Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Time is Here...

Ah, baby’s first Christmas. So much to do. So many traditions to lay the foundation on. This year is Olive’s first Christmas tree (as if her view of the world isn’t confusing enough as an 8-month-old, now we put a tree in our dining room and fill it with a bunch of small, mildly frightening representations of talking piles of snow, jolly elves, and white women with wings – Snowmen, Santa and angels, keep up with me now). This year is going to be her first time hearing Christmas carols; songs that she will hear thousands of times for the rest of her life. It is her first time that she has seen things like stockings and reindeer and fruit cake. We really need to make sure we do this right.

Unfortunately, after taking her to get our Christmas tree and snapping this picture where she seems to be thinking “I can’t believe my mom is embarrassing me already”;

after sitting down at our piano and singing Jingle Bells and Here Comes Santa Claus only to have her be far more interested in trying to jump off the piano bench; after trying to show her the majesty of our fully decorated Christmas tree only to realize that I just put about 100 chocking hazards within arms reach of my desperate to crawl daughter; after all this did I realize that she isn’t going to remember any of this.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been a lot of fun going through the Christmas motions. Leanne couldn’t be happier bringing Olive along to pick out a tree. Leanne is also almost Grinch-like in her disdain for Christmas music, but will spend an hour trying to get Olive to dance to Jingle Bell Rock. Picking out Christmas dresses has been fun. Showing Olive off at holiday parties is too, even though I know I’m probably upping her chances of getting the swine flu exponentially every time she gets passed around a room full of holiday revelers.

But it was a few weeks ago, when I was doing some Christmas shopping, that I had a frightening realization: Olive won’t really know what to do with her presents. She won’t fall asleep on Christmas Eve with drowsy anxiousness, sugar plum fairies dancing in her head. She’ll fall asleep calmly on her mom’s shoulder, with visions of Similac and bananas. She won’t go racing down the stairs looking for all the presents that Santa brought. She will wake up babbling or screaming, beckoning me to come find the present she left for me in her diaper. And she won’t go tearing into presents, sending paper and bows flying. She will probably be sitting on the ground hoping that someone lets one of those shiny things get close enough to her that she can snag it and see what it tastes like. Presents and gifts and Santa don’t mean anything to her. But they mean something to us! This is our chance to get her presents! We WANT to spoil our daughter and buy her cool stuff! This is my right as a dad.


Since buying presents, putting them away for three weeks, wrapping them, and then opening them up yourself at a later date seems silly, Leanne and I came up with a plan. I love our plan. I’m sure many many new parents have thought of it before, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.

Leanne and I are both going to buy a couple presents for Olive. But I’m keeping my purchases a secret from Leanne, and visa versa. I will wrap my presents that I bought for Olive and Leanne will get to open them. And visa versa. It gives us the thrill of buying for Olive and feeling like we are surprising someone. And it gives us both a couple more surprises on Christmas morning.

Everyone is happy. I’ll be sure to let you know how the presents turned out. Needless to say, I did my best to avoid Babies ‘R’ Us this year, and somehow succeeded. Though it was tough when I came home from a local baby store and realized that I probably could have bought the same toy at Low-Standards ‘R’ Us for about half as much. But hey, it is Christmas.

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