December 25, 2007

Christmas Memories

This post was going to detail the past few days leading up to Christmas. Friday was my last day at my old job (I start my new job in two weeks) and I planned on using that as a springboard into the Christmas homestretch. I was going to detail each day with vivid memories of Christmas goodness. But as I sit here on the couch, with a kitchen still full of dishes, I am recuperating from a holiday haze of cookies, eggnog, and good old fashioned consumerism.

But, before the memories fade away like the bells on Santa’s sleigh, I thought I’d take you through a very fragmented Christmas…

Looking For Love
It’s Sunday and we are doing some last minute shopping at chez Target. My beautiful wife and I put each kid in a shopping cart and head in to face the throng of shoppers angling for the last-minute deals on classic holiday fare like candy-caned-shaped Slim Jims.

Eventually, somewhere near the stocking-stuffer aisle, Andrea and I lose sight of each other. The flow of carts carries me down-aisle and I wind up several aisles away and I am forced to fight my way back up stream. As TheMonk and I look for Mommy and Swee’Pea, in that “head craning down every aisle” look, a concerned Target employee approaches us. “Can I help you find something?” she asks.

“My wife?” I reply amid a chorus of laughter from those around us.

TheMonk Repents
We attend an early Christmas eve mass in a tightly packed church. A nice couple doubles up their kids so we can have two seats in the cry room section of the church. TheMonk is armed with two cars that, as soon as the service starts, he begins to deliberately drop on the floor with a resounding clank. It goes downhill from there and at some point, TheMonk hits me in the face. In our house hitting someone earns you an automatic time out. As far as I’m concerned, in the House of The Lord, hitting someone earns you a timeout as well. So there we are – me standing over TheMonk in the corner of the cry room while he sits facing the corner of the room during a reading from the Book of Matthew.

Soon enough it was time to receive communion. We gathered up the kids and held them in our arms. Due to the behavior of TheMonk, we were seriously contemplating getting out of there once we ate our bland wafer. This decision was sealed once Andrea took communion, with TheMonk in her arms. He soon realized he wasn’t getting anything to eat like Mommy and, being TheMonk, he decided to voice his displeasure. Let me just say, it’s not Christmas until you hear a two-year-old scream at the top of his lungs, “I WANNA COOKIE TOO!!!!!!!” while attending church.

We’re gonna get this tradition thing down
Back from church, we get the kids in their PJ’s and climb into the SUV for a brief jaunt around the neighborhood to ooh and aah at 27 different snow men, two Santas on Harleys, and icicles hanging from eaves in 60 degree weather. Upon our return, we realized we hadn’t really prepared a Christmas Eve dinner so I whipped up a semi-homemade dinner of bow-tie pasta, buttered carrots and bruschetta on toasted baguette. We then swigged a cup of eggnog in the kitchen, laid out cookies, carrots and milk for the impending arrival of the Big Guy and his posse, and headed up to put two little ones down to sleep. If they knew what sugar plums were, visions certainly would have been dancing in their head.

Some Assembly Required

Andrea and I debated whether Santa wraps his gifts or leaves them out in the open. I was briefly on the “Wrap” side of this debate until I realized how much less work it would be to let Santa just lay them out. So we extracted all of the toys from their hermetically sealed packages, arranged them just so, and went to bed.

Christmas goodies

Jump Around. Jump Around. Jump… Jump…
We enter the twin’s bedroom on Christmas morning and they are standing in their cribs waiting for the magic that will soon unfold. TheMonk, when asked if he’s ready to see what Santa brought him, begins jumping up and down in his crib, shouting out, “Santa came!” If there’s one thing I don’t want to forget about this Christmas it’s that memory.

Squeals of Delight
I hold their hands as we descend the stairs to begin our Christmas morning. We don’t make it down the entire staircase, however, before Swee’Pea breaks free from my grasp, hurdles the last few stairs and sprints towards the cornucopia of Chinese-made mound of plastic toys. If there’s another memory I don’t want to forget, it’s this one.

Dinner with Rachel Ray
We sit down to a Christmas Dinner of pot roast, carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy and salad. TheMonk can’t get enough of everything. He devours his salad, pot roast, potatoes and carrots in record time. Swee’Pea, on the other hand, decides she’d rather work on her presentation skills. (It should be noted that Swee’Pea is a big Rachel Ray fan. She loves to watch her show. To play off that passion she received 101 pieces of plastic food along with pots and pans from Santa) As the rest of us eat, Swee’Pea carefully loads a dollop of mashed potatoes onto several round carrot discs on her plate. Once her carrot and mashed potato “cupcakes” (her words) are done, she dutifully shares them with the rest of us. If she ever has a career in cooking, let it be known this was her first Christmas dinner.

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
After dinner, we snuggle on the couch to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas on TV. Swee’Pea, in between playing with her princess dolls she received from my Aunt Irma, looks up to see The Grinch absconding with Cindy Lou Who’s Christmas Tree. Upon seeing this, Swee’Pea exclaims, “He’s being naughty. He needs a time out.”


It’s now late on Christmas Day and a glance at the counter reminds me I still have some cleaning up to do. Let me just say that to all of you who have followed our story here, Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Christmas Card


  1. Sounds like you survived pretty well!

    Comment by Deanna — December 26, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  2. It sounds as if you All had a very Merry Christmas. So did we.

    Comment by Grandmother — December 26, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

  3. I love the church story! We didn’t attempt mass this year…not with the little guy.
    Also – you gotta love that Amazon box in the background of your Christmas tree photo – almost all of the gifts from Santa to us came from Amazon – he’s a smart shopper, that man.
    There’s gotta be a new Christmas cartoon revolving around Santa ordering gifts online…and then waiting and wondering if they’ll arrive on time! Maybe Rudolph can come and help???

    Comment by Cathy — December 26, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  4. This was a wonderful post! You are a very talented writer and obviously a wonderful Dad. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Mindy — December 26, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  5. I think Santa will go paper free at our house next year. Sounds like you had a great christmas!

    Comment by Nicki — January 3, 2008 @ 5:17 am

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