My name is Natasha and I am a sucker for family traditions. (Hi, Natasha!)
I didn't grow up with very many set-in-stone traditions, but the ones that we did have are still sacred to me. I am trying to fit as many of those and as many new ones into Grasshopper's childhood as possible because, to me, tradition is the foundation that family is built upon.
To that end, I bought this advent calendar. It's not heirloom quality (heirloom quality is soooo not in the budget, this year) but it's just right for sparking imagination, and that's what I really wanted. That and a way to (hopefully) explain that, "No. Today is not Christmas. No, tomorrow is not Christmas. Why? Because it's not until December 25 and today is only December 1 and if I have to answer this question anymore this morning I will take down the Christmas tree and put it back in the attic until Christmas Eve so help me!" Ahem.
Also, I wanted a way to make the holiday season more about creating memories together than about the accumulation of more stuff (I'm looking at you, Toys-R-Us catalog). So I started brainstorming ideas for seasonal fun that we could have every single day between now and Christmas and printing those on little strips of paper that I tucked inside the calendar. Some were obvious like attending The Monkey Boy's family open house on the 12th, or seeing a special children's performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on the 17th. This morning we planted paperwhites in a pretty silver pot, and tomorrow JR and I will crank up some Brian Setzer Orchestra holiday music and have a dance party with Grasshopper after dinner.
I've scheduled in viewings of The Polar Express and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I'm hoping that we can make a trip to Callaway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights and at least one Sunday morning will be spent making gingerbread waffles. Grasshopper is going to take some of his own money with him to the Dollar Store to choose a present or two for Daddy, and we're going to wrap them together. He's going to help me choose some items for Toys for Tots donation, and he is also going to go with me to donate foodstuffs to the local food bank.
I hope that the process of opening those little calendar doors each morning will lead to the opening of some much bigger thought-processes about what Christmas really means, and why the season is so magical.
At a minimum, I'll get to rock around the Christmas tree with two of the handsomest boys I know.
What about you? What are you most looking forward to this season? I've still got a few cubbyholes left to fill and I would love to add your ideas to the mix!