Thursday, November 29, 2007


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.

* * *

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!


kgirl said...

I LOVE those stockings!
You'd better get into the kitchen while the urge strikes :)

plumm said...

Oooooh, I'm gonna like it here! So glad you commented today...

I hear you on the Santa/comsumerism/gift-a-palooza front. Holding back the deluge of gifts has been one of the single most challenging parts of holiday parenting for us.

We ALWAYS suggest donations or handmade/local, but ultimately people equate gifts with love around the holidays...especially with kids.

Good luck sorting through it all to create the perfect traditions for you little Family.

Karen said...

maybe try salt dough decorations - like bake-able homemade playdough - if he can help with cookie cutters, you can google the recipe and do this. They can be painted with non-toxic water colors after they are dry, or mix color into your recipe and they can be hung from the tree with a little ribbon. We have done this many times and the kids love the mess and the results are charming.

Suz said...

I love those stockings too, and am envious of your at-home Christmas. This will hopefully be the last time we travel and I'm really looking forward to being in my own home. As far as home-made decorations go, I've got nothing. I'm just looking forward to seeing what Beck has to say!

Beck said...

The key to toddler crafts is to keep your expectations low and not expect to have anything that ends up looking very splendid.
Here ya go:
- Cut out a snowman shape from white paper and lightly coat the top in glue. Give your little guy lots of cotton balls and let him glop them on. Later - when the cotton balls have dried - help him glue on construction paper features, hat and scarf.
- or you can do basically the same craft, except with a wreath shape cut from a paper plate and using wadded-up green tissue paper instead of cotton balls
- and here's the easiest one: cut out various shapes (my kids were always prone to circles) and let your guy go at them with festive stickers and crayons. When he's decorated to his heart's content, punch a hole in it and string a ribbon through. Voila, you have a lovely ornament.

Don Mills Diva said...

Love those stockings. I guess it's true what they say that you really do start to discover the great things about Christmas when you have a kid.

Mad Hatter said...

That's the spirit, Sin. This from the woman who put snowmen on her blog. Yowzers!

How about paper chains? You could use coloured construction paper.

Kyla said...

Sounds great, Sin.

Denguy said...

Who-hoo, baking! I's loves to bake and my busted oven just magically repaired itself.

I have rather fond stocking memories and my wife grew up with a stocking tradition, so we've been doing that every year.

Lisa b said...

Great stockings.
I have the same problem now that we have a 2nd girl. I was going to have no stocking for dad but
maybe I'll have to go buy some like yours.

be happy swee'pea wants a tree. my three year old is demanging lights.
so hard.
so cold out.
I am going to have to do it. how can I say no to her when the neighbours have a snowglobe.

banana said...

Emailed craft ideas as the list was long...
Wanted to share that Santa only ever brought Regan one toy and a stocking and the toy was almost always under $20. The one exeption was near the end of Santa belief and was an air-hockey table (it was $70 and I couldn't resist the look I knew would be on her face). I was rewarded the next year when I heard her soberly tell a friend (who incedentally had a crazy Santa-list) "Oh, Santa brough me a really big present last year, so I am only asking for something small". She asked for a mixed CD.
Oh I love her....