We don’t dive into Christmas just yet. We will probably get our tree and decorate this weekend, but we did start our Christmas countdown with two child-centered traditions that I love.
The first is our 24 days of special books. Last year I spent all year picking up great Christmas books at the thrift store and now we have a great selection of special books to read, one each night. Last year we wrapped them all so that Ellis could practice opening presents. This year I just numbered them so we have a little more flexibility to change the order around to match our activities a little better. We can read Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree the night we go pick out ours. The Polar Express will surely get a read the weekend we ride the Santa Train.
The other way we count down to Christmas is with the Beary Merry Christmas Calendar. Adam and I both did this one growing up and it was really nice to realize we had an overlapping tradition. Was this an 80’s thing? Did anyone else do this one growing up? I can’t think of any other tradition from childhood that Adam and I share, so this is a really special one. My mom sent me the calendar and we started moving the bear on the search for Christmas. I used to have to take turns with my brother and I am looking forward to the time when our boys can share this tradition too.
A few years ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is a book about personal improvement and happiness. It is not a “parenting book” but the chapter on parenting was one of the best I have read. The author talks about how the anticipation of an event heightens the enjoyment of it. She reminds herself to indulge in the planning of her child’s birthday party because that stage lasts weeks, whereas the actual event only lasts hours. This may seem like an obvious idea, but it really resonated with the planner in me. Preparing for an event is part of the process and part of the joy. So in the spirit of preparation and planning, we are already starting to savor Christmas a few minutes each day.