I have always tried my best to be a thoughtful gift-giver, and now that I have kids, my investment in giving good gifts has increased exponentially. I want them to love the gifts. I want their gifts to encourage lots of creative play. I want their gifts to be sturdy. I want their gifts to not be obnoxious. I have a lot to think about when choosing the gifts for my children for Christmas. Quality, not quantity.
More than the gifts, I really want my kids to get a lot out of the whole experience of Christmas. Putting up the Christmas tree, singing carols, going to see Santa, baking cookies, spending time with family, doing all the traditional things that bring such warm memories to my mind from my own childhood. We’ve had a great time doing these things the past few weeks.
For me Christmas morning is the culmination of all the holiday doings. It’s the time when all the build up about Santa and his magic comes to fruition.
On Christmas morning, I want my kids to be bursting with excitement and all the pure wonder that only children can express.
This year, Christmas morning was all that I hoped it would be.
It was waking up early with this little one and waiting for her sisters to come down while starting breakfast preparations.
It was finally hearing the big girls stirring upstairs and hearing their giddy anticipation as they rushed to see what Santa left for them, watching them search for the one thing they really, really wanted (The Big Snow White!), and then seeing the pure, childish joy when they found it.
It was watching and hearing them play with their Santa gifts while I finished making breakfast. What a joyful sound.
It was finally making creamed eggs (Miss called them “egg nugget” for some reason!) by myself without needing to call my mom for her “recipe.” I’ve never written down the instructions she has given me so many times over the years, though I say to myself that I will every time. I call her twice a year (on Christmas and Easter) to ask how to make creamed eggs and have been doing so since at least 2003. This year, I finally just did it myself. With Charlie Brown Christmas playing in the background, I made my roux, added my milk, salted and peppered, and stirred in my chopped hard-boiled eggs all by myself. I felt like such a big girl. My 3 year old did help, though. She told me I needed more salt.
It was the madness of opening the rest of the presents under the tree after breakfast.
It was loving watching my big girls’ different approaches to this process, with Miss tearing open every present that had her name on it, barely stopping in between to look at what she had just revealed, and Lass stopping to play for a while with each toy as she unwrapped it and leisurely making her way around to open each of her gifts.
It was seeing my older girls, surrounded by all their new toys, choosing to sit and read for a while.
It was taking a little bit of time myself to explore the wonderful new books on cooking my husband gave me – “The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen,” “Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking,” and “Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook’s Manifesto” all by Michael Ruhlman, all Awe. Some.
It was all of these things and more.
It was joyous. It was magical.
I really think I love Christmas and Santa even more through the eyes of my children than I did when I was little myself.