When I think of Christmas, I always think first of Christmases as a child. Even though I've had far more Christmases as an adult, I love my childhood Christmas memories. My parents (actually I probably should give the majority of the credit to my mother), so, MY MOTHER knew how to do Christmas.
There wasn't a single Christmas that I didn't love. I loved everything leading up to Christmas, everything about Christmas, and I even have fond memories of the days following Christmas.
One of my most favorite things about yesterday's Christmases is this advent calendar here:
(Matthew, Casey and me (please oh please excuse that bad hair) in December 1983)
If you can't tell, it is an advent calendar that each day moved Mary and Joseph one step closer to the manger. We also had another advent calendar (Santa's beard) that Matthew and I alternated each day which one of us would do which calendar.
I adore both of the advent calendars, but perhaps because this Nativity one is no longer around, the absence of it makes my heart grow fonder.
Oh how I wish I had it!
I've never really gotten into advent calendars with my children. Maybe because I've never found one that compares to the ones I so fondly remember from my childhood.
Although last year (maybe the year before?) we did receive a pretty Victorian house with 24 little doors in it. Each little door is big enough to squeeze in 5 little pieces of candy (like Starburst, Lifesavers, Rolos, etc.) The only problem seems to be that ALL five children never get to it at the same time, and by the time the fourth or fifth child makes their way to the house. Our (birth-order) FIFTH child has already gotten there first and taken any and all remaining candy he finds.
It causes all sorts of commotion, contention, and denials. Not to mention candy wrappers left under my dining room table.
Every day I consider tossing the idea of an advent calendar. And then I remember Santa's Beard and Mary and Joseph's Journey, and how thrilling it was each morning to do them. I'm not too lost in nostalgia to think Matthew and I never fought about whose turn it was to do which one, or to think one of us probably selfishly did both on occasion.
I'm hoping at least one of my children will one day look back at the Victorian Advent House with fond memories. It will make all the troubles of today, worth it.
P.S. I've made a mental note to force all five of my children to pose for a photo smiling by the advent house so in the event that none of them actually recall fond memories of it, I can *show* them they did.