It appears that I have transformed from Scrooge Rachel to Ms. Jingle Bells. Yup, that's right, I am in the holiday spirit. Big time. But in little ways. There are no flashy parties this year. No spendy gifts. No festive cocktails.
Somehow this year I have succeeded in recognizing what the holidays are really about, simple joy and family. My family. Is it a hallmark card? Not quite, but I'm trying. Hard.
This weekend, a glowing example of my Christmas cheer. Friday, a gloomy, rainy typical December day in Berkeley. What to do? I packed up the boys and headed to Barnes & Noble, where we picked out no less than 10 Christmas books and sat down to read them one by one, as I sipped on a gingerbread latte. (Short detour, I am 100% addicted to the high priced, highly caloric "holiday" coffee drinks ala Starbucks-decaf style. I'm blaming it on the baby.)
Saturday we headed to Sacramento to visit old town. I assumed that the cute tourist destination would have a significant amount of holiday spirit. Wrong-o. But did I let that grinch me out? No sir. Instead I sent the kids on a quest to find candy canes. Bingo. Instant Christmas fun. Sort of. It took us a while to actually locate the red and white sugary confections, and the boys started getting cranky. But when the kids finally sat down to enjoy their candy, Zack informed me with a smile that "Candy canes are a special Christmas treat!" Precious, right?
Last night I decided to enjoy one of my very favorite Christmas traditions, holiday light viewing. I have always enjoyed driving around to see the sparkly creations adorning our neighbors homes. The problem this year has been that the clowns in the backseat have turned this simple cheerful activity into a shouting match. "Christmas lights!" Evan screeches at the top of his lungs. "Christmas lights!" Zachary yells in return. Then a battle of "I saw them first" and finally, tears and hitting ensues. Good times. I had just about vowed not to drive after sunset when I came up with a fabulous idea, make it special mommy and me time. So tonight after dinner I packed Zack and only Zack into the car and cranked up to the Christmas tunes. We spent 25 minutes just driving around and admiring the pretty lights. No screaming. Nice.
Finally today we took the family out to City Hall for a Christmas festival complete with fake snow and Santa Claus. We waited in line so Zack could slide down the one man -made snow hill (kind of a bizaar site for a Wisconsin girl), and introduced the boys to Saint Nick. To my surprise even Evan posed for a picture with the fat man in a red suit. Sadly, this turned out to be a seedy part of San Francisco. On the way back to our car we had the pleasure of witnessing a junkie shooting up in plain site. Ho,ho, ho.
We ended the day making Christmas ornaments. Not quite Martha Stewart, but I am okay with that.
So here I am giving myself a pat on the back for not giving into the Christmas stress, and turning eggs into eggnog, or something like that.....