Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Countdown

The boys have been asking me every 10 minutes how many days are left until Christmas. While I can understand their excitement, it gets a little old. You can imagine my relief and gratitude when Joey came home from school yesterday with a countdown to Christmas art project. It is a star with a tail made out of paper chains. You remove one chain every night before bed and when there are no more chains left it is Christmas. Genius! Why didn't I think of that? All of my brain cells must be leaking out through my breastmilk.
It is a fun and easy little project, and the boys love it. We will be making one for Tommy today so that I don't have to hear, "He got to pull the chain off last night!", "No, I didn't!", "It's my turn!", "Waaaa". You know how it goes.


I love that the boys are so excited for Christmas, and are at an age that they remember Santa and all that comes along with Santa. Still, I struggle to find a balance for the boys between the commercial side of Christmas, and the real meaning of Christmas. Part of me feels that they are young and able to enjoy the Santa aspect of Christmas for such a short period of time, and I should let them go all out. Another part of me longs to have them feel the deep connection to Jesus early in their lives, if that is even possible.

We put up our Christmas tree, string the lights, get out my ever-growing collection of snowmen, hang the garland, put the wreath on the front door, and decorate the outside trees with red and white lights. We also put up our nativity set, wrap the baby Jesus in a soft little cloth (a faux blanket, of sorts) and tuck him away in a temporary crib until Christmas Eve. We talk about how Christmas is baby Jesus' birthday, and how Jesus came to show us how to love each other.

Still, it doesn't seem enough.

Then, the other day we were at the store and a gentleman who works there was asking the boys if they have been good.

"Cause you know who is watching, don't you?" the man asked.

"Santa!" the boys both shouted.

I smiled but I also cringed, just slightly, on the inside. I always bristle at the thought of a child being good simply to get presents from Santa. Maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to plant a gentle reminder of the One we should really want to impress. So I said, "But who is even more important than Santa, and who always watches us?"

Without hesitation Joey said, "God!"

My heart beamed and I let out a deep, satisfied sigh.

"That's right, honey!" I said with pride.

They had been listening.


Maddy said...

Well there you go, what a lovely surprise - they do know you know. I also thing the stars are a lovely idea.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Julie Pippert said...

Isn't it wonderful when you see something like that, that they have been listening and taking it in?

Very sweet boys.

And cool idea for the countdown!

Using My Words

Family Adventure said...

Excellent countdown method! And yes, you definitely need two. LOL.

Heidi :)

Unknown said...

Oh, that's so sweet. Mine's only two, so I also get the commercial vs. real. I'm sticking to the original plan that he gets 3 gifts, like Jesus and when he's old enough to "get" it, he'll also give three away to charity. They do remember sometimes! You're doing good K. Promise!

Kellan said...

Of course they listen - you are a good mom! The star thingy is a cute idea. WE do books - read one a night (start with 25) until Christmas Eve. We have skipped a few nights - I need to get caught up. Take care, Kathryn. See you soon. Kellan

painted maypole said...

nicely done. it's a hard line to walk. I wrote about our santa issues here:

Anonymous said...

Love the project and the story about your boys. It may not always seem like you are getting through, but you are. Keep up the great work!


OHmommy said...

Okay. You just won the Mom of the Year award. Seriously... what a perfect thing to say. We try and talk about God all year long too. :)

What a cute star idea. Can you post that up again on your blog in Nov 2008 to remind me. Thanks!

Momisodes said...

Your boys are so sweet. I only hope for the same for my little one :) I love the project, so cute!

Laura said...

What a brilliant idea...I am going to do that for my boys as well.

I am also struggling with the presentationof the commercial side of Christmas and the real meaning of Christmas. It is very difficult.

Be proud of your little one.

Bea said...

My mother-in-law cross-stitched an advent calendar for us with little cross-stitched shepherds and wise men that we hang on tiny little beads, one for each day. They're quite difficult to hang, and when you try to put one on, there's often a chain reaction where several others fall off. If my children pick up one or two swear words this Christmas season, that advent calendar will be the reason. Your idea seems much simpler!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson