Christmas After Kids – Are you licking the ornaments? by Megan Rix
“Christmas After Kids”, as told by Megan Rix.
After Thanksgiving, the same scene plays out almost every single night at about 11 pm. Either Ryan or I fly out of bed and proclaim, “Did you move that damn elf?” The scene is even more frantic when Ryan is at the station and I am home alone to brainstorm. But…the answer is almost always the same.
You see, Christmas before kids was my favorite time of the year. Shopping for hours, endless Christmas cocktail parties, midnight mass, hot coffee, and lounging all day in comfy Christmas pajamas surrounded by torn paper and ribbons. No rush, no hurry. Just pure, quiet bliss.
Christmas after kids? It’s still my favorite time of year but for different reasons now. For starters:
- Toddlers don’t do anything for “hours”.
- Cocktail parties don’t usually offer kid friendly activities.
- Midnight mass has now changed to chasing kids under pews during the busiest service or trying to stop them from knocking over the 20 foot tree in the foyer. No Mackinley, you may not hold baby Jesus and put him in timeout.
Christmas After Kids
In all honesty, the best way I can describe Christmas now is “magical chaos”. There is something special about this time of year. While it may not be the peaceful scene I described earlier, that’s ok. Because now it’s even better, mostly because I get to experience the magic through my children’s eyes. Now I get to sit back with my lukewarm coffee, my faded yoga pants, and watch my kids giggle as they experience the joy I had as a child.
But remember the “chaos” part of the magic? Yeah, there’s that too.
Decorating. This is one of my favorite parts about Christmas because I have the best memories of doing this every year with my mom. Like, the tradition of moving all of my brother’s ornaments to the back of her tree, and mine to the front. Or shopping for the perfect shade of rose gold glitter reindeer and giggling like schoolgirls at how ridiculous our conversations must sound to other shoppers. Stealing magnolia leaves from public trees or our neighbors yards. Or coming home and staying up until midnight stringing lights around garland and watching my mom balance on her tippy toes on the ladder while she creates the perfect mantle display. I would say we really excel at this partnership, but really I just drink champagne, hand her things from the pile of boxes, and tell her when her display is off center. The decorating still happens and it starts out the same as those early days. Mom comes over and we pull out all the decorations; however, now it takes about a week and a half to fully finish our decorating endeavors. This is because every time an ornament is unwrapped, a roll of garland is unraveled, or sparkly reindeer is pulled from its box, guess who sees it as buried pirate treasure and spends every minute trying to steal each item? Yeah, I’m guessing you know who. Grant uses the nativity scene figurines to set up an epic star wars vs. transformers battle in his room, and Mack rolls herself in fake garland and tries to lick the glitter off the ornaments. Basically for a week after we finish, I am scrambling to find baby Jesus in a pile of Optimus Primes and vacuuming glitter and fake pine needles off of every surface in my house. Every decoration that goes up now is accompanied by questions like, “How long do you think it will take Mack to pull this off” or “Do you think she can reach that?”
Gifts. Before kids, I would spend hours creating a Christmas list for all the people I would buy for, pouring over each gift I purchased to make sure it was “special” and “unique”. These days, there is only one way that I will endure gift shopping. ONLINE. If someone else will package, send, and even gift wrap what I am purchasing without me ever leaving my home, then that’s pretty much like winning the lottery. I also now play the, “do I really need to get this person a gift?” game because otherwise I’d be taking out a second mortgage to afford Christmas every year. Sorry 3rd cousin Larry, you didn’t quite make the cut this year sir. Instead, energy is spent on staying up until 1 am wrapping, assembling, and constructing gifts with one million pieces. Again, Ryan and I make an awesome duo…he does the building, I pretend I am helping but really it’s champagne and handing tools over.
Traditions. When I was little, my aunt KK used to read The Polar Express to my cousins and me before we headed to bed. It was a tradition I cherished and I remember sitting on the floor in my pj’s listening to every word as if it were my first time hearing the story. Now, I get to create memories and new traditions with my own children. Except that instead of continuing with KK’s timeless story, Ryan and I chose to invite a stuffed elf into our home. Who knew such a small, little elfin man…woman, could cause such chaos in our house. Cause here’s the thing, you can’t just toss Ellie (that’s our elf) on the counter and be like “look who’s here!”. There are hundreds of pinterest boards dedicated to ideas of how to stage your magical elf. Oh look, here’s Ellie, who just returned from Hawaii! She has on a hula skirt and she’s surfing down the Christmas tree clutching a gopro and a fruity drink. Yeah, that is how intense this elf world has gotten. But even in the panic of trying to make sure the elf is out before the kids wake up, the look on their faces when they see her is priceless. This is one of those traditions that hands down my husband excels at. One year, he created a perfectly scaled baseball diamond, complete with bases, out of flour on the carpet. Then he arranged Ellie and her friends in a friendly game of make believe baseball. My elf hangs out of the dryer with G’s underwear on her head. And now that I think about that one I’m pretty sure it’s inappropriate in about ten different ways. Which is why I’m perfectly ok with letting Ryan take the credit for master creator on this one.
So while it is chaotic, and stressful, and sometimes overwhelming, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s the chaos that creates the memories. Even if those memories start with…
Mack. Stop. Licking. That. Ornament.
About The Author – Megan Rix: I’m a fire wife, momma to 3 beautiful kids, and English nerd turned high school at risk teacher. I have spent the last 11 years working with students who most would label unlovable. I believe in two things: we’re all given gifts and talents, and it’s our job to use those talents to bring good to the world. I believe my ability to see the good in all kids is my gift. Their stories of perseverance through adversity inspires me every single day. I love to cook, read, and write about my “anchors”, the things I love most in life that anchor me to who I am.
Visit www.thisanchoredlife.com to read more.
DISCLAIMER: images in this blog post were provided by the author and are not the work of Pure Natural Newborn Photography.