Corporate writer by day, mommy blogger by night, Tricia is raising twin toddlers – Search and Destroy. Instead of having one baby after 9 months, she had two after 6; she’s efficient like that. Tricia is a hybrid – running on coffee and chocolate. You can also find her rambling on her personal blog, Stream of the Conscious, or tweeting away @tcstream.
Blink and you missed last year’s; the holidays are here once more. Allow me to enlighten you on how to navigate (nay, survive) the holiday when small people rule the roost.
The cast (in order of appearance):
The pièce de résistance, the tree is the center of the celebration. For full effect, go for the cut-it-down-yourself tree. Pick the rainiest and coldest day (after Thanksgiving, for the love all things merry), bundle your precious offspring into rain gear, and trundle off to the nearest pre-grown forest. Wander the paths nodding and debating, “Yup. That’s a fir tree. Green. Pointy. Triangular,” until you find the perfect fit.
Verify your ceiling height before embarking upon your adventure. It’s a tree, not a vine; having one wrap itself up your wall to bend across the ceiling will just cause it to rain dead needles upon holiday revelers. This makes the magic much less majestic.
These are meant to remind passers-by of the spirit of the season. A moment of youthful joie de vivre on an otherwise frustrating commute or boring evening errand.
Do not put up your Christmas lights prior to Thanksgiving. This is unacceptable holiday adornment. As a November born babe myself, I speak for most fowl with the decree, “Back off, Fat Man. The eleventh month is turkey territory.” (Loophole here for Diwali. But you still can’t call them Christmas lights.)
If your neighbor begins hiring heavy machinery for setup by November 2, explaining that it takes all month to get things set up, but not to worry, because the lighting ceremony isn’t until the day after Thanksgiving – Congratulations, you live next door to the Griswolds. Fuses will blow, topiaries will explode. Consider moving.
Father Christmas, Papa Noel, Kris Kringle, Babbo Natale, Jolly Old St. Nick, Fat Man in a Red Suit. This legend is the man of the evening – the bearer of the bounty of excitement, gifts, and wonder – only for a couple of cookies.
Or, in the case of some mall Santas, through the eyes of certain small children, a bearded demon sent to eat our souls. Many tiny peeps are terrified of that fuzzy stranger seated on a velour throne. But, as parents, it is our duty to capture these joyful moments for posterity. Yet, the young ones still sometimes think maybe it’s not so bad to light that winter crackling fire as bedtime falls and ears attune for reindeer hoof prints.
“I think we should have a fire now. It will make me feel better,” says my son.
The tappity-tap of paw prints you’re hearing might just be dogs. Our canine companions are the first reason ornaments should only be hung three-quarters of the way down. Don’t worry, though. Your children will shake, rattle, and roll the rest of the sparkle right onto the floor where once-priceless crystal trimmings will transform into preschool shrunken bead stylings, lying atop the tree skirt among dried thistles that didn’t survive the thirsting forgetfulness of, “Hey – you need to water that tree…”
Then, the dogs will mark the tree because they’re mad you went to the preschool Christmas concert and didn’t get home until 6, when they expected to eat at 5:30 p.m. and OH MY GOD, THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO DIE.
However, joke’s on the furry one. Fit them with faux-antlers, and you’ve got yourself a modern-day Kodak moment. Jingle bells and the pouting pooch (who won’t move, because he’s actually terrified of Carol of the Bells).
The holy grail of the holidays. Presents under the tree. Wrapped in garish, shiny paper (poorly, to boot, because you could only find time after the children collapsed in exhaustion from the ‘I don’t want to go to bed’ hysterics, despite your pleas to trade places so you could sleep instead), the gifts complete the holiday tableau.
Despite the values you think you may instill in your offspring, presents wrapped beneath the tree represent the imagination, the belief, the wonder and hope little ones have been dreaming about for months. (At age three, you don’t want to save the world, you want a pink dollhouse.)
Of course, not to be outdone, grandparents are sure to show up soon, ready to take down the workshop of North Pole elves, as they’ve likely knocked off a Toys R Us on their way to join the celebration.
Despite the unslept hours, the hourly alarm clock of childhood proclamations declaring, “It’s 3 in the morning. NOW can we get up??” once daylight threatens to finally strike, you’ll suck it all up and down another cup of coffee while watching your children stand, mouths agape, at the spectacle before them, gasping, “It’s here…”
Blink and repeat next year.
***Note from Momma: Leave a comment on any Momma’s 12 Days of Christmas post to be entered into a drawing for an Elf Pack, including prizes from, Godiva, Target, Amazon.com, and more! Happy Holidays and Good Luck! Earn an extra entry by giving $1 to email@example.com at PayPal, to be donated to Tricia’s designated charity, The March of Dimes.***