Sunday, November 27, 2011

on getting Christmas-ey (and sick)

This was our first Thanksgiving with friends instead of just us or with family, and it was a blast. We had fantastic hosts, and our favorite moment was when all four children were playing quietly with each other in the next room. A whispered "It's happening" was the only mention we made of that magical moment. They ended the fabulous evening by handing us the best holiday gift one could receive. Behold the yummy goodness:

Have you ever seen a more delectable tray of leftovers? They looked even more scrumptious when reheated the following night.

Vivi brought a cold home with her from preschool on Tuesday, and we've been dropping like flies one by one. I am always the last to fall--due to good immunity or stubbornness, not sure which. Last night I went to bed at 7:30pm. I felt ready, so why fight it? I've never been one to stay up past the moment my body's ready to succumb to sleep.

Lest I become that blogger/Facebooker who tells you the minutiae of being sick, I'll move on to cheerier topics. As promised, we decorated for Christmas on Friday, and it was a day of pure joy all around! Our "Bing Crosby" and "Charlie Brown Christmas" stations on Pandora rounded out the event nicely. Vivi relished every moment of hanging ornaments on the fake tree, especially when she was able to flaunt the breakable ones in front of Charlie and then hang them just out of her reach.

We grabbed some garland, berries, and a tiny real tree from the local farm up the street, and I must say they added that special finishing touch to make it feel like the holidays.

My favorite part of the decorating by far was bringing out a gift we received from friends last year. Have you heard of the Elf on the Shelf yet? He comes with a story to explain the tradition. Basically, Santa sends the elf to your house to watch over the children. The kids tell the elf what they want for Christmas, and every evening he flies back to the North Pole to report whether they've been good and what presents were requested.

I noticed on the side of the box that you can actually order him with specific eye, hair, and skin color requests, which reminds me of a story I heard a while back on NPR's This American Life. Elna Baker, a Mormon comedian I love, told a story about working at FAO Schwarz in NY City one Christmas shopping season.

At three and a half, Vivi must be at the prime age to begin family traditions, as she stared with wonder while I read the accompanying story. The best part is that every morning our elf flies back from the North Pole to sit in a new location in the house, so the kids can have fun searching for him every day. I love the mischievious look on his face.

Here's a shot of our elf at his first location on the mantel:

Naming the elf is part of the fun, and my vote for "Dinky" got overruled by Vivi, who chose to call him "Robert." Most puzzling about this name is that we are not aware that she knows anyone by that name. Anyway, Bob the elf it is. Here's where good ol' Bobby sat this morning:

I am looking forward to putting up the nativity scene with Vivi tonight and teaching her about Advent. What holiday traditions are your favorites? Do tell.

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