December 27, 2010

This Christmas

It would be hard to call our Christmas anything other than magical. Unless you're considering the use of adjectives like exhausting, chaotic or manic.

We did the now-traditional Christmas eve dinner at our house. My parents and inlaws came, we decorated Christmas cookies, drank a lot of wine and got the kids totally amped up for Christmas. Unfortunately for us, a little too amped up. When 5:30 on Christmas morning rolled around, Mia was awake and raring to see what Santa had left behind. After putting her off for an hour, Beth couldn't take it any longer. Mia burst into Owen's room where she found both Owen and I sleeping (when he started shouting for me at 4:00 I figured that sleeping with him would buy us some time in the morning, under the way-incorrect assumption that Owen would be up first) and both of us popped awake. In under 5 seconds flat, Owen was scooting his little bottom down the stairs to see just how good Santa was to him.

The next four hours were nothing short of chaotic. It was all we could do avoid cracking open a bottle of wine at 11:00 AM. Instead we drank a lot of coffee. And ate chocolate. The kids ran around like crazy people playing with all their new stuff. And then, magically, it snowed. A white Christmas indeed.

At 3:30, we headed to my folks' house for more chaos. More presents, more food, more alcohol. It was all good but after being awake since the pre-dawn hours all we really cared about after a certain point was going to bed. Which we eventually did.

Owen and Mia were only slightly less crazy yesterday. And we all desperately need to get out of the house. Job one for today.

How was it perfect, you ask? At one point while opening gifts, Owen got his hands on one present and, while tearing through the paper and seeing what was inside, wore the perfect Christmas expression on his face. His cheeks were red, his eyes as wide as they could go and his mouth was formed into a perfect O. Beth and I both saw it, looked at each other immediately afterwards and broke down laughing. Owen had no idea what he'd done but he'd come up with the perfect mix of joy and surprise and sheer unadulterated innocence that will, from this point forward, forever define what Christmas is for me.

And how were your holidays?

Posted by Chris at December 27, 2010 8:19 AM

It was very nice. Filled with surprises and lots of good food!

Posted by: Maribeth at December 27, 2010 9:57 AM

My 4-year-old nephew woke up my brother at 5 a.m. Christmas morning with an Legoman LED flashlight and a harmonica. I noticed later that Legoman had taken up a new residence on a high shelf. Strange how these things happen.

Posted by: Foggy Dew at December 27, 2010 12:09 PM

Our Christmas was amazing! It's so much fun when you can watch your kids get so excited. I realized afterwards that we had managed to have an "electronics free" Christmas at our house. No movies, no wii games, just board games, books, and legos. (Oh, and socks). I forgot how much fun the game "operation" was... now it's buzzing happily in our house,and the kids are jumping a mile and giggling when the get buzzed. I'm starting to think that some of it is intentional!
Today - all the parties and presents are done, lego airplanes and cars are built, and we spent the morning snuggling in bed watching cartoons - that is until we got up to go see Tangled. You were right! One of the best movies we've seen in a long time. All the kids loved it.

Here's your frying pan, and your frog.

Posted by: Kim at December 27, 2010 3:10 PM

Mum and I were just saying a couple days ago that we needed some kids around to help but some of the magic back in Christmas morning. Can we borrow yours? ;-)

Posted by: Heather at December 27, 2010 3:55 PM

Hey Chris, just saw a great video on the web where a Dad had filmed his kids coming down the stairs every Christmas morning for 25 years. What a great thing to have.

Posted by: Lee at December 27, 2010 6:57 PM

Things here were great as well. We were all exhausted, but it's part of the holidays :)
Merry Christmas to you, Beth, Mia & Owen :)

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at December 27, 2010 7:11 PM

We had an amazing holiday again this year, however this years great gift was watching my 6 year old be over the moon excited by GIVING. It makes you feel like you have done something right. Proud mama moment right there.

Posted by: DeAnna at December 27, 2010 8:09 PM

It was wonderful. Had similar moments as yours. Our best was when my 2 year old saw the snowman ice cream cake his grandparetns brought over. He was in awe. Poor kid, that's the only snowman he's going to get this Christmas in Arizona. I think he's been confused with all the Christmas specials showing snow and here we have blue skies and 70 degrees.

Posted by: Meemo at December 27, 2010 10:16 PM

Mine were awesome, thanks. :) Glad yours were too!

Posted by: Poppy at December 28, 2010 5:06 PM

Not a great Christmas here, given the situation (though I didn't have to spend much time with my MIL from hell, so there is a positive side to separation...). I spent waaaaay too much time alone - my ex and his mother had the girls with them all afternoon, every afternoon from 22/12 till yesterday (27/12, my elder daughter's 9th birthday - I was with them till just after lunch yesterday, just before lunch or earlier the other days), plus most evenings (Christmas Eve till 12.45 am, God help me) except Christmas Day, when we had our "special" dinner, just me and the girls, even though younger wouldn't eat most of it.
So, yeah, a lonely time. I did manage to take my younger daughter to see "Tangled" which I enjoyed, but not as much as "The Princess and the Frog" and "Up", and I saw "The Tourist" on my own on Christmas Eve.
I drank too much dessert wine on my own (this could be a slippery slope, I feel) and was grouchy, bad-tempered and pretty damn miserable, I have to admit. The girls were moderately badly-behaved - up too late every night, disturbed by the oddness of the situation, general age-related brattiness and sister-to-sister fighting - and I just felt that the effort I put in wasn't worth it.
To be honest, I'm glad it's all over (though NYE will be tough to get through - I'll probably be in bed by 10 pm to avoid getting maudlin on my own).
Glad you had such a good time - your family and your life seems to be so picture-perfect and enviable! I think I'm starting to live vicariously through you, your wife, your cute children, and your beautiful home and lovely (seemingly normal) families...(don't worry, I live miiiiiiiles away, I'm not going to start stalking!!!)
Happy New Year to you all!

Posted by: Kirsty at December 28, 2010 6:13 PM

We had a fabulous Christmas! Unfortunately, I had the stomach virus that was going around for the entire Christmas week. It would've been a lot better had I not been sick. The nieces and nephews had a great Christmas and seemed to like all of their toys / gifts! It is frightening to see my niece go from Barbie dolls to jewelry and pruses in just one year...they grow up too fast!!

Posted by: Krush at December 28, 2010 8:52 PM

It was a good, quiet Christmas 'round these here parts -- mostly due to it being the first one since my dad suddenly passed away last January. However, I am excited to say that it will go down in history as our last quiet Christmas for many years to come... next year, we should have a 5-month-old baby joining us in the festivities!

Thanks for sharing your description of Owen's perfect Christmas face. You're right -- even your written account encompasses his expression as perfect. Even though I didn't see it for myself, I saw it in my mind's eye, and it WAS perfect!

Oh -- are there any iPad apps that you've found that you absolutely cannot live without? If I'm correct in remembering, you've had one for a while... Santa brought me one this year, and I'm busy loading it up with stuff!

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