Tibault & Toad

12th day of christmas

I figured the last day of Christmastide was a good day to give a summary of the activities of the season. 

We all started to come down with some kind of cold on Christmas Eve, and it still just refuses to die (hence the sleeping Tenny up there). Alan is still coughing at night and Indy and Tenny have runny noses that won't quit. I'd certainly say it's the longest lasting virus we've ever been so unfortunate to cross paths with. It's been our constant companion this whole season, but we still mustered the strength to find wonder where we could and enjoy Christmas as a family and with our families. 

We decorated the tree on Christmas Eve as we had a planned, and it so special doing it that way. A new tradition, for sure. We started with a pretty equal mix of ornaments, with mostly wood and felt on the bottom, but those were being stolen from the tree so often that they, too, slowly migrated to the top until the bottom found itself completely bare! Whoops!

On Christmas morning Alan and I had just one gift for each child wrapped under the tree. In future years I think we might start the "want, need, wear, read" theme, but we were able to squeak by one more year with kids totally thrilled with only one present from us. For Tenny we got the woodland bunny by Jellycat, and Indy received two Elsa Beskow books: Woody, Hazel and Little Pip and Children of the Forest.

We asked our families to be so kind as to consolidate or limit gifts this year and they got us some wonderful basic imaginative toys: a wooden table and chairs for Indy and Tenny to share, a nice big set of blocks, this adorable wooden mini baby play set for Indy, and a wooden fishing set for Tenny, among other things (wool socks and books and organic cotton clothing). I'm so grateful for our families and how thoughtful they are with gifts. 

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trees and tea

I didn't document the tree cutting this year. Honestly, it was a lot colder than I expected and the kids and I were rather under-dressed, so we hung out in the store while the tree-cutting was taking place. We set the tree up and strung the lights but we're leaving it otherwise undecorated until Christmas Eve. Some families who celebrate Advent will wait until that night before even putting their tree in the house, to magnify the sense of waiting, much like leaving the manger in the creche empty until Christmas. Then the tree stays up for all of Christmas (which really lasts until Epiphany, on January 6th!) I wasn't sure I could face a completely treeless Advent though, so I decided leaving the decorating until Christmas eve was a good middle ground. We're also doing a Jesse tree for the first time this year, and reading through this book by Ann Voskamp with Indy (we all really like it). It was my intention to use our real tree as our Jesse tree this year and to add one ornament each evening, but since I set out to make the ornaments myself and so far have only made 5 of 25, it looks like that part will have to wait until next Advent.  

We're finally settling into the cold season. The first several weeks after the garden is really done and the door to the screened porch remains firmly shut, narrowing my world to one less room, I feel that pacing feeling coming on, what do I do now? The rhythms of Advent seem to help with that, actually; the emphasis on introspection, quiet, the thought-life, it all reminds me of the possibilities of this part of the year. Oh yes, there's the books and tea (a ritual Indy has quite taken to this year) and yarn. There's plenty of chances for wonder - not the same as is in July, not the green unfurling and the ruby tomatoes heavy in hand - but a peaceful kind, the falling snow and steam from the kettle and the kids (occasionally) magically sharing toys and quietly laughing together in the other room. It's good. 

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