Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas with a Toddler

Zach is almost 19 months old and he is thoroughly enjoying the whole Christmas season – cookie baking day, Christmas tree inspecting, opening gifts, holiday parties – and more to come as we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas.

We started opening gifts at our house on Christmas Eve and we extend our celebrating for 12 days by opening presents, entertaining or doing something special up until January 6th. We started doing this when Fran was just a toddler because we thought too much on Christmas Day would be overwhelming for her. Since I was a working Mom it also gave me a chance to do some after Christmas shopping and have a more relaxed holiday. It still is a favorite feature of our celebration and my adult children continue to embrace this tradition.

But what about Santa? Well we never said there wasn’t a Santa, but we never emphasized Santa either. Of course we did the milk and cookies for Santa but we always tried to make Christmas more of a religious holiday than one about Santa. Our church had a Christmas pageant at an early service on Christmas Eve and both of my children always participated. The year Fran was Mary we gave her a nativity ornament that now bedecks her own tree.

We always were shopping for others at Christmas too – whether it be families in a shelter in Newark or a family in Appalachia - and so sharing with others has always been part of our Christmas experience.

This year the first presents were opened on Christmas Eve at our house. Aunt Sonny, Zach’s godmother, brought this enormous package and put it in front of Zach. The adults gathered around. He looked cautiously and we encouraged him to pull away the paper. He HOWLED with laughter as he tore the paper off and finally said a big OOOOOOOOOOO as the picture came into view.

I love this picture of Zach lining up the parts on the radiator cover as his father, Josh has the look of “I see – it needs to be put together.” Little does he know that his life of putting toys together at Christmas time is just beginning with many years to come of a lot more of this activity.

Finally, here is Zach enjoying the first ride in our kitchen.

Christmas day Zach opened treasures at home, at both grandparents house and at Uncle Leonard and and Aunt Janice’s house. And on many days since there has been another small gift. He also has enjoyed the food that goes with holiday celebrations and has found this munching on appetizers before dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve to be fun also. Hmmm by the end of the week, the trees will be down, the presents will all be unwrapped, and life will be back to normal. Hmmm… I wonder what he’ll think of all that? We’ see…stay tuned.

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