"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Morning Magic

Santa came early to the Sallinger house this year.  He only comes early for kids who have been extra well behaved, and it's so rare that kids aren't allowed to tell their friends when it happens.  He doesn't want other kids to get their feelings hurt, and he doesn't want to let it out that he actually can't get all those packages delivered in one night.  We know all of this because Santa sent a little elf to deliver us a letter he wrote, explaining the whole secret system.  Unfortunately, Santa misspelled his own name in the letter.  It's Claus, not Clause.  Wow, Santa.  Good thing you're not a teacher. 

Before now, I hadn't been convinced that we needed another cheesy, non-Jesus addition to our holiday season.  I have to admit, we have had a blast with Tinsel (nicknamed Twinkle).  We skipped the book, didn't add any rules (we are allowed to touch our elf but the kids' friends from Sunday school said they CAN'T touch theirs!!!), and didn't spend more than a couple minutes every night moving him around.  We even forgot a few times and everyone seemed cool with assuming he was just too tired to move that night!

He got into some mischief...
Nothing to see here, just giving Reise's doll a new 'do. 
 Took the kids forever to find him that morning!
It's been fun.  Now that Santa has been here already, the elf is taking a break from his nighttime escapades.  I'm not sure when he will leave for good.  Maybe he will leave a little something for the kids as a parting gift on the 25th and hitch a ride back to the North Pole with Santa while he's passing through?  We've got some time to develop that idea ;)
I hate to be a Debby Downer so I will spare you the details about how I nearly let having to reschedule Christmas get me bent out of shape.  So glad I was able to pull it together, so I didn't miss the good stuff.  At the end of the (holi)day it is much more important to me that our family celebrates together than on the actual day.  Between Maeson's schedule and DJ Steele's gigs, we definitely had to be creative to make a Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning thing happen.  Add the stomach flu and things got downright crazy this year, ya know? :)

I am not going to let the date on the calendar determine how legit our "Christmas" morning was in 2012.  The kids were so excited the night before that they couldn't fall asleep.  We stayed up late wrapping presents and stuffing stockings, listening to them chatter in their beds.  They woke up at the crack of dawn but didn't budge until their dad said they could get up.  They raced down the stairs and ran shrieking toward their stockings.  It was Christmas morning, if I ever saw one. 

I love traditions, and for a brief moment I let myself believe we couldn't keep those going if we didn't do them on. the. right. days.  Baloney.  Monkey bread tastes the same on the 15th as it does on the 25th.  Crack of dawn feels the same any day of the week.  New toys are fun no matter when they are opened.  I will not be a scrooge.  I will not get bitter.  I will be creative and make it work.  This is what moms do.  Even moms who occasionally come unhinged over schedule issues.

I dare say the kids' favorite part this year was watching their siblings open the gifts they had picked out and wrapped themselves.  They were shockingly good at keeping their gifts a secret.  We had them draw names amongst themselves this year, since Ryleigh was insisting on spending her own money.  I am sure she would have drained her entire bank account on dollar store treasures ;)  This worked out well for everyone.

Last minute, we decided to let Santa bring the kids a Wii, which brings us up from being a good 4-5 years behind ;)  I hate buying crap.  These kids need nothing.  We sat in our basement one night last week looking at their gifts and acknowledged that Reise and the little boys had literally nothing to open from us.  I gave away all the "good" ideas I had for them to the grandmas, and couldn't bring myself to add more junk to our toy bins when I knew they'd be getting so much from other family.  Ryleigh and Rugger finally outgrew their Heelys and asked for new pairs, otherwise they wouldn't have had anything either ;) 

Who asks for a globe???  You get one guess.

We are still counting down the days until Jesus' birthday.  Maybe it will actually feel nice to have Santa out of the way so we can focus on the real reason for the season?  (I may have just cringed a little at my own cheesiness.)  For real though, Santa isn't our main focus anyway, so I'm uncomfortable with how easily I allowed myself to get caught up in the madness.

The minute I start feeling guilty for letting Santa win a little, my kids spontaneously put on a live Nativity scene in the living room with costumes, animals, and an uncooperative baby Jesus.  The narrator read the story straight out of the Bible and there was even a lighting situation happening.  This is Christmas.  There is real magic to be had all season.  They know what it's all about.  No guilt needed from the lone audience member!

It's officially a SNOW DAY today, and we've got a boy turning EIGHT on Saturday, so I've got things to do ;)  Stay warm, friends!



Amy Miles said... Best Blogger Tips

Holy moly, what a great story, Becky!! When you said, "These kids need nothing," it really struck a chord with me. Growing up, my family did not have any money, yet my mom worked double overtime and any holiday she could to make enough money to ensure that our Christmas was spectacular every year. Don't get me wrong - I loved my mom for doing that - but the older I get, the more I hope my own children enjoy a Christmas more like yours. One where they're reminded of what it's really about, and that they already have everything they need. A few gifts here and there are fun, and seeing your family open your gifts is the best part, but it's so much more than that. Sometimes I feel like my mom used extravagent gifts to make up for the lack of time she was able to spend with us growing up because she was always working to pay the bills. What a lesson I've learned from all of that.

You and your family absolutely inspire me! Merry Christmas, Sallingers! :)


If These Walls Spoke... said... Best Blogger Tips

Amy, you are too dang sweet. Thank you for the kind words! You will love it then, that mom and dad bought new gifts but Santa was smart and everything HE delivered was used (thanks to Linconsign for the bargains on items in perfect condition!). :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Dear dear Miss Becky -
I enjoy reading your blogs so much! I love how you know how to share just the right mix of details of your sweet family's life with an appropriate amount of sincere transparency and grace.

Everything you shared here is true...I too, get caught up in the schedule, even traditions and misguided priorities. Thanks for the great reminder to keep the most important things in their rightful place

Happy Snow Day and Merry Christmas to all of you!

P.S. Have I told you lately how thankful we are to be a part of your 'extended family'? :-)

Much love to the Sallingers from Gramps & Gram Paulsen! XOXOX