christmas with our Christmas tree. Then we'll be off to Buffalo, tonight if we can, or worst case scenario first thing tomorrow morning. We have a long couple days of family and fun to enjoy. It's always a marathon, but it's worth it.
I've long bemoaned the fact that we haven't been able to spend Christmas in our own house in front of our own tree, and won't in the visible future. Family is a priority for us this time of year, so as long as we live here, we will have to travel to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families. And while that's fine, it still leaves me sad that we may never see our kids bounding into our living room on Christmas morning in their pj's to see what Santa brought them. That's not to say they won't do it elsewhere (though I still haven't figured out the logistics of that--do we bring the gifts with us (ugh) or do we just set the precedent that Santa came to our house and we'll see the gifts tomorrow?), but it still wouldn't be our house and our tree. I have fond memories of Christmas mornings at home, waking up too early and killing time in bed, being held at the top of the stairs for a picture (talk about torture), and then being released to see what was under the tree. We'd open gifts, have a great breakfast (usually cinnamon buns or something similarly sweet and delicious), and then head off to church before starting a full day of family gatherings. Even in the weeks before Christmas I enjoyed the build-up, from Christmas programs at church to Christmas crafts at school, caroling with the youth group, and wrapping my little batch of gifts at my mom's wrapping station in the basement. No doubt Jacob and any future sibling(s) will have some version of most of these, but sometimes I wonder. If we end up sending him to public school, will they be too politically correct to even be able to do a Christmas craft? My memories of Christmas Eve always include the Sunday School Christmas program, though our church does their kids' program a couple weeks before (which is good since we wouldn't be around on Christmas Eve anyway). So, like I said, Jacob's Christmas experience may be vastly different than mine.
A couple weeks ago when we were discussing Christmas Eve plans with Craig's family, it came up that the extended family's Christmas Eve gathering isn't what it used to be. It's hard for me to know since I've only been going there for about seven years, but I could say the same about my family's Christmas Day celebrations. Things have certainly changed, and most of us would probably say that it's not for the better, for one reason or another. But as I thought about it further, I realized that things almost have to change. The settings, the people, the gift-giving....certainly our parents went through the same types of changes from the time they were kids to when they had kids of their own. And even though it may not be the Christmas they remember, they seem to have adjusted just fine. And we will too. I just hope the central focus of family stays intact.
It should be interesting to see how Jacob does this Christmas. While he wasn't too adept at unwrapping last year, he still managed to enjoy Christmas a lot. And this year he should be better. However, last night we did a trial run with a gift from his teachers at daycare, and he wasn't into it at all! I'm sure when he sees his cousins getting excited and is faced with a big, shiny present he'll figure it out. Or he'll be exhausted from all of the excitement and just melt into a pool of tears, but that's the story of our lives right now anyway. When Jacob's happy, he's such an awesome little boy...but he definitely has his moments these days where one little thing can set him off. Despite those moments he's been keeping us laughing with his humorously-timed "Yeah"s and his generally playful nature. His love of sports is coming through more than ever. He's almost constantly walking around with something that resembles a baseball bat or a hockey stick, or if he's not, he's pretending to swing a baseball bat or is showing off his great arm. He says "hockey" and "Amerks" a lot, and enjoys clapping along when I start a "Let's go Amerks!" chant. It's so cute!
I'm definitely looking forward to the rush of the Christmas season being over so I can just hang out with Jacob, guilt free. Lately I feel like I've either been ignoring him while I'm trying to get all of the Christmas preparations done, or I'm dragging him off to some errand that needs to get done. He's been a trooper but I feel like it really hasn't been fair to him. He'll get rewarded with most of a full week and a half with Craig and me, which should be fun. He'll have one daycare day in the midst of all that, hopefully for a nice date day for Craig and me. Jacob's teachers were crushed to hear he wouldn't be around much next week, since it is the last week ever there, so they're glad to have just that one day. It's been a weird week around there, as you may imagine. There's been a lot of sadness, or at least, a sad resignation that the teachers won't be seeing the kids anymore. When you spend the day with growing, learning kids on a daily basis, I imagine it's got to be like a part of you dying to not be able to watch their development anymore. We did give Jacob's four main teachers a pretty nice Christmas gift as a thank you for everything. It's a tough time to be out of work, so hopefully they'll have a nice (relatively cheap) dinner on us. And the teachers he doesn't have anymore got some of the cinnamon ornaments I whipped up the other night. Just a little something, I guess.
Well, it's been a busy week so far and it will only get crazier, at least for the next couple days. I'm definitely looking forward to it, though...if only I could relax! If I don't get around to blogging in the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas!