The Holidays are Here!

The holidays are here! The Christmas season has kicked off at our home!

The wreaths—courtesy of our local Boy Scouts—are hung outside the house, we’ve had our first snowfall, and I ordered our holiday cards. No Christmas tree yet, though; we’re waiting until next weekend when I return from a business trip to buy one, put it in the center of our living room, and cover it in with ornaments and lights.

To get ready for Christmas, I’ve implemented two other “countdown to December 25” traditions:

Elf on the Shelf – This is our third year with Charlie, our Elf on the Shelf. Charlie and I have a love-hate relationship. I love, love how much my kids adore him, how excited they get when he arrives, and how eagerly they dash around the house looking for him each day. I hate the worry of forgetting to move him and how it all feels a bit too commercial. That being said, Charlie’s magic is real in our house; it’s intense. The kids, especially R, have developed elaborate stories about Charlie’s life in the North Pole and his escapades while they are at school.

R read the Elf on the Shelf book to G yesterday over breakfast, and when he reached the part that explains how you must not touch Charlie or his magic will disappear, he turned to me. “Mama, what does Charlie feel like? Remember last year when he fell, and you picked him up? What did he feel like?”

I remembered that day. The kids and I were walking to the front door to get on shoes and coats for school, when we found Charlie lying on the floor. The light fixture I had placed him on the night before (not my best choice) had not provided enough stability and he had tumbled down. They were frantic. “Help him, Mama! Help him!” they both called out.

Knowing that I couldn’t pick him up (I had to preserve the magic!), I slid a book underneath him and, with one finger holding him in place, deposited him back on the light fixture. Mom to the rescue!

Now, a year later, R wanted to know what Charlie felt like. “Umm, I don’t know, honey,” I answered. “He felt like Charlie.”

R thought about this for a while. “I wonder if he has a robot inside of him,” he said and then he went off to find his sister. Thankfully, my non-answer did not raise any suspicions, and Charlie’s special place in their Christmas will continue another year.


The Book Advent – I swiped this idea—our newest holiday tradition—from Danielle of Another Version of Mother. I wrapped 24 books, one for each night in December leading up to Christmas, and placed the books, all lovely in their Christmas paper, in a red basket in the kids’ play room (see above). Each morning, they look for Charlie and find the book that corresponds to the day of the month. They take turns unwrapping the book and then sit together at the breakfast table, reading, while I make breakfast. It’s amazing! I hope the sharing and being filled with holiday cheer lasts; it’s been an unexpected perk. The books are all holiday themed. I typically pack away our Christmas books at the end of the Christmas season, taking them out right after Thanksgiving anyway. What’s different now is positioning the books as the countdown to Christmas and stretching out their unveiling over several weeks.

I’m looking forward to next week when we make the house festive by placing out our Christmas decorations and hang the Christmas lights. I can’t wait!


  1. December 3, 2014
  2. December 3, 2014
  3. December 3, 2014