There are few things in life I am as enthusiastic about as Christmas.
Unless you count chocolate, sleeping, wine, animals, my family, a cold glass of Blue Moon with a fresh orange garnish, laughing, or shopping.
Not all of us celebrate Christmas, but I think most of us celebrate something, and there is no better way to heighten the anticipation and make the most of a big event than with an official countdown. <insert drummers drumming here>
Each year, Christmas seems to come and go quicker and quicker, and I’m putting my foot down. I called the Farmer’s Almanac and insisted they add days to the month of December, and they were all, “Lady, that’s not what we do.” Whatever. I’ve decided that since I can’t extend the season, I will just try and make the most of every day of it. I can’t take credit for this idea, as I probably adapted it from a pal or Pinterest, but I’m sharing the way my fam does up the holiday with our annual Countdown to Christmas.
The kids are in charge of a literal countdown, courtesy of some blocks, but my husband and I also like to make each day leading up to C-Day special. That could translate into a small toy, an opportunity to go somewhere, a new game, or something else that floats their boat. This year, December looks a little somethin’ like this:
December 1st: My son, who is 4.5 years-old, is old enough to understand Bible stories, so we gifted him with his own Children’s Bible and we read the first few stories together as a family before bedtime. Our daughter got a kick out of Adam and Eve: “they’re not wearing shirts!” And that’s why she doesn’t have her own Bible yet.
December 2nd: New coloring books and crayons for everyone! Of course we blast Christmas music while we color in our Elmo’s “Celebrate the Season” book.
December 3rd: Today we craft. The kids will paint ornaments that will become gifts for great-grandparents.
December 4th: Fun with bath time; I snagged some “magical” Disney towels that grow when in water. While the kids have extra play time in the tub, I’ll have extra time to clean the toilet. Life is unfair.
December 5th: Twenty days ’til Christmas! Today we build a felt Santa and add cotton balls to his beard in yet another attempt to officially count down to Christmas! We did this last year and I can’t find the picture, but I totally got the idea from the OopseyDaisyBlog, and here’s what hers looks like:
December 6th: I had vacation days to burn, so I’m taking off today and the kids and I will bake. We have special cupcake wrappers and festive sprinkles. I’ll send my son to preschool on a sugar high. You’re welcome, teachers.
December 7th: The kids and I will head to my gal pal’s house for Kiddie Christmas Fun. We’re getting all crafty and decorating cookies. Gestational diabetes, here I come!
December 8th: I stocked up on new bedtime books through my son’s preschool’s book sale. Tonight we’ll read one of the new titles. And then sleep for a full 15-hours. Too much? Okay, how about everyone just stays put until they see the sun.
December 9th: Mondays are always a bit crazy for us (aren’t they for everyone?!), but today I am determined to slow things down and make a special breakfast. I’ve yet to decide, but I’m leaning toward homemade pancakes (because they’re easy) that I can garnish with raisins and strawberries and whipped cream. We will have Santa pancakes, oh yes.
December 10th: Each kid gets a storage bin (10 x 10 x 10) and then has to fill it with toys that they don’t play with any more. We’ll drop them off at Goodwill. It’s a two-fold success: they learn to share and I have help cleaning up. And what they don’t know is that those same bins will be refilled with new things on Christmas Day.
December 11th: We’ll make homemade Christmas cards for a few of the neighbors Mommy likes. I cut two pieces of poster board into more manageable sizes, and the kids get to decorating. We’ll hand-deliver them.
December 12th: Another new bedtime book!
December 13th: A local high school is putting on a little Christmas show in their planetarium. The kiddos and I are meeting my college roommates and their offspring for the show and pizza afterward.
December 14th: I’m going to see Justin Timberlake in concert, wearing a fabulously hilarious t-shirt I designed (photos to come later), so I hope my husband doesn’t forget about the countdown. Just in case, we’ll call this popcorn and movie night. I bought a special popcorn tub that will fit enough of the fluffy buttery stuff to weigh the kids down just in time for bed. I’m thoughtful like that.
December 15th: Guess who’s leaving again?! It’s ME! I’m headed to a cookie exchange, but I promised to bring the kiddos new cookies, so that counts, right?
December 16th: It’s another new book kind of night!
December 17th: I took the day off for a doctor’s appointment, and this time, my son and daughter will accompany me. They’ll get to hear their sibling’s heart beat before we head to the mall where they’ll ride the train until they’re dizzy. I will sip my Starbucks from a nearby table, offering the obligatory wave as they round the bend. Choo-choo, baby.
December 18th: My husband’s high school students put on a holiday chorus show, so we’ll take the kids and say a silent prayer that our daughter doesn’t try to run up on stage. Actually, that would be pretty spectacular. I may coax her…
December 19th: Another new bedtime story! (Cut me some slack, man. I’m a teacher and reading is important. Also the books were on sale and my ideas are starting to run out…)
December 20th: New t-shirts for everyone! Well, just the kids. Sorry, husband; you’ll have to wait to open your gifts on Christmas day and be sorely disappointed because I didn’t buy you a t-shirt. The boy will don his at his school Christmas party, and the girl will wear hers proudly, oblivious that no one invited her to the party.
December 21st: My very best gal pal and I will celebrate Christmas with the kids. We’ll head to her place to exchange gifts and let the kids run wild. I will leave without helping clean up, citing the pregnancy as an excuse.
December 22nd: A dear friend and her husband host the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater party, so the fam and I will attend with zero hopes of winning because 1. my husband is no fun and wears the same sweater every year and 2. unless they make ugly sweater tents, ain’t nothin’ gonna fit me. But the kids will have a blast and that’s all that matters. That and winning, but let’s focus on what’s really important. Winning.
December 23rd: I took the day off and plan to spend it doing whatever the kids want to do. I’m leaning toward the Children’s Museum in the city, but if they’re content to ride the mall train while I enjoy another Starbucks, you won’t hear me complain.
December 24th: IS IT REALLY CHRISTMAS EVE?! So exciting! Kids get new Christmas PJs, I force them to pose for adorable pictures, and then the visiting begins. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, oh my! Food, cookies, gifts, weeeeee! Can you tell I get excited?
December 25th: MERRY CHRISTMAS! The kids will wake ungodly early which is a shame because their father and I were up very late putting the finishing touches on their presents. But their excitement is contagious and we oblige their pre-sunrise invitation to head downstairs to the tree. I’m ready to crash around 10am, but manage to stay awake during Mass. That’s just a prediction, I can’t speak to what will actually happen. But if you go to our church and you see me drifting, don’t judge. I just told you how late I was awake building crap. Lay off.
Yeah, I know it’s already December 3, which makes this post late. I’ve been busy planning, man! I hope that you’ll take some of these ideas and make them your own; you deserve a truly wonderful, magical, cookie-laden holiday season. However and whenever you and yours celebrate, I wish you all the best. Now get outta here; I’ve got some Santa beards and pancakes to make.