I love Christmas, and now that I have a child I am especially excited about it, because it's my chance to enlist others into my enthusiasm. Also, it gives me a good excuse to do fun stuff like make gingerbread houses because "it's for the kid". Children are very useful as a excuse generator, at least when they're little. (Buying toys--especially stuffed animals which I love--would fall into this category.)
Little R is too small to participate in any traditions right now (except tearing wrapping paper off stuff: ripping paper is one of her most favorite activities, as my bookshelf can testify). But I have been thinking of what things I'd like to do with her (and as a family) in the near future.
Things I want to do:
1. Get a (real) Christmas tree; decorate said tree together. This was always a precious tradition in my childhood, following a precise script: drive to tree lot; run around terribly excited until we found the perfect tree; drive home with tree, singing Christmas carols; soak tree outside in water; put up tree the next day; decorate with lights; hang ornaments; admire lit tree while eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. I want to do the exact same thing.
2. Buy a new ornament for each family member every year. For the first couple years, I will select little R's ornament; after that, she will do it (though I might give her a budget). I love looking at my old ornaments and seeing how my taste changed over time.
3. Make gingerbread houses together; also, make and decorate sugar cookies (or possibly other types of cookies; however, this would involve me learning to cook.)
4. Have everyone buy gifts for one another, including little R once she's 4 or so (I will provide the funding and advice).
5. Advent calendars all December.
6. Having a elaborate Christmas celebration on Christmas morning, including: opening stockings (must have an orange at the bottom); special Christmas breakfast (including eggs, sausage, fruit, sparkling cider); excessive amounts of chocolate; and presents appearing under the tree overnight.
7. Getting new matching pyjamas for the family as a Christmas present (and wearing them after the morning excitement is over).
8. Playing games together in the afternoon, followed by a Christmas movie (A Christmas Story is a particular favorite of mine). After this we all collapse in bed, exhausted from celebrating.
There should probably be some sort of service-oriented tradition in there, like buying gifts for the needy, but I am not sure what would be best.
Things we won't be doing:
1. Anything religious. B and I are both atheists, so that won't work. I realize Christmas is a religious holiday in origin, but by this point it's so thoroughly secularized in many respects that I don't feel conflicted about celebrating it. Also, its origins are partially pagan Roman (Saturnalia!), and since I love ancient Rome, how could I give it a miss?
2. Santa as a real person. I think the legend of Santa and the various traditions surrounding it are really fun; however, I don't want to lie to little R. And I don't think explaining to her that Santa is not real, but that we imagine that there is such a person as a pretend game, is confusing. Little children love fantasy and play. I spent large portions of my childhood pretending to be a fairy princess, even though I knew there weren't really 1. fairies or 2. princesses (at least in the US).
--Exercise: 1 hour gym.
--Diet: Breakfast: steamed tortillas with eggs and tomato; Lunch: Chicken cacciatore; Dinner: Onion pancake, pork dumplings and green beans in garlic. Dessert: Mint chocolate sticks, packet of gummy bears. Drinks: Bubble tea, iced cafe latte.
--Other: Drank 8 glasses water.