Dec 23, 2007

It's (almost) Christmas!

Over the past 2 weeks, Benjamin has brought home not one, not two, or three, but six presents made at school. All but one of these presents were wrapped as he brought them home, and every time I've asked him "...so, who's this present for?" And each time he's replied, "This one is for Christopher." Six times I've heard that answer. It would have been lovely to hear that at least one of those presents was for either Mike or myself, but hey -- you can't blame a boy for adoring his older sibling.

Speaking of whom, Christopher did buy his presents by himself this year. We all drove to the mall to hit the hair dresser for another $60.00 trim for each of the boys. Then B boy, Mike and I went to the supermarket, while Christopher went Christmas shopping on his own. I confess to frequent calls to his cell phone to check up on him, but, truthfully, I needn't have bothered. He came through with flying colours and was positively glowing with pride and happiness when we met up with his gift-bearing self in front of the toy store. I asked if he wanted a celebratory hot dog, but he wasn't hungry, because he'd bought himself a 'family-sized M&M bag to snack on while shopping'. Clearly, we have a future power shopper on our hands.

The third man in the family did his Christmas shopping in Canada, and only had to wrap his own presents to yours truly. He struggled mightily with the ribbon on said presents, so much so, he actually brought the presents - wrapped - into the living room to do the ribbon while I watched. I almost offered to help, but stopped myself at the last second. I will not stoop to help wrap my own presents. That is a line I do not ever want to cross.

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Tomorrow, the clan will gather at our house in the late afternoon, for a really special Christmas with all of my immediate family. It's been years and years since we've been able to celebrate Christmas together, and I am so excited, I can hardly wait.

Everyone will arrive around 5 pm to a lit Christmas tree with stacks and stacks of presents underneath it. The adults will enjoy a glass of Sherry or Champagne, and the children some pop or juice to mark the official start of Christmas.

We will then sit down and enjoy a traditional Scandinavian Christmas roast dinner, followed by a rice cream dessert that we don't actually like. Traditionally, a single whole almond is hidden in the rice cream, and whoever is lucky enough to find it, wins a prize. We, however, will have not 1, but 12 almonds in our dessert. One for each member of the family. And although we all have to eat some of the rice cream (isn't that what tradition is all about?), there's a prize for everyone, whether you find an almond or not.

If you ask Mike, I'm sure he'd say the 12 almonds in the rice cream pretty much sums up my family. We are all about fair. Each year, we count our presents, to make sure all the kids get the same number, and we always have to spend roughly the same amount of money on each kid. Even if the child is 6 months old and really wouldn't know any different. Fair is fair, and that's just how it's always been done in our family.

After dessert, we'll wash up. Any family member under 13 will tell you this takes a very, very long time. We rinse, we wash and we dry. And then we do it again. We put dishes away, we wipe down all surfaces, including countertops and stove top. We sweep the floor. Heck, we may even wash the floor. Oh yes, the kitchen is cleaner after Christmas dinner than it is most days of the year.

And the reason for this feverish cleaning? Why, to make our kids suffer, of course! Because while we're washing up, they're looking more and more desperately at the pile of presents under the tree. Trying ever so discreetly to read the gift tags - is that large one mine? - knowing full well it is strictly forbidden to touch the presents yet. Their hands itchy with a desire to rip the wrapping off the packages. All while trying so hard not to whine, as whining is strictly forbidden on Christmas Eve. Everyone knows that Santa frowns upon whining.

Then...it is time to dance around the Christmas tree. We form a ring, hand in hand, and we walk around the tree, singing carols. This is done with great enthusiasm, if not a whole lot of singing talent. In fact, we may be the most off-key family you'll ever come across. But on Christmas Eve, that is completely and utterly irrelevant. I know I will see my children's eyes shine with joy as they sing their little hearts out.

The dance around the Christmas tree is the highlight of my evening. Though the anticipation is still heavy in the air, the songs are sung with such glorious happiness, it is absolutely infectious, and I will hop, skip and jump hand-in-hand with the people I love more than anyone on Earth. We all become like little children again, and to me, this is what Christmas is all about.

At long last, we will sit down to open our prezzies. The adults will usually find themselves a chair or a couch to sit on, but the kids just plop themselves on the floor and wait with unbridled excitement, as gifts are handed out one by one. We all make sure to oooohh and aaaahh over every present before moving on to the next one. Oh yes, we take gift unwrapping to a whole new slooooow level :)

By 10 pm or so, the presents will all have been handed out, and it will be time to bring out store bought chocolates and fruits, along with goodies made during the month of December, including gingerbread hearts and marzipan confection. We may even go outside and try out new skis or sleds, or stay inside and play a new game.



We usually last until midnight, at which point the kids are worn out from all the excitement, and fall asleep with huge grins on their faces from an evening that hopefully was a dream come true.

Ah.

That, my friends, is what we will be doing tomorrow. Is it any wonder that I can hardly contain myself?

I know most of you who do celebrate Christmas, will be doing so in the morning of the 25th. So from my family to yours, we wish you a Very Merry Christmas.

48 comments:

Maddy said...

I know what you mean about including the traditions that for some reason no-one particularly enjoys but we still keep doing them anyway [for us I think it harbours back to bits and bobs that we did with my grandparents when they were still alive.]

All in all, your version sounds fabulous. Very best wishes to you and yours from me and mine.
Cheers


This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"which takes you straight to my new blog.

Melanie said...

What a lovely-sounding Christmas Eve. Ours will be very much like that, but with less festive singing with more loud talking. Okay...yelling. And wine. And low-grade chaos.

Merry, merry Christmas!

Kathryn said...

Ahh. That sounds like pure bliss. Straight out of a wonderful Christmas movie.
Tomorrow we are going to my mom and dad's house and then Christmas day is at the hubby's parent's house. I am looking forward to it almost as much as the boys are.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and it is everything you are dreaming of.

Kellan said...

That sounds just wonderful Heidi - I wish I was there to see it all - the dancing around the tree, the cleaning of the kitchen, the whole thing just sounds gloriously wonderful. ANd, I loved the pictures - the one of your two boys is wonderful, they are handsome young boys. I hope you have an especially nice Christmas with your precious family. I look forward to seeing you after the Holidays. Take care. Kellan

theotherbear said...

What a great Christmas yours sounds, except for the rice pudding.

Have a fabulous Christmas!

suburbancorrespondent said...

I'll be right over. Save me an almond.

And, if I had known sooner, I would have shipped you a 15-dollar clipper set that would save you lots of money on those boys' haircuts.

Suzanne said...

It all sounds like a Christmas card! I hope that you have a warm, wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Mrs. G. said...

Heidi, you sound like you have a wonderful evening in store. Love the photo of your boys. They are both handsome little devils.

Wish you all the joys of Christmas-lots of love and good cheer.

Heather

Ree said...

Ahhhh. Talk about beautiful boys!

Amy Y said...

That sounds so perfect!! I know this doesn't need to be said, but have a wonderful day! Merry Christmas :)

hokgardner said...

What a perfect way to celebrate. Enjoy the time with your family!

Badness Jones said...

Sounds like a perfect Who-ville Christmas! Enjoy it Heidi, there's nothing more wonderful than those beloved family traditions. Merry Christmas!

Karen MEG said...

That sounds like it's going to be such a wonderful evening, I especially love the singing around the tree, the traditional dessert (there seems to be a dessert in every culture that's not everyone's favourite, doesn't there?), the excitement about the gifts. No wonder you're so excited!! And I'm not letting Ian read this post or he'll get ideas about how a kitchen really should be cleaned ;).
Wishing you, Benjamin, Christopher and Mike a very special Christmas with your family... it's just fantastic that you're able to celebrate right where you grew up. So magical.
Hugs to you from me, Ian, Liam and Giselle.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Don't feel bad that he's doing so many presents for his brother. My son came home, measured my finger (with playdough in one hand) and asked me if I liked rings. He then disappeared upstairs to his room and came down with a box that was wrapped in the hamburger wrapper from his lunch at school that day. I can't wait to open that one.

Did I ever tell you my husband lived in Denmark for two years? We ALWAYS do the rice cream, too. I actually love it, but know that I shouldn't eat too much of it. Definitely not the healthiest of treats!

Loved reading about your traditions. We'll be celebrating on the morning of the 25th. Have fun tomorrow!

painted maypole said...

what a lovely sounding day. And POP! oh, you call it POP! I grew up calling it pop, but have had to switch to calling it "Soda" in order to be understood. ;)

Merry Christmas!

Sue said...

Oh, this sounds wonderful. Merry, merry Christmas Heidi! I hope it is wonderful in every way.

Just Seeking said...

I absolutely love your traditions! It sounds like a perfect day!!
I, for one, will be finishing the packing for all of us, then will drive to a larger city 2.5 hours away, then take a 3 hour plane flight, hopefully will arrive on time, rent a car, drive to the hotel, and then wrap every single present we get, including hiding some from Santa, and then will fall asleep exhausted! Your tomorrow sounds a lot more fun!

Casdok said...

And a very merry christmas to you all!

Aliki2006 said...

I LOVE Christmas traditions of all sorts! Thanks for sharing yours...merry CHristmas to you@

kim-d said...

Oh Heidi, your Christmas sounds wonderful; I just loving "hearing" everybody's family Christmas traditions. And, of course, needless to say, my heart melted a little hearing about all of Benjamin's gifts for his beloved big brother--how sweet is that, anyway! And then there is big brother, off Christmas shopping on his own (with M&Ms for sustenance, no less! Go Christopher! hehe). I probably would have shed a little tear or two over that one; your boy is growing up! And two such handsome boys they are.

I am so glad to "know" you Heidi; I look forward to visiting you and having you visit me everyday. It is definitely a bright spot in my day!

To you and your "boys"~~HAVE A VERY, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

katiez said...

We always celebrated on Christmas Eve, too. Actually, much the same way, although children were allowed to Touch the presents...
They just couldn't pick them up..
And the immaculate kitchen!
Isn't all that torture fun?
Have a wonderful Christmas!

shay said...

Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday.

Kellan said...

Hi Heidi - thank you so much for your sweet Christmas wish on my site this morning. It brought tears to my eyes and I just wanted to come over here and tell you that I feel very lucky to have gotten to know you over these past few months - you are a blessing in my life and I wish you and your family much happiness this Christmas. I will see you soon, my Norway friend.

Who She She said...

Merry Christmas, Heidi!

2008 is going to be a good year.

Alesia
xoxo

the dragonfly said...

Your Christmas traditions sound wonderful! I'm kind of excited because in the next few years the Sergeant and I can begin our own traditions with the Little Mister. This year is sort of haphazard (due to the emergency gall bladder surgery I had yesterday) but that's okay, because he's only six months old and won't remember anyway. But I look forward to many special Christmases! :)

Rima said...

Merry Christmas, Heidi! I hope your Christmas Eve was all you'd hoped it would be.

P.S. We have a Christmas Eve dessert that most of us hate, too - poppyseed milk with poppyseed biscuits floating in it! Yum.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

When I was a kid I always wanted to hold hands and dance around our tree! But it was never to be as the cord for the lights could never be far enough away from the wall for that to happen.

Have a wonderful Christmas Heidi!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

It all sounds absolutely wonderful!!!! Thank you for sharing your traditions.

Merry merry merry Christmas Heidi!

- Jen

SoccerMomofTwo said...

SOunds like a fun bunch of holiday traditions. Wish we had some. We really don't.... too many of us in too many directions!

gmcountrymama said...

Your holiday plans sound wonderful. I hope you all have a great day!
P.S. I don't think I would like rice cream either, how about chocolate cream instead!

carrie said...

It sounds perfect! I'm going to have to stop putting my Christmas Tree in front of the window (right up to it actually) so that we can dance around it!

Merry Christmas Heidi!

hellomelissa said...

have a wonderful holiday!

Julie Pippert said...

I love your descriptions. 12 almonds.

And good for you not wrapping your own!!

Happy holidays and new year to you. I hope the coming is amazing and wonderful!

Julie
Using My Words

Steph said...

Sounds like a great time, full of lots of love and fun! Hope it was great!

Candy said...

What a wonderful, tradition-rich Christmas! I am so envious. That's it, I'm packing my bags and flying to Norway. You won't notice one more American there will you?

I hope it was as merry as it sounds!

Kellan said...

Hi Heidi - I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are relaxing now and enjoying the day after. See you soon. Kellan

Cathy said...

That sounds so lovely!

Best wishes to you and your family.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I love your traditions... Mind if I bring my family along next year? :-)

Hallie

Stepping Over the Junk said...

lovely lovely. next year I am doing internet shopping and having it wrapped before being shipped. wah lah. I am so tired!

Don Mills Diva said...

Happy belated Christmas - hope it was wonderful. I love your card!

Queeny said...

A $60 trim? Did they get the presidential special?

Jennifer said...

What a fantastic photo! And it sounds like a fantastic Christmas. I love traditions. Even the silly ones. (And I'm giggling like crazy over the family sized bag of M&Ms to snack on! Love it!)

Valarie said...

Awwww, shopping all on his own! I can't wait until one of mine is old enough for that. So cute.
We do that same thing with the counting of the presents and spending an equal amount of money on each. Our 6 month old got the same amount as our 7 year old. That's the only fair thing to do.

Kristen said...

Thanks so much for sharing your traditions with us, sounds so fun! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family.
Bless you all and Merry Christmas.

thirtysomething said...

What a great great day it sounds like! And very organized..I could learn from that.
Hope your holiday has been wonderful so far, see you in the New Year!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

What lovely traditions. I'm jealous that you can dance around your christmas tree. We barely have enough room to walk around our tree while it is pressed up against the wall. Have fun!

Stomper Girl said...

Ah Heidi, your Christmas sounds wonderful and your children must be patient saints!!!

I hope it was all as wonderful as you described.

best wishes

Cx

kim-d said...

Come out, come out wherever you are, Heidi--we need to know if your Christmas was as wonderful as it sounds! And also everything else going on with you; miss you...