G. Grod and I accompanied 6yo Drake and 3yo Guppy downstairs, where they stared, wide-eyed and silent, at the tree in the living room that had not been there the day before. (Shh. G put it up Christmas Eve while I wrapped presents and helped.)
In past years, G and my parents have sent so many stocking stuffers that we haven’t needed to help. This year was a scaled-back celebration for lots of v. good reasons, so I was on stocking duty for the first time. Friends helped with lots of suggestions, and in the end I put in: a chocolate, a peppermint, a small box of Altoids, a pack of Glee gum, a candy cane, a temporary tattoo (free from a store sometime last summer), mechanical toys they got at a birthday party and forgot about, a roll of quarters (for video games and gumball machines), a tiny satsuma mandarin orange, a finger puppet and a pack of Annie’s bunny fruit snacks. The boys decided on their own that Santa had filled the stockings.
The boys’ Auntie Sydney managed to score a Zhou Zhou pets Giant Hamster City Playset, which was the hit of the morning, though Lego Secret Agents and Snap Circuits also got a lot of attention. We watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, then I made snow Totoros
which the boys had no interest in while G shoveled the heavy, wet snow. Good for building, bad for shoveling. Since the roads were bad we didn’t go out for Chinese, but instead made pepperoni pan pizza. G discovered that vodka makes the cooking process a lot easier. We had pumpkin whoopie pies for dessert, then watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
At bed, the boys and I read several of our favorite Christmas books, the new Christmas Magic, beautifully illustrated by Jon Muth (Zen Shorts and Zen Ties), Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, and James Marshall’s The Night Before Christmas. Then we sang all the carols we know from Tomie DePaola’s Book of Christmas Carols, which we borrowed from the library for the fourth year in a row.
Then G and I snuggled down on the couch to watch The Shop Around the Corner, which charms me anew every time I watch it. Is it perfect? I think it might be.