Usually we keep the time leading up to the holidays pretty low key, unlike most people we know. We like to have birthday cake on Christmas Eve, but this year we will be in Disneyland, so perhaps a Mickey-shaped ice cream bar instead?
Last year we put up a tree. I wanted to take it down about an hour later. Agent J was at peak two-and-a-half-ness, and I also had, oh yeah, a newborn. Every time I sat down to nurse the baby, she would grab an ornament, eat some greenery, or unravel the tree skirt. Every. freaking. time. No amount of distraction or rearranging (at one point, the bottom half of our tree was completely bare) discouraged her. A year later Agent J remains, well, Agent J. And now Agent A is mobile, too. This season our "decor" consists of a tabletop tree, some giant Santa hats thrown over the back of the couch, and a few Christmas bears strewn about the room. Catalog worthy, for sure.
|Senior Agents, Christmas Eve 2010|
On That @#$% Elf
I truly dislike the whole concept of the elf on the shelf. I know some folks simply use it as a fun game—where will he be in the morning?—but for the majority who use it as a Santa Spy, I just . . . ugh. Actually, the whole mindset of "be good because Santa's watching" and warnings of "getting nothing for Christmas" just makes me . . . grrr. I hate hearing parents make
intimidating threats comments like that to their children. Grumble.
We don't "do" Santa around here . . . no fat jolly man in a red suit will be coming down our chimney. (You know, if we had one.) We do love Santa as a character, though, and plan to enjoy all the Christmas cartoon specials, to color lots of pictures of flying reindeer, and to overdose on hot chocolate while watching The Polar Express. We do not, however, build up the image of Santa Claus as mysterious gift giver or behavior monitor. The Agents have also never posed for a picture with Santa. (Not that I would be against it; to us it would be just like standing in line at Disney to get a photo with Mickey. They just don't care one way or the other.)
Agent E knows Santa does not deliver presents around the world in one evening. She has flat-out asked: "That doesn't really happen, does it?" At five, however, I don't think she grasps that some of her friends may believe something different based on what their parents have told them. I have never asked her to "not say anything" or "keep it to ourselves" to not spoil another's surprise. That is way too much to expect of a small child. Plus, the chances of her actually spilling the beans is so limited, it's not worth worrying her over. Nor do I think it's our responsibility, anyway, but that's probably a whole other post.
|Agent A last December|
The Agents will get a few presents in the mail from their grandparents and cousins. We will probably buy the girls one gift (likely during the after-Christmas sales; last year we bought them bikes). We'll just give Agent A an empty box to play with and call it a day.
On the Real Story
Ask the Senior Agents what Christmas is, and they will tell you it's Jesus' birthday. We haven't yet spent a lot of time discussing the birth of Jesus in our homeschooling, however. We will probably read the story from Luke in a few weeks, and maybe talk a bit about Mary and Joseph and color some pages of Wise Men and such. We have been to the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, and we talked a bit about that trip today. We'll likely discuss more about the life of Saint Nicholas as part of our upcoming lessons as well.
What does this time of year look like at your house?