If only we could all be four again.
In case you are wondering, age 4 is the optimal age to celebrate the Christmas season. My 4-year-old has been on a three-week high getting ready for Christmas. If you have lost the joy of Christmas, look no further than your local 4-year-old to remind you.
It started when we gave him his own tree to decorate. Years ago, my husband and I purchased a small artificial tree. We did this because we were traveling the day after Christmas and didn’t want to spend Christmas day taking down a live Christmas tree before we left the country for 10 days. We got a small one because we lived in a tiny apartment and frankly couldn’t fit a larger one in our living room. Every year since then though, we’ve purchased a live tree. So this year my husband told my son that he could set the small tree up in the play room and he could decorate it.
I cannot tell you the excitement on his face as he raided our box of ornaments for ones that he could put on his tree. He filled his container and then invited us to go down with him to help decorate his tree. When he was finished, he looked excitedly at his tree and then turned to us and said, “You are the best Mommy and Daddy ever!” Sold. We will let him put this tree up in the basement every year. I don’t care how many times my younger son knocks it over.
On Saturday, the two of us made homemade ornaments while the twins were napping. I had purchased a pack of glitter glue to add some texture beyond just crayons on construction paper. Can I just take a minute to thank the person who invented glitter glue? I hope this person is living large on some beach right now. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for this relatively clean way of applying glitter to crafts. Do you know how I added glitter to crafts as a child? I applied glue and then dumped half a bottle of glitter onto the project in hopes that 1/8 of it would stick. I would then have to clean up the excess glitter. There is no way I will introduce this ancient glitter application technique to my children. If their teachers are school are brave enough, that’s fine, but you will not find me buying any form of glitter that is not already mixed with glue.
As the picture might suggest, I might have had more fun doing this than my son. I would like to draw your attention to ornaments in the upper left of the picture. Yes, those are American Flags made entirely of glitter glue. Excuse while I go set up an Etsy account and sell them for $20 each.
So perhaps the ornaments didn’t turn out exactly how we had planned them to (next time I will remember to use card stock rather than construction paper). The successful part of the afternoon came when I sat down and spent two hours of quality time with my son.
This has also been the first year that my son has had much interest in Christmas songs. A four-year-old singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town is the funniest thing ever. A four-year-old singing Away in the Manger is the cutest thing ever. Even my two-year-olds have picked up the words to Jingle Bells and love to shout the words at the slightest mention of bells.
So to say there is excitement in my house around Christmas is an understatement. We are full of the Christmas spirit. Next week, we will be busing planning our birthday party for Jesus. I hear a lot of parents talk about how to keep their kids from getting caught up with Santa Claus and getting gifts. Here is a tip: you know what preschoolers love? Birthday parties. It doesn’t even have to be their own birthday party. There is something about balloons, cake and ice cream that excites preschoolers. My kids are very excited about making their own decorations and birthday cards for the big party on Christmas day.
I’m very thankful for my kids this Christmas season. I remind myself that there will come years when I’m begging my kids to decorate the tree with me. I’ve had the best season of Advent that I’ve had in a long time. I owe a large part of it to the joy, love, hope and (sometimes) peace that I’ve seen in my kids, especially my 4-year-old.