Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Countdown to Christmas: December Always Sneaks Up on Me!

December 1st.  This month always sort of sneaks up on me and I am seldom ready to begin the Christmas season.

Advent Calendar wall hanging
The color scheme in my home is well-suited to autumn decorations - perhaps that is the reason I am never in a hurry to put those fall-colored things away. It is usually at least a day or two into December when I pack up the last of the pumpkins and the pilgrims, and remember to put up the Advent Calendar.

When my children were very young, I purchased a felt wall-hanging of a Nativity scene. Small cloth camels, stars, sheep, Wise Men, and so forth reside in numbered pockets at the bottom of it all year long.  For each of the first 24 days of December, one of these is supposed to be adhered to a Velcro spot in or near the stable, creating a complete Nativity scene by Christmas day. The task of placing these figures used to be taken very seriously by my kids - so much so, that at the end of the holiday season I would record whose turn it would be the following year to place baby Jesus in the manger.  Every parent knows how important it is to be sure that life is fair!



The scene on this wallhanging is a little different than ours, but it is very similar.

When my efforts to haul out, unfurl and hang this cloth countdown to Christmas day were tardy, I used to feel guilty. My kids never seemed to mind catching up with the date by taking several of their turns all at once, but I always felt badly for short-changing them a few of the days of magical Christmas anticipation.


Christmas tree, nativity scene and Christmas joy!

This year, surprisingly, I am doing things more or less on-time. Not long after this article is published today, I will put away the Thanksgiving decorations and begin to set out the Christmas ones.  Perhaps the reason for my new-found holiday promptness is because my kids are now grown, and I have more time to be organized. However, I suspect it's simply due to my acute awareness that my days of sharing the wonder of these treasured traditions with my excited children have come to an end.

The Advent calendar will still be placed in its usual spot, and my heart will reminisce a little about the tiny hands that used to move the figures. My 18-year old son, in his last year of living at home before college, will no doubt humor me and occasionally pick a spot for a cloud, a cow, or perhaps an angel. Maybe my husband will take a turn or two. When my 21-year old daughter comes home from college for the holidays, she and her brother will most likely honor tradition and take turns completing the Nativity scene this year. I suspect, however, that it will be mostly up to me throughout December to keep the Advent calendar up-to-date.

I've always felt like there should be more than 30 days in November - it's just too short of a month before December. I also believe that kids grow up too quickly; like the 30 days of November, those childhood years are over much too fast as well.


Christmas and another Nativity scene
Kids grow up much too quickly - but they are still pretty fun even after they do!
Does December sneak up on you?

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14 comments :

  1. I think this is why it's essential that we come up with family traditions. Kids grow up too quickly indeed and it's always nice to feel that somethings can stay the same, and that they can hold on to something whenever they are home. Your kids are adorable, Susan! More power to us for still being able to decorate and 'fuss' over the holidays. I live for the Christmas tree and yet this time around, last Sunday when I started decorating, I feel much older, knees achier as I hauled boxes back and forth. It truly is a labor of love, isn't it? :-)

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    1. Thanks for commenting Joy - and sorry to be so long responding! Yes - everything we do in this holiday season is a labor of love... but well worth the enjoyment it produces! Family traditions are important, and I know that I have carried on some from my own childhood for my kids - and they will probably continue them when they have families.

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  2. We got most of the Christmas decorations up last weekend, but it took both days. I love your special advent calendar. I saw a Lego one today where kids can build a Christmas village. Seems to kind of be missing the point.

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    1. My decorating is done now as well, Lana - but blog duties have suffered as a result. I'm enjoying being back at my computer now though - with tree lights twinkling within view!

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  3. December and Christmas sneaks up on everybody. We know it's coming, of course we do, but we go about thinking it's a while away yet, then suddenly, Bam! it's December and three short weeks away from the big day.

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    1. Same time every year - and yes, it does sneak up on most of us. I never really want to start thinking about the holiday until after American Thanksgiving, and that doesn't leave a lot of time to get everything done.

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  4. What?! It's December?!
    My kids still get involved in the 'setting up of the nativity'. Of course our baby Jesus often ends up with penguins instead of wisemen, but who am I to quibble?

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    1. I bet baby Jesus would have loved penguins! Sounds just perfect to me :)

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  5. Of course it does. I am (finally) getting in gear. And remember we have a day less than you to get ready (it is the third already...).

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    1. One of the thrills of Christmas eve for my kids used to be tracking Santa online as he circled the globe. Adults usually need more time, but my kids always envied the children where you live, because Santa was already there before they went to bed :)

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  6. Babies to kids to grown-ups...how does it go so quickly??

    Happy to hear that the advent calendar with once again be up and running. Your "kids" will appreciate it.

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    1. The biggest lesson I have learned as a mother is that babies turn into grownups in the blink of an eye. But yes, I think my offspring still appreciate the advent calendar and all of our Christmas traditions. Happy holidays to you, Susan:)

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  7. gorgeous "kids" and lovely of them to let you put them up for us to share Christmas with. Really like the nativity theme of the advent calendar too (nice to keep the reason for Christmas in focus!)

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  8. THanks Leanne - and sorry to be so slow with the response. My computer hasn't had as much use lately - many of my hours have been spent on holiday real-life stuff! And yes - I really have always liked the scene on our Advent calendar as well.

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