Garrison is finally learning the difference between "Christmas Time" and Christmas Day. Since Halloween he's been asking about Christmas time and talking about Ho Ho and occasionally requesting to sing a Christmas carol before bed. I don't think we encouraged an early arrival of the Christmas season but for some reason we've been talking about it and anticipating it since the end of October.
Anyway, after arriving home on Saturday from our Thanksgiving holiday we gave the little man his lunch and then got him down for a nap. Two days in a row without a nap had taken it's toll on him and let's just say mini meltdowns were occurring at the drop of a hat. Sooo, while he napped we got the tree inside and put on all the lights and got a few other "decorative" things done around the house.
Garrison was thrilled when he woke up. His little face lit up and he smiled really big... then he started asking questions and talking non-stop. Sometimes Terrell and I can't get in two words to each other because Garrison is constantly talking. Goodness. He was actually a big help once we started decorating the tree though. He sat down and unwrapped the ornaments from tissue paper and then gave them to me to hang on the tree. He attempted hanging a few ornaments himself but decided he'd much rather unwrap tissue paper (just like a present but without the ripping and tearing) and find a new ornament to hand over to go on the tree instead. He had fun helping "trim the tree" and especially enjoyed decorating his own little tree in his room and Austin's tree in his room. Austin just got to hang out and watch this year.
This Christmas season is already so exciting and fun because of him being older and more aware of everything. He can enjoy and appreciate all the lights and decorations a little more. He can understand the Christmas Story a little better. He can ask for something he'd like Ho Ho to bring. He knows more about Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus this year. And he can request to listen to Christmas music and sing Christmas carols before naptime and bedtime. His favorite right now is Deck the Halls. =)
My absolute favorite thing these last few really cold days is staying home with my boys and enjoying our trees and Christmas music (except for Tuesday when Garrison had school so we had to brave the weather). I recently heard, actually I read, another mom say that her family celebrated the miracle and the magic of Christmas, and I think that's a perfect description of what we do as well. Terrell and I both grew up celebrating this way and wanted the same for our children. We work hard to keep Christ the center of our Christmas season and want to make sure Garrison knows that the birth of Jesus is why we celebrate, but we also enjoy the decorations, get-togethers, Ho Ho, and presents. One of my favorite books to read to Garrison is "What is Christmas?" because it does such a good job of explaining how Christmas trees and presents and Santa Claus are all fun and cool and okay, BUT Jesus is the real reason for Christmas and it's all about Him.
Sometimes I struggle with the fine line between enjoying the "magic" and losing sight of the real reason for the season, but I know that it's up to us as parents to keep our priorities in order during the Christmas season. It's up to us to make sure our kids know it's about thanking God for sending His Son, and giving to others, and celebrating with family. It's somewhat of a challenge to do with a 2.5 year old and 3 month old, but you can never start too early (something I've heard for years and have definitely come to believe now that I'm a parent). So for now we're reading both "sacred" and "secular" Christmas stories, listening to both sacred and secular Christmas music, playing with a Fisher Price Navitiy Scene (and enjoying small Navitiy scenes in every bedroom), watching Rudolph, talking about Ho Ho, enjoying Christmas trees and decorations, and praying our little ones come to know the true meaning of Christmas and ultimately have a personal relationship with Jesus one day.