edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Thinking Highly of the Whos December 6, 2011

Filed under: The Unknown — edamomie @ 9:02 pm
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U: The Unknown

Nah-Who_Doray

Nah-Who_Doray

In our modern times with the focus on material goods and hoopla around Christmas, I always find myself wishing I could create that Nah-Who-Doray moment for my kids. You know, the moment when the Whos down in Whoville experience this overwhelming sense of peace and kindness on the fateful Christmas the Grinch visits their town.

 

I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas annually and religiously during its major network 30 minute timeslot without fail during adolescence. I still think so highly of those Whos. I surely would not have reacted so peacefully. I’m still baffled by it. Really, they tried nothing to get their stuff back?

 

Due to Dr. Seuss’ extreme Christmas scenario, I often entertain thoughts of presentless Christmases. Other families do it (by choice or not) and survive. Quite possibly it brings them closer. However, I’m knee-deep into Christmafying again. Our bay window boasts a canaan frasier complete with lights and decor, a mantle with stockings hung with care (or come to find out later, hung in a particular order) and a plethora of ornaments dating back to my and my husband’s childhoods.

 

I might not partake in Black Friday, but I had been to the Mall of America for past three Saturdays – shopping up a storm. Too late to turn back now. The kids’ eyes lighting up with delight at the thought of presents. Lists had been made. Seeds of electronic hope had been planted. After I dissuaded my 6-yr-old son’s iPad request, he shrugged it off, I’ll just ask Santa for it then.

 

Tree & Stockings

Tree & Stockings

The Whos must have had these materialistic traditions too. Whoville homes were adorned with decor, the fridges stuffed with Who Hash – even the kids slept with candycanes in their clutches. To break from Christmas overload, I reassured myself we’d focus on traditions and counteract shopping guilt. We’d have an at-home weekend that included traditions like purchasing a real tree, recalling the past with ornaments, decorating with stockings and loading up the advent calendar.

 

Tradition 1: A Real Tree
For Saturday, we tackled the tree-buying. The warmest weather I can ever recall and we found our tree match within three minutes at the Richfield Farmer’s Market.  Our tallest and fullest tree by far.  It drank 18 cups of water the first day. Last year’s 200 lights wouldn’t cut it so we added another 150. If the Grinch visits, he’ll not be stuffing this tree up the chimbley to fix a broken light on one side.

 

Tradition 2: Ornaments
On Sunday, the ornaments came out of their bubble wrap and waited their turn on the table to be recalled upon before taking their prominent (or not so prominent) place on the tree.  This year’s two new personalized ornaments were the first to go on – TaeKwonDo and musical notes that both kids will share –  memorializing forever their first year of hi-yah class and piano lessons. We play ornament I SPY nightly now.

 

Ornaments from Christmases Past

Ornaments from Christmases Past

Tradition 3: Stockings
This year, my daughter insisted on adding more nails to the mantle and seven stockings went up in a seemingly random order. Later Ava confided to my husband that they went in order from nicest to meanest. Mine was leaning mean. And when my son learned of his rank, six of the seven came down. Only his remains.  That’s the Grinchy spirit!

 

Tradition 4: Advent Calendar
Day 4 on the advent calendar door opened to a gold coin and some chocolate. I’m thinking about adding a little task to each day that gets the kids a little closer to good. It may help open their one-track minds about other joys of the season. At the moment,  I’m hard-pressed to envision any amount of reasoning that could keep them angelic if a Grinch Christmas hijack were to occur.

 

All told, we’re having a fairly self-centered Christmas season so far. How might we turn this around I’m still asking. Maybe additional visits to church? Volunteering? We are making steps by doing some community giving, lowering the extended family present count by force (one gift to the name drawing exchange this year) and resisting the urge to get the kids too many presents. Yes,  I’m a mean one. Just call me Mrs. Grinch…  Look on the bright side kids, we’ll schedule a family outing instead. 

 

What does everyone else do to help their children find the true spirit of thankfulness and giving among the holiday madness?

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6 Responses to “Thinking Highly of the Whos”

  1. grmasuz Says:

    Thanks Jen for a very thoughtful and thought provoking post. I am proud of you for establishing your own traditions. Trying to keep it all simple shouldn’t be so stressful but usually is this time of year. I remember when the boys were little and the huge mound of presents was so tempting. When Christmas Eve finally came and the gifts were opened amidst a flurry of wrapping paper, a small voice could be heard.. “Is that all?”.

    • edamomie Says:

      This year I’m not stressing over one particular tradition, baking sugar cookies. Last year I moved that to Easter – it worked out just fine! … BTW, one other tradition I forgot to mention is professional photos at Von Dieters. Chad doesn’t think we need them every year and I usually agree until I start thinking about the fun of making and sending out holiday cards. Every year we venture to his studio, it’s in a snowstorm!

  2. AUNT LOIS' Says:

    A FUN READ!!! I had a few chuckles and thinking back to Christmas past — One was when we lived in Claremont, CA and have a video of toys all over the floor, i am playing Christmas carols on the organ and Lori sitting by me, Chris & Jonathan are each in a box that a toy came in rocking back in forth to the music!!! not playing with the toys after all my thinking what to get, go out shopping with lots of traffic, finding parking, buying, drag stuff to car, come home, drag the presents in, hide them until kids in bed, wrap (hate that job!) — you get the idea. Now we don’t exchange with the kids, the grandchildren get money to buy what they want except Ravelle as she is here and still fun to pick for her. i LIVED THROUGH RAISING 4 CHILDREN AND ROSE.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

    • edamomie Says:

      Great story about rocking out to the organ while new toys lay around untouched and unloved. Now that we have a piano, that should be par for our house too. “Kids, I learned Jingle Bells just for you. I’m going to play it over and over for you. Merry Christmas!”

  3. Rose Shanley Says:

    Jen, I really enjoyed reading your thought-provoking article … and the photo of your tree & stockings hung with care (and strategically besides) looks like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine. I don’t envy your position as a parent trying to take the focus from the materialistic side of the holiday and move it more to the “Reason for the Season” … not an easy task. I’m thrilled you have set so many traditions for your family—such an important part of Christmas for all of you.
    I’ve always thought the toy drives like the one @ KARE 11 were a great idea—-but have now realized the most special moments go to the volunteers who take those toys to the children in need to see the joy in their eyes when they hand them the gift.
    See you soon for another special holiday season! Love you, A.Rosa

    • edamomie Says:

      Yes, Rose, a Pottery Barn catalog scene most proable due to four of seven stockings from PB a few years ago… I agree. We drop off donated items and have a conversation about it. They use their own small change to purchase, yet there’s not that real connection that hits home for them.


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