Hunter's Christmas Concert - I posted a video on that other blog but it just touches the surface. There was lots of practicing of the poem ("Rudolph's Colourful Noses") and the song ("The Itsy Bitsy Snowflake"). There was a handmade invitation brought home from pre-school. There was Hunter's excitement and nerves after the dress rehearsal and leading up to the concert (he was up at 4:30 that day). There was an audience full of parents filming and photographing. There were tears of pride in our eyes, not only because our big guy was on the stage making our hearts swell but also because our girl was sitting with us clapping and trying to sing along. I had no idea I could feel the way I did when watching a Christmas concert but I'm glad I got to experience it (and will get to experience it again and again).
Christmas Crafting - We made hand and thumbprint tree paintings, candy cane reindeer, glitter snowflakes, picture frames, "a wall" painting, sugar cookies for gifting, and a snow globe. Hunter made jingle bells and door hangings with friends. He brought home a reindeer pot and a candle holder from school. The feeling I got when seeing Hunter beam with pride over what he had created is hard to describe but undoubtedly fulfilling.
Christmas Countdowns - When my niece was around six, my parents started a Christmas countdown tradition that saw them give 24 tiny(ish) wrapped gifts to be opened each day in lead up to Christmas. Hearing about her breaking into the countdown box (after the pockets of the first year were destroyed) and nagging to open the next present was rewarding enough that four grandchildren later, the tradition continues (and grows). Last year, Hunter got so accustomed to the daily ritual of gift opening that he was surprised when on Boxing Day there wasn't a countdown present to open. This year, he caught on to the concept (this may have been aided by the countdown he brought home from school and his Polar Express countdown). Each morning, Hunter would stumble out to the living room, retrieve and unwrap a present, then run into our room to excitedly announce what he received ("I can't believe they got me a ... I always wanted a ...", "Wow, craft supplies!!! Now we won't have to run to the craft store!!"). After breakfast a new magnet would be added to the Polar Express countdown. Next, a day would be marked off the calendar he brought home from school and he would count how many days were left until Christmas.
Wrapping Presents - I'm not particularly crafty. I think I'm a bit of an anomaly in my family that way. One of the things I do enjoy, though, is wrapping presents. I like to pick out the perfect paper, bow, bag, basket, tin, box, etc. and ensure that the present is packaged just right. My interest in this has been declining over the years but was reinvigorated this year by Hunter's keen interest in helping wrap the presents. He picked all the packaging this year and, aside from the presents he received from us, helped wrap every single one. They may not have looked perfect, but they were beautiful to me.The Rise of the Menace - I can not stress enough how different my two monsters are. I don't really remember Hunter playing much before he was a year and a half. I don't remember having to keep things stapled to the ceiling much before he was walking. Julia, on the other hand, is in to everything and anything she can reach and everything is a toy (or at least has the potential to be one). Christmas was particularly fun for her. From unwrapping presents way before Christmas to chewing on shephards from the manger, extra decorations and clutter meant non-stop destruction (which of course means fun).
Christmas Morning - When I see the sea of wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree I always feel a bit sick. Aren't we trying to ensure our kids are not too materialistic or greedy? But we're guilty of contributing to it too. The last two years, my favourite sound on Christmas morning has been the gasp from Hunter when he spied his gifts from Santa. That sound, I figured, captured all the excitement of Christmas. This year, the best action and sounds from Hunter on Christmas morning was when he stopped mid-way through opening his stocking to run to the tree and grab all the gifts from him for everyone. He was as excited about seeing everyone open what he had picked out, made, and wrapped as he was about digging into his own loot. Maybe the stuff we're trying to teach the kids the rest of the year sticks even through the holidays that break all the rules.
December Hunterisms - What would the holidays be without a few odd phrases heard from Hunter? Here are some of my favourites this month: "crazy" (this is said about basically anything - in excitement, about himself, etc.), "some certain Dad" (as if there might be a plethora of Dads around), "Nobody is ever going to believe this story" (while riding on the quad with Grandma and ~gasp~
All I Want For Christmas is a tooth, a tooth, a tooth!! - Somewhere between Christmas and Boxing Day without much fuss or complaint a perfect, beautiful tooth emerged at last. Merry Christmas, toothy grins are not far behind!
A sliding, skiing, snowshoeing Christmas vacation - I've been stubborn about travelling at Christmas since Hunter was born. I figure it is just safer to stay home and host Christmas. This year, we rented a van and drove to my parent's place for the holidays. There is talk of making this an every couple of years event. I can't imagine a much better gift for Hunter because once we got there there was virtually no shopping and plenty of time spent outside (sliding at least once a day, skiing and snowshoeing for the adults, and of course the hot tub which Hunter views as his own personal place to demonstrate all he has learned in swimming lessons no matter how much water is lost). I'll take this opportunity to note that the daily exercise did little to prevent the inevitable (I think) Christmas pounds.
First steps on New Years day! - This one isn't a December but it is definitely noteworthy so I'm squeezing it in here anyway. This evening, Julia took her first independent steps (three times). Hunter was dancing and she was sitting on the floor - she stood up (I think to dance) and surprised herself by taking a step forward. She tried it two more times right away. I'm starting to think she has a thing for holidays... born on Valentine's Day, first tooth on Christmas, first steps on New Years (and we're thinking she probably did something wonderful on all the other holidays and we just didn't catch on).