03 December 2009

Making Holiday Magic

Christmas has been my favorite holiday for a while now. It's not the gifts or the shopping frenzy. In fact, Christmas shopping makes me want to break out in hives shaped like dollar bills, that's how much I hate doing it. Instead, it's the music, the lights, the warm glow of a Christmas tree at night and the combination of all of these things is enough to make me die happy.

It's also the family. I don't like the chaos that comes with large family holiday gatherings, but I do like being with family, especially as things have wound down and the only lights are from the candles in the window and the Christmas tree...oh...and there's a glass or two or...er...yeah - of wine involved.

This year, it's going to be a quiet holiday. We're not visiting family, nor is family, such as it is, visiting us. Like most Americans, we're also flat broke (I'm not sugar coating it), so there is no shopping frenzy in the near, Christmassy future. Instead, most of the gifts under the tree will be from friends and family and for Little One, with maybe two or three exceptions (at most) from us...wait, no. From Santa.

In spite of that, I think it's going to be more memorable than most. Last year was A's first Christmas, but you could see that it didn't matter to her, as we thought it might not. This year though, her memory is developed. Her language is exploding all over the place and you can see the little concept lights flashing - and staying  - on. She's getting stuff now. She even says, :"Kissma'?" when she hears the music and sees the lights.

So, here's the basic Holiday Plan:

In the next couple of weeks, we'll get a fresh cut tree and one of our best friends will join us again this year to decorate.

Because A loves animals and because she loves one of the hack horses outside Faneuil Hall named Big Charlie in particular, we have booked a carriage ride through the city on the evening before Christmas Eve. Big Charlie actually said "hello" to her by stuffing his face into hers and making her laugh. He's a friendly lad and we thought that spending some quality time with him and his handler would be a fine way to kick off preparations for the arrival of Santa - and the True meaning of the holiday.

On Christmas Eve, we want to spend some time at the Boston Homeless Veteran's Shelter (I have grander ideas than that for the shelter and supporting it, but will save it for another time), then make our way to Christmas Eve mass.

Christmas Day, 3 friends will join us for dinner and warmth and we'll bore them to death with pictures taken that morning, of Little Miss tearing into her presents and finding more interest in the boxes and paper.

I can't tell you how happy the simplicity, lack of travel, and the relative calm pending for this holiday will make me. I'm giddy with the prospect of it! I'll miss my family dearly, but to not travel for a change is sort of novel. Maybe we can even start some family traditions of our own out of this. As it is, the tree decorating with S seems to be catching on...maybe carriage rides will too?

How do you make family tradition? Have you made any? Are you simplifying this year too?


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