I always knew that Christmas was going to be more fun – more magical! – once we had kids. I don’t think I realized it would begin so early, though. Christmas was always a really, really special holiday growing up. My parents weren’t well-off by most standards, but they made us feel truly rich at Christmastime. My mom will tell you now that they made the mistake of overdoing it when we were very young, and setting a standard that they then had to live up to year after year (How's that for magical?). She warns me to be careful not to follow in her footsteps. But honestly – it’s a mistake I would happily make if it means my little guys will have the fond memories of the holidays that I do, still today.
Eddie, our oldest, is just over 3 years old, and Rocco is 1. We are having SO MUCH FUN talking about Santa Claus, opening the doors on the Advent calendar and sharing the little chocolates inside, watching all the old-time Christmas movies on TV and driving slowly down the streets of our subdivision EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we get home from somewhere so we can adore the twinkling lights. Both of the boys will stand and marvel at our Christmas tree- and if you have a toddler, they don’t just stand and look at anything for very long. We will hear Eddie humming “Jingle Bells” from the next room over and the other day he was AMAZED that the roofs on the houses around us were covered in “big snow” as we peeked out his bedroom window.
You guys. This is a really special time of year no matter what – but with kids? Come on.
It’s also a time of year that feels a little stressful, though, as we think about how to begin teaching them about the REAL meaning of Christmas, and that this holiday is not all about getting toys. Somehow, even at such a young age, I feel like we are DROWNING in toys. I made a very conscious effort this year to create a list for the boys to give to family and friends that did not have a single toy on it. I came up with creative things like tickets to shows and memberships and cool slippers and binoculars and costumes. Bound and determined to bring them the magic that I felt as a child, but without overdoing it.
I thought about sharing that list here with you… and perhaps at some point I will… but instead, I wanted to share another list I came up with. A list of things that I have thought long and hard about wrapping up and putting under the Christmas tree. A list of things that would hardly cost a penny, but that I know my children would delight in more than anything they will probably ACTUALLY receive in two (short) weeks. More than anything, a list of things that would surely make my mom proud, so as not to set a standard that we may not be able to maintain over the years.
Here is the magical list of all the things I SHOULD wrap up and give to my children this year for Christmas:
1. Toothbrushes. No joke, the boys fight over toothbrushes. I recently bought a jumbo pack on Amazon because they stole Ed and mine out of the bathroom. They chew on them, they scrub things with them, they trade them, they LOVE them.
2. Blown-up balloons. We have a room FULL of toys, and if there is a balloon floating around it’s as if none of them exist. Balloon = constant entertainment.
3. Beer bottle caps. Parents of the year, over here! Eddie hoards them as if they were quarters, and Rocco beams from ear to ear if we even let him hold one.
4. Solo cups. Another proud parenting moment. But seriously – Eddie can spend hours stacking solo cups into colorful pyramids across the living room floor, and Rocco can spend hours knocking them down.
5. TV Remote Controls. What’s with this, you guys? And why are they NEVER as interested in the toy ones? Ugh.
6. Makeup and hair care products. Yes, I have two boys. Yes, they are VERY interested in Mommy and Daddy’s morning routines. Eddie asks what each and every kind of makeup is as I apply it, and Rocco plays on the floor taking the caps on and off our hairspray and sorting and stacking the other products. Both boys are obsessed with Ed’s combs and he keeps having to buy new ones because the kids steal his and then lose them around the house.
7. Wallet contents (credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, business cards). We seriously have to hide our wallets and my purse so they can’t get to this stuff. Unless we need to buy ourselves a few quiet minutes, in which case emptying our wallet on the floor is a welcome war game.
8. Cooking utensils. My 3 year old might just unwrap a whisk and a spatula this Christmas. My one year old is crazy about the measuring cups. Ladles often become microphones in our household and most things in the utensil drawer can be used as drumsticks.
9. Rolls of toilet paper. Can you relate on this one? Every single time any single family member is in the bathroom, it is a fight to keep one of the children from unraveling the roll. If my husband didn’t insist we buy the expensive stuff, I’d let them just “have at it” more often!
10. Chapstick. Wow, my boys are obsessed with chapstick. I bought Eddie his own little spiderman lipsmacker and had to promptly hide it on top of the refrigerator because he was slathering it all over his face.
11. Empty water bottles. Empty water bottles are musical instruments, airplanes flying through the air, a practice ground for putting a top on….taking a top off…over and over and over again.
12. Q-tips. Another novelty in the Jerzyk household. We have to keep them high on the bathroom shelf (at an in-climbable distance) so our kids don’t damage their ears or worse – scatter them all over the house ;)
Can anyone relate?!
I’m so excited to see what the next couple weeks are like as we get closer to the holiday. We will continue telling the boys the story of baby Jesus, and we will continue to talk about Christmastime as a time of magic and miracles and love. And on Christmas morning, no matter what is under the tree (Anyone want to help me figure out how to wrap a balloon?), the best part will be spending it with these boys – the greatest gift of all.