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Saturday, November 20, 2010

a simple holiday season

Don't you hate it when Saturday morning sneaks up on you and suddenly you are sitting in your bathrobe, sipping coffee and monitoring cartoon intake. What a minute. Where did the week go again? Did I get anything done?? I like to clean Friday afternoons so my house is sparkly clean for the weekend. I didn't yesterday. Yesterday I started the Minnesota tradition, reluctantly, of taking the kids for a walk in the Mall of America. My clever mommy walking partner found a secret abandoned hallway and we let the kiddies run wild. Fun, yet still I think it made me grumpy and lethargic. No more walks to the park?? Already?? Much weeping and gnashing of teeth going on inside of me. I know of course that the sidewalks are clear enough to bundle of the kids and walk outside anyway. Except for that its cold.


I totally need to go clean the house. That will make me feel better.

Or go shopping. Minneapolis is opening a new combined artisan store. Lots of local crafter artists selling their wares...and it opens today...and I am contemplating dragging dada and the kiddies out to check it out. Or go by myself.

Yesterday I found myself daydreaming about tropical beaches. Some twit on house hunters was buying a vacation home. In Belize. For 3 times as much as what I can hope to spend on a house anytime soon. That shit makes me crabby. And yet I watch. As she complains about the quality of granite. And how she doesn't like the locally made bamboo furniture. And the giant walk in closet just *might* hold all her shoes. You know what I mean. You watch out of pure escapism (quite a theme for me apparently) and yet it makes you kind of sick.

And so I clean my abode, a hovel in comparison, and try to appreciate the grey white sky instead of carribean blue...and where is this post going? I have no idea really. (You know what is going on here? Blogging on the blackberry. It makes my thoughts limited to the size of this tiny screen...)

Except simplicity is important to me. It really is. It is a family choice we have made. Stable government lawyering job with amazing benefits and hours over crazy firm hours and stress. Reducing the number of toys and activities for my kids rather than buying them all the latest things they think they want.

Side note: I was amazed when the toys r us catalogue found its way to our house last week and little man never asked for a single toy from it. Instead he took out his trusty duplos and built the toys he coveted! For days! Look mom its the transformers on this page! And here is the hogworts castle and the train!

Anyway. I am rambling. I am tired.

Simplicity yes. And I am trying to keep this in mind as shopping season begins. TRYING.

So we are thinking one large gift per child and then stocking stuffers. A wooden castle for him and a wooden dollhouse for her. Not the pretty delicate kind, the kind with chunky wood furniture that little hands can set up and play with. (The house is by ryan's room toys I think. The castle is at this great independent toy store in town. I also want to try and buy local or handmade this season to support local crafters and work from home moms like me.) I am so psyched for these purchases. I was a HUGE into dollhouses as a child. Even into my early teens. I still have a box of teeny tiny forks and quilts and toys and furniture. I love it. And yes I am pulling some of that shit out. Oh yes.

But no, back to point. One gift. A gift that will facilitate imaginative play. That is my rule for toys as the kids get older. If it can't lend to imaginative play-allowing little man to go from knight to super hero to train engineer- then I don't want it cluttering up my house. Too many toys today dictate how a child plays with it. Kids have no room to imagine and create. (As my kid watches Saturday morning cartoons and begs with every commercial "mom can I have that pleeeeeese?" Ha.) A wooden house can be a super hero hideout or a fire house or a tree fort. You see what I am getting at.

I am also going to make fuzzy fleece blankets for them. And then some stocking stuffers.

And then they have generous aunties and uncles and grandparents and such who are so sweet to bless our kids with gifts. They will have plenty.

But I want Christmas to be simple in more ways than just the kind of presents we buy. I want to create magical memories of candles and wreaths and family and friends. I have such sweet memories of the magic of the season. Pulling out boxes of decorations. The copper candle set that twirls when the candles are lit. The advent wreath and little song we sang. My kids are still young but old enough to participate in things like this now. I am Swedish and dada is German so I was thinking of incorporating some of our heritage into the annual celebration of the month. St. Niklaus day (?) and Santa Lucia day (?). And I want to have giving a part of our tradition, above and beyond our normal. Maybe saving up for the month and then picking a charity? (I read something about this in family fun magazine. Don't you love that magazine?)

Anyway. Those are some of my thoughts lately as we move into holiday season.

What are some of your family traditions with young ones? Ohmygosh don't you love it?

Next up: I need to experiment with gluten free pie crusts. I am the pie woman of thanksgiving. But I will post my non gluten free pie specialty. It is delish.


  1. I agree that gifts should foster imagination. I am breaking down and getting a kids learning laptop thing for A. this year (four years old). It was half off and focuses on spelling and math skills and such so I figured why not. But she is getting the double sided doll house from TRU as well, I love the concept of a two sided house. Unfortunately buying a locally made dollhouse that would fit her barbies would cost 2 1/2 times the amount and I can't do that. (I wanted to make hers but it's -20 in the garage, and I don't have time or patience.)
    Wee Willie is getting what he loves - train stuff. If he could only have 3 toys it would be trains, cars of any sort, and duplo.
    I love Christmas, the spirit of giving. Nieces and nephews are getting homemade stuff and some co-operative games (Family Pasttimes).

  2. Our traditions you know already, but have fun incorporating your own into your family. It is a deliberate decision to bring into your kid's traditions what you hold as dear. God Bless, love and Happy Thanksgiving.(See you soon)

  3. PW-ours isnt made locally either...but its a lovely little independent toy store so that's good enough. right? arent they so fun? i think i just want to play with it :)


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