The Nearly Perfect Christmas

First off, here are three reasons Christmas 2013 was not absolutely perfect:

1. With Christmas falling on a Wednesday, and having taken a bunch of time off to travel at Thanksgiving (which was still the right decision), I had to work a half-day Christmas Eve, and return to the office the day after Christmas.

2. Because we decided not to run around on Christmas Day (due to the fact that it was in the middle of the week), I did not see my parents and my brother and his family that day. We decided not to leave the Compound, and a good decision it was.

3. Christmas Eve was too rushed. We rushed over to my ILs for 5 p.m. dinner, Dan had spent the day running around finishing up his stuff, my SIL and her family had to run at 6 p.m., and the girls and I had to run shortly after. The food was delicious, but I don’t feel we really got to sit and enjoy the time and company.

However, I did leave Dan to clean up so his mom wouldn’t run herself ragged. So that worked out. (Thanks, Dan!)

Next year, if we are going to do Christmas Eve church, I think we may have to rethink Christmas Eve dinner.

It’s funny, because I’m of two minds regarding this post. Part of me wants to brag on the husband, because he did a good job of picking out gifts for me and helping the children pick out gifts for me. But the other part of me is a little more reflective than that, and is thinking about other things regarding this Christmas season.

For one thing, the priest at my Mass made a claim that I just had to research, and I think he got it wrong. He asserted that only 49% of people (or at least of people polled) believed that Jesus’ birth story was true. I think he was riffing on the “War on Christmas” that Bill O’Reilly is always trying to ignite. The Pew poll that I found says that most Americans believe in Jesus’ birth of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. So. I’m going with that.

I also have to say that the children, in particular Kate and Flora, outdid themselves in terms of behavior yesterday. They seemed happy to just be hanging out at home; they didn’t squabble over gifts — they got a 3DS to share, complete with rules from “Santa” (a co-worker of mine who is also a genius). There were a couple of dust-ups regarding the Nerf guns from the nanny (don’t ask), but we smoothed those over. They were grateful and excited about everything.

M did well, too, but was clearly overwhelmed, overtired, and underfed. I was not able to get him into real clothes on Christmas Eve, which is why he stayed at Bella and Tadone’s after dinner. At one point on Christmas day, he declared he wasn’t going anywhere. He took some convincing — and a ton of patience. But he did eventually put on real pants, a Christmasy shirt, and left his toy tool bench behind. (He could not be parted from the drill, hammer, and “see-saw” though.)

Finally, we didn’t have to go anywhere aside from next door Christmas Day, and that was such a boon. We had coffee, opened presents, sat around, even cleaned up a bit. Dan and I had a little time to ourselves thanks to to children being occupied with brand! new! toys! We went to my ILs around 1 p.m.; I helped put out some food; and then we pretty much talked, ate, and played the day away. It was *nice*, low-key, low stress. We do a gift exchange, and I ended up with a waffle iron, which was an unexpected bonus. And then the party just kind of puttered to an end around 8 p.m., with everyone heading off to their respective homes, so we didn’t even have to tussle to gather up the kids and get them home in bed.

Everyone was tucked in by 9 p.m. Kate fell asleep with Fluffy, her new blue bear, and M put his head on his “Tow Mater” pillow pet and was out. Flora started on her Roald Dahl book collection with James and the Giant Peach.

And to all a good night, indeed.


Okay, since you’re all dying to know, here are what Dan and the children bought for me:

M got me earbuds and argon oil (a hair product; I will have to purchase my own flat iron);
Kate got me a pretty wallet;
Flora got me The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Dan bought me a lovely coffee, Tanzanian Peaberry; a set of curry spices from Penzy’s; and a Kindle Fire HD. I am trying to temper my excitement over the Kindle, but the truth is I could have spent the rest of the day figuring out what I wanted to do on it. I am unabashedly hiding it from the children. It’s MINE.

Dan got a Soda Stream, a Survivor Strap, and a set of Ray Harryhausen Blu-rays from me; a Wii game from Flora; and hat and gloves from Kate and M. We also got a new set of dishes for the house.

My children were spoiled by Santa and us, plus a friend of ours in Chicago, Dan’s business partner, our nanny (she bought them more than we did, frankly), and our families. They handled it with a lot of aplomb. (For real: not one whinge. No, “I didn’t get XYZ.” XYZ in this case being a dog or a Samsung tablet. They thanked everyone sincerely. They cleaned everything up without asking. And they played together nicely… mostly.)

I felt very blessed this year, spiritually and materially. I have a good marriage to a good man; my children are quite delightful, even if they occasionally test us; I have loving friends and family. There’s really nothing more I can ask for. Gifts are the icing on the cake, a sign that my husband and I have jobs to support us in a rather nice manner.

What was the best part of your Christmas Day?