Wednesday, 4 December 2013

In Awe

It is December.  I am in awe.

Not of the sparkling blanket of snow that covers my yard. (To which my four year old innocently asked, "Is snow made of glass?" which led us to a great discussion over the properties of glass that would make it impossible for snow to actually have glass in it!)

Not of the dazzling display of Christmas lights. (Although my in-laws have really outdone themselves this year rivaling even the Griswalds for their house display!)

Not of the selfless generosity of others as they dig strangers out of ditches, attach tow ropes in sub zero wind chills, and haul their pay loader over to my yard before 7am to clear my driveway so our bus can safely collect my child and I can pull in and out of my garage with ease. (For which I am terribly grateful and deeply touched.)

Not of the precious wondrous look in my children's eyes when the tree lights glow or they find their Elf on the Shelf in some precarious spot, and through the giggles and constant interruptions, tell Daddy what crazy thing Elfie did this time (although I've snapped hundreds of mental pics already and cherish every one of these moments!)

I am in awe of bloggers who blog in December.

Seriously...bloggers who blog in December, especially about December activities, are clearly on a whole new level of organized.

Or maybe they're not necessarily organized but sitting in fact, in squalor, the laundry pile growing ever-closer to their chin threatening suffocation, the Christmas decorations half up, the supper dishes growing their own ecosystem, the Christmas gifts (still) piled in a garbage bag away from prying eyes , baking doing the very opposite and burning in the oven...while they tap tap tap away on their keyboard escaping the craziness by allowing their creative writing demons some air...?

Yes, I'm going with that...anyone who is writing write now must definitely have one or more of those situations (or maybe, just maybe, you're like me - please let there be someone like me? - and have ALL of the aforementioned situations) going on at the exact same time!

I've been subbing a lot which has been a nice little bonus for the pocket book with the December credit card payment looming, but has left little time for blogging although I have no shortage of great ideas to write about in January! Combined with the influx of additional activities that December brings (I'm a huge sucker for family traditions and try to fit in as much baking and crafting as possible) there just doesn't seem to be enough minutes in the day.  But what else is new?

I thought I'd kick off my very limited supply of December posts with one of our latest crafts that despite my list of scratched projects, I simply HAD to make time for.  In addition to being fun for the kids, it is my little attempt at being organized and it does seem to help me keep things in daily check.

For the record, I have fond memories of store-bought chocolate calendars with their little perforated windows and creatively molded treasures just waiting to be discovered each morning.  It was the only time of year we were ever allowed to eat chocolate so early in the day and it was awesome!  My husband and I usually buy the kids one of these still but this year the hubs bought three really quickly without looking too close and in classic fashion (where you assume something so perfect and sentimental can't be improved upon) he bought a New Year's countdown calendar!!  Whaaaat?  Did you know these existed???

Well they do.  They still countdown to the 24th but it's not the biggest window anymore (you know the one with the slightly larger chocolate that dwarfs all the other chocolates and makes you feel so triumphant when 23 other little flaps wave their victory flags signifying your accomplishment and giving permission to savour that glorious last treat)  There are another SIX windows along the side counting down to New Years Day!

We should have known what was up by the absence of the word Christmas anywhere on the packaging, but you know how it is in the grocery store rush when you're buying something of minimal cost.   And not that I'm against celebrating New Years Eve, but I think most of you can sympathize with my desire to countdown to December 25th.

In any case, those calendars quickly got donated and the kidlets were none the wiser when I launched into making our own countdown calendar using up of our halloween candy (will we ever get rid of it all?), some scrap tissue paper, ribbon and a host of good ideas (some generated from pinterest, some out of my own head, some the kids thought of themselves).  I have done some variation of this for the last couple years since I really wanted to add some fun family activities to the chocolate treats to make the season rich and memorable.

First the kiddos counted out 24 pieces of their favorite candy (each).  Then I randomly paired up each piece into a square of paper.  Miss E cut the ribbon to size while her brother made silly faces and deliberated over each piece of candy to ensure he'd chosen the right one. I gathered and tied up the little bundles and Miss E cut out the tags I'd printed off of the computer (onto cardstock).  I wasn't organized enough to have the numbers aligned on the back so she just cut out our 24 activities with dates on them and then wrote the numbers or found stickers to match the dates. The idea was to scatter them in the Christmas tree but so far they've taken up residence on our pony wall in an orderly little parade of countdown bundles.  I didn't pay much attention to which candy was allotted for which day but I was cognizant of the bundle for Christmas Eve and it does appear slightly larger since I let the kids put their "ring pops" in the mix and I although I loath ring pops (and most hard candy in general) they LOVE them so I thought they would be a special treat for that day.

While making up the activities for the back of the tags I had my December calendar open so that I could incorporate any functions already planned into the countdown. So, for example, for my husband's Christmas party, we stay overnight at a hotel, so that tag matched up with the appropriate date saying, "Have a fun family adventure in a hotel and go swimming!"  Any concerts (school or church) also go onto the tags, along with our family traditions of making gingerbread houses (I try to pick a Saturday for this one), skating with friends (usually happens once school is out) and baking cookies and treats for teachers/busdrivers/babysitters (usually needs to happen around the 3rd week so we can deliver before school is done).  I'm not gonna lie, some dates need to be switched around when the day actually comes (otherwise December gets pretty regimented pretty fast and where's the fun in that!?) but for the most part, we all look forward to doing something together each day leading up to Christmas, even if it is a quick phone call to Grandma & Grandpa to sing a Christmas carol or read a special Christmas story at bedtime. 
In case the Christmas craziness defeats the blogging bug this month I'll say Merry Christmas right now and hope you all have a very blessed holiday where you have time to focus on your family, your blessings and spend some moments in awe of the true reason we celebrate of Christmas, Jesus.