With another successful hosting of Thanksgiving in the books, it’s time to set our sights on the next holiday – Christmas – and all things leading up to it. The other day, Nolan was sent home from school with a worksheet asking for family holiday traditions. It’s completely optional but because of his love for school and exuberance, he decided to do it! I present to you our family traditions.
- CHoP DoWN our tree! We went to Cedar Ledge Tree Farm cut down the 2016 Darcy Family tree, a fluffy White Pine. We’ve been a Concolor Fir family for the past several years. We stay away from the spruces because the needles are too damn pointy and with boys who touch everything, it’s a bad idea. Linds hung the lights and ornaments since I deferred to her last year after getting too frustrated miserably stringing the lights in previous years. She’s a lot more patient and does a hell of a job.
- WATCH tHe POLAR EXPRESS! and Visit SANTA CLAus! The movie has been watched roughly a half a dozen times so far and the boys are showing no signs of letting up. We even took a trip to North Conway, NH for our Journey to the North Pole, complete with train ride aboard the Polar Express. The setup was unbelievable. Everyone (90% of the riders) wore their pajamas for the two-hour trip, which included hot chocolate and hundreds of volunteers dressed as elves with lanterns lining the side of the tracks as we arrived at the North Pole. And it was actually snowing when we got off the train, which added to the ambience. The elves put on a show while Santa spoke about Christmas and the holidays. He was the second Santa we saw since earlier that morning, we had breakfast with Santa at the hotel. And just yesterday, we saw and took pictures with Santa again at the WestFarms Mall as we do every year. I’m afraid Nolan is getting a little leery but he’s believing nonetheless. We’ve been telling him that all of Santa’s friends look like him. Aaaaand this year our next tradition wrapped up The Polar Express for the boys to enjoy.
- LOOK fOr GuS!, their Elf on the Shelf. He’s reinvented himself and is picking some pretty good spots to scope out the little ones’ behavior this year. He’s been leaving notes letting them know he’s watching to see if the they’re nice to one another. It’s not like they’re kicking the shit out of one another on a daily basis though there has been a lot more screaming and “mine” BS lately. Nolan is completely in awe of how Gus moves to a new spot every night and even more amazed when he moves during the day. He hung his zipline from the ceiling to the doorway, he’s written these notes, how he decided to bathe in mini marshmallows. Graham just points and shrieks, “GUS!” but they both know not to touch him, even though Graham tries like hell, at which point Nolan reminds him in an oh-so-friendly tone that he can’t touch him.
- DeCOrATe our Tree. To be fair, Lindsay does this after the boys go to bed so I’m not sure that it’s necessarily his tradition as ours to decorate after hours. Unless you count the times they knock ornaments off and put them back themselves. That’s gotta be what he’s thinking of.
- DriNK HOT CHOCOLATe! Not exactly your typical tradition but if he thinks it’s tradition to drink hot chocolate, so be it. To be fair, he really only drinks it in wintertime, so yeah, this fits the tradition theme.
We also visit Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, MA every year though we’ve yet to take a trip this season. We used to go to see one of Santa’s friends but the lines are really, really, ridiculously long so we just mosey around checking everything our and buying our customized ornaments for the tree. We asked Nolan if he remembers/remembered doing this and he doesn’t, even though we have all five Christmases he’s experienced.
Another tradition that may have to begin is sleeping downstair by the fireplace now that it’s completely functional and looks great. We went down there last night to eat dinner (pizza) while a ripping fire was going. The space is cozy so the fire heats it up nice and so far the kids have done an OK job of keeping a safe distance from it. We bought a fake, pre-lit tree from Target and some fake garland for the mantel that my brother
and I made.
So yeah, traditions are cool and if Nolan thinks drinking hot chocolate is a tradition, then I guess it’s one we’ll have to keep on partaking in (especially if Gus keeps leaving mini marshmallows around).
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah/Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays to all. May your traditions live on and be filled with love and hot chocolate!