However, this is not a post about the joys and groans elicited by holiday music. Instead I'm writing to say that this has in fact been a wonderful Christmas time. Though its also a time of stress as we are moving some day to be determined but very, very soon, like next week soon, we have truly enjoyed the holidays.
STEP ONE to suddenly enjoying Christmas the way you did when you were a kid:
Have a three-year-old.
This was the first time Eliza really got into Christmas and the whole idea of a tree, decorations, Santa, delicious desserts and presents. Everything, from decorating the tree, to listening to Christmas music, to making pumpkin pie to opening presents has been a blast. When C walked with the tree last Sunday, Eliza jumped up and down with joy. She put the first ornament on the tree, a Hello Kitty ornament my stepdaughter purchased for us last year. Ornaments with Rudolf, ornaments that made music, miniature Empire State Buildings, everything caused Eliza to squeal with delight. Eliza and I baked cookies and heated up apple cider the day we trimmed the tree--all this brought her great joy--especially the cookies.
Start a real tradition with that three-year-old.
This holiday has been a lot about time side-by-side with Eliza in my tiny kitchen. I'll admit its been mostly making sweet treats that cause her eat like a shark in a feeding frenzy, then bounce off the walls for hours when the effects of the sugar rush take hold. I rolled out the cookie dough, Eliza cut out star shapes, I put the star on the cookie sheet, Eliza sucked down a gumball-sized scrap of dough, repeat. We made pumpkin pie together, or rather I should say I made pumpkin pie and she licked the pot I'd used to make the sweet chiffon filling.
Christmas Eve was the evening we established our real tradition. Coming home from church, I washed my hands and set up to hand-make pasta spaghetti. I haven't made spaghetti in about five years but since Eliza has a new interest in the mechanics of the kitchen, I thought it might be fun. It was messy, a little tense and my dough didn't turn out quite right but it was more fun than I thought it would be. Eliza worked the crank and together we made handmade spaghetti. My first real tradition with my little girl. Next year, Christmas Eve dinner, homemade sauce, homemade meatballs and hand made pasta. Eliza wolfed it all down, proud of her contribution to this meal.
Get that kid a fair number of fun presents. I overbought this year. I would have done just as well gifting Eliza with half the booty she ended up with but she loved it all, really loved it. The book I got for her about ballet class, the fake Melissa and Doug cookies, the little doll kitchen--her main gift the one thing she'd asked for and a new doll with some doll clothes. She loved all of it, unwrapped every gift like she was the luckiest girl in the world. Even a little ornament with a kitten dressed in a tutu was like the greatest thing in the world to her. Everything she opened had to come out of the box right away so she could play with it. She didn't open all of her presents before breakfast because she was having too much fun playing with the first few she unwrapped.
I felt the letdown that Christmas was over for the first time since childhood last night. When we got home from the lovely intimate dinner party we attended last night, I looked at the tree and wanted to cry because Christmas was over. My little daughter knelt in front of her new kitchen with her new doll, happily enjoying her new toys and I felt that great wonderful feeling--
all was right with the world.