It’s DECEMBER.

It’s December.  The most WONDERFUL month of the year!  I’ve already buckled my seatbelt and located all of the tissues, and it’s a good thing, because I am turning into a bigger sap every day.

This is the first year that both of my kids will be old enough to really enjoy all that is Christmas.  Obviously Middle (2 years, 4 months old) isn’t entirely aware of the reason for the season, nor does he understand Santa and what that means for him, but he’s still old enough to have fun.  I have no doubt that he will relish every moment of opening gifts on Christmas morning and riding around looking at Christmas lights.

And Poppyseed, oh Poppyseed!  This is just magical for her.  I have already loved seeing Christmas through her 4.5 year old eyes.

This year I knew that I really wanted to both soak up and simplify Christmas.  I began by making sure we were decorated and festive with plenty of time to really enjoy it.   This was the first year that we put lights on the house, and I’m not even a little bit ashamed that they were lit pre-Thanksgiving.

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We also spared no time when it came to getting our tree!  That was on our to-do list for the day after Thanksgiving.  We packed up the kids in “Big Red” and cut down our very own cypress.

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Poppyseed and I spent the better part of the day decorating it.  As it turns out, I’m still highly allergic to cypress trees, so I wore Oatmeal’s long sleeved shirt to avoid much contact.  I still broke out into a rash that lasted a week, but Benadryl and steroids made it tolerable.

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Thankfully no one else seems effected by the tree, as no one else has had so much as a sniffle or rash.

I took down all of the Christmas cards from 2015, spending at least a few seconds admiring each one as they came down.  I carefully labeled them and stored them away in our memory chest, just as I do every year, and put up the first few early birds for 2016.  Don’t you just love Christmas cards!?

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I also added some pretty greenery to our mantle, and accented a wreath with the snowflake ornaments that my grandmother gave to my mother.

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It took a good hour of polishing, but oh do they sparkle!  This was one example of my turning into an old softie.  Poppyseed helped me polish every single ornament, and her interest in this old fashioned task and willingness to carefully scrub each one with a toothbrush was cuteness overload.  She insisted on taking a picture of me – who am I to argue with an enthusiastic four year old?

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I probably love the mantle the most.  The snowflakes really do take me down memory lane, when we were just kids at our house in Frazier Road.  The stockings were wedding gifts that of course expanded when we had the kids.  The lights add the most cozy glow to our living room in the evenings.

Other than the tree and mantle, we just kept things simple.  Last year I insisted on wrapping our staircase and balcony with greenery and lights, but if I were being honest, it was really a headache.  It required multiple extension cords, as well as cordless lights, but what really put the nail in the coffin was the constant changing of  C batteries on the strands that couldn’t reach an outlet.

Another thorn in my side and damper in my holiday cheer last year was my collection of Northern Lights Christmas Village houses.  I love those cute houses, but I spent an entire day unpacking those delicate, glittery breakables last year.  I moved them all over the house, but I never found a home for them that allowed us to enjoy them and also not worry about knocking them over.

This year, instead of wrapping the entire staircase and balcony with greenery, I just did the easy sections.  And I left all of the Christmas houses packed neatly in their boxes in the attic.  I am oddly at peace with that, even though I love them.  We just don’t have a really obvious place to display them in this house, and short of buying a new piece of furniture or installing shelves, it’s going to be that way for now.

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I tucked a small tree in the entryway to the house, and I let Poppyseed choose her own miniature tree for her room.  She got free reign to decorate those two trees as she pleased, and of course she selected the most interesting/unusual ornaments from our collection for her own small projects.

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That left mainly balls and snowflakes left for our real tree, but hey, I wasn’t about to die on that hill.

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I took yet another shortcut with our Advent calendar.  I had every intention of stuffing each pocket with treats, meaningful messages, or activities, but then it was suddenly December 1st and I just decided to hang it up on the wall and be done.  Poppyseed was delighted to learn what the 24 numbers mean, and is the first to move the place holder to the correct date each morning.  This has also helped minimize the number of times before 9am she asks me, “Mommy, is it Christmas today?”

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Naturally, I have at least 40 pictures of Poppyseed placing the angel on the top of our tree, just as there are at least 1000 images of my sister on my dad’s shoulders back in the 80’s.  As the firstborn kiddo, Poppyseed will always get to be the angel placer!

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As you can probably tell from his absence in all of these tree pictures, Middle didn’t have a huge interest in the tree.  Once it was cut down, he went back to being interested in ropes and cows and horses.  He feels about the same towards Santa, as you can see from his expression here.  We took this family picture at the Janicek’s annual Christmas party, where he completely refused to make any physical contact with the jolly fellow from the North Pole.  Here’s hoping he gets more than just a few bags of coal under the tree on Christmas morning!

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