Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Our Santa Stance- Revisited

It's been about 4 years or so now since we made our decision as a family not to do the 'Santa thing' at Christmas time, and I figured it might be time to check back in on our stance and given an update to how it has gone over.

Tessa is 6 now and Charley is 4 going on 5 and we have never played out the whole Santa story at our house. We've never told the kids that he is coming down the chimney, watching their every move, or brings them presents for their good behavior. There has never been an elf on our shelf, they have never set on his lap at the mall and we've never left cookies for him before bed.

Tragic I know, a true blow to the happiness of their childhood....

Except that....our kids LOVE Christmas and it is just as magical a time for them as everyone else, if not more so. We give each other lots of gifts, and hang up obnoxious amounts of decorations. We have Christmas traditions like going to see The Nutcracker, making a gingerbread house and eating biscuits and gravy on Christmas morning. We pack Operation Christmas Child boxes, write cards to soldiers, and make baked treats for our neighbors. We watch Christmas movies, sing insane amounts of carols, drink nog and hang up stockings.

We do all of those things. We embrace Christmas in it's fullest and most joyful form, focusing on family at every turn. The only thing we don't do is perpetuate a myth about a magical person coming down our chimney.

And it has been wonderful. Year after year.

So how do we explain it all to the kids? Well they simply see him as a made up guy, a cartoon character like Mickey Mouse. Of course they see him everywhere this time of year, including in our awesome collection of Mamaw's chalkware Santas that we proudly display. We talk about how HE WAS a real guy names St. Nicolas, who gave presents to kids. They've seen the Veggie Tales St. Nicolas movie enough times to understand what that's all about.

They know that some families like to pretend that he's real, and that when the kids are old enough their parents will tell them the truth. Charley and I have had many discussions this year about how this is a BIG secret and if I find out that he spills the beans, he will be in BIG trouble....because that is something special that only parents do. He knows that being in on the secret makes him a special boy.

Tessa has asked a couple of times if we can pretend that Santa is real and I said sure...just like you can pretend like Mickey is real or My Little Ponies are real. Use your imagination and have fun.

And when the real discussions about Christmas comes, it all focuses back on Jesus and the Nativity. Second to that is family and spending time together. And lastly giving and being generous to the best of our abilities. Because Jesus gave to us we give to others.

And our kids feel it. The real magic of the season. I see that they understand. And I feel hugely blessed for our decision. 

Is it the right decision for every family? Absolutely not. Every family can decide for themselves what they want to do and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just happy to know that our 'thinking outside the box' regarding Christmas has turned out well for us. I was nervous about it a few years ago, especially after catching some flack from a couple of family members. But it's turned out well so far. If using Santa as a symbol of Christmas brings your family together and makes you happy, then that's GREAT!

In the end, the path to Christmas joy comes in many forms....and finding it for your family is a great blessing.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Life Changing

I don't normally cross-post from my bariatric blog, but since this has affected my life as a Mom as well I thought it was a worth a mention. The story behind my elephant mask.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Our Annual Thankful Tree

This is our fourth year making one. It's so so easy and a nice visual reminder to be thankful all the time.

My old blog posts tell me that every year our thankful tree looks a little different. This year we're going for simple. And on a high mantle as there are often baby guests in our house.

How to make this amazingly artistic conversation piece? Cut down some limbs, remove some leaves, cut some shotty paper leaves, and write what you're thankful for. Look at  it and be amazed at your own craftiness.


"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thess 5:18

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Halloween 2013- Costumes, Carving and Smashing

While the rest of the country was recovering from Trick or Treating, we were just getting started last night (Nov. 1st). It was delayed a day due to severe weather on Halloween night, which of course turned out to be not that big a deal.

Because of the date change, trick or treating was pretty low key in our neighborhood. We could hear the football game at our local high school, which might have been why many houses were dark. But hey, they dressed up and got all was well.

This is the first year that the kids wouldn't agree to dress up as a matching duo of some kind.

Mike Wazoski and a bride....which kind of turned into a poofy haired heavily made up 80's bride.

Remember when they were the adorable Superman and Supergirl or Snow White and Dopey or Rapunzel and Flynn? Sniff sniff.

After it got dark and Trick or Treating was pretty much closed up, we smashed some pumpkins on our driveway. Just cause.
Eventhough I swept them up, I'm pretty sure they'll be pumpkin seeds in the sidewalk cracks for years.

Speaking of pumpkins, I'm pretty sure we need a new pumpkin knife cause ours sucks and I almost lost multiple fingers while trying to make Jack O' Lanterns this year.  Let's just say our household knives are SHARP and dangerous and knife wielding husband wasn't here for that part.

On Halloween night we still had fun with our friends the Reddicks, who we seems to always do Halloween activities with. They're our trick or treat buddies it would seem.

No trick or treating in the rain, just an impromptu dinner and party for the kids, where I was a loser and forgot to take a single picture.

But hey, our hosts looked pretty cool....

Bennington Suburban Vineyard- We Have Wine Labels!

Jeremy's been wanting to label his wine with the graphic help of our friend Erin, but it's been a little lower on the priority list than the other stuff. Last year's bottles were all labeled blue painter's tape and a sharpie, which I think added a little bit of trendy mystique no?

But as of yesterday, this year's wine has actual labels!

Doesn't it look like something you'd actually buy in a store? Of course we don't have enough to sell, nor the legal abilities to do so since this 'vineyard' is run out of our suburban back yard, but I'm just sayin'....

The hubs was smart enough to print on the kind of labels that will peel right off so we can use the bottles again next year.

And now we give a big shout out and THANK YOU ERIN! These are beautiful.