Since my Grinchy McScrooge post, I have found myself, lo and behold, getting into the Christmas spirit. I have been thinking about what holiday traditions I want to build and share with Swee'pea. This year will be our first grown-up Christmas. Until now, we've always gone to my parents' house for Christmas and had a sort of Christmas by proxy. I've never had my own tree since I've never been home at Christmas before, and the stocking thing kind of petered out for the adults. So this year will mark a lot of firsts: first Christmas tree, first time setting out our own stockings on Christmas Eve, first time hosting a Christmas Eve gathering with Sugar D's mom.
This week, Swee'pea's daycare put up their Christmas trees and decorated them, and every night I pick up Swee'pea he points at the tree and says "tdeetdee" with considerable enthusiasm. It's so cute that now I'm exicted about getting a tree and decorating it. Of course, decorating it will be a challenge, since we only have one decoration that my belly dance instructor gave me the Christmas before Swee'pea was born. And get this: totally non-crafty me is considering making some tree decorations with Swee'pea. I don't have the slightest clue where to start with that, so I'll put it out to you guys: any ideas for how to make tree decorations that a two-year-old could help with (I'm looking at YOU, Beck)?
I've also been thinking about stockings. My mom, who is as uncrafty as I am, took a lot longer to accept that fact and made the felt stockings I grew up with herself. Each stocking was edged with pinking shears and has one of our names on them as well as a little Christmasy image, all made of felt. I always liked that those stockings were made with love, with each of us in mind as she cut and sewed. But I know myself well enough to know that if I attempted such a feat, I would probably not finish it for at least a few Christmases. So I bought some. They're not very Christmasy but I love them.
AND, they're all knitted by a women's co-operative in Kenya so I know the makers are receiving a good portion of my dollars. How's that for sweet? (Of course, on the way home I realized that if we have any more children -- and that will be a whole other post soon I think -- we may have a hard time finding matching stockings. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when it comes I guess.) That co-operative also makes tree decorations and beatiful toques, scarves, and mittens of all sizes.
Not only did I buy stockings, but in wandering around the store looking for them I found all kinds of things I'd love to both receive and give. And I've been thinking about what to give Swee'pea without feeling angsty. I definitely want to keep a limit on our gifts to Swee'pea and as much as possible I want to make sure that they'll last a long time, developmentally, and/or are made fairly locally (that one could be very difficult but I'm willing to try). But I'm feeling way less Scrooge-y.
When I first started thinking about ways to help others during the holiday season, I thought about sponsoring a local family and giving them gifts for the children and food for a holiday feast. But then I realized I'd have to choose between going against my own anti-comsumerism values and forcing them (and other antis as far as toys go) onto another family. So we're not going to do that. We have enough angst trying to make ethical purchases for our own family anyways.
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Walking home with our new stockings in the bag, I thought about Santa and what role I want him to have in our Christmas. When I was a kid, I loved leaving cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, then discovering the carrots gone, the cookie half-eaten and the milk half-drunk in the morning. So I think I'd like to invite Santa to our home and have him fill our stockings and maybe leave one gift for each of us. I hesitate to put that down here, because I just imagine looking back ten years from now and laughing at my silly ideals, the ones that got tossed out the window as soon as Swee'pea turned 3 or 4. I can try though, right?
While downtown, I saw that the city is hosting festivities this weekend, lighting up the trees with live music and horse-drawn trolleys, the same festivities and trolleys that I have rolled my eyes at every year -- until now, when I've suddenly discovered how much Swee'pea enjoys this kind of stuff. What is happening to me?!? I'm even thinking of baking!