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The holidays are a magical time to
spend with your children. Nothing quite compares with witnessing their holiday
experiences: seeing the excitement dance in their eyes as they gaze in
wonderment at sparkling store displays, watching them gleefully adorn a stout
snowman with their own scarves, sipping cocoa together by a warm fire while
the flush of crisp winter air still glows on their cheeks.
Hahaha! Sorry, that's not reality—I
must've been thinking of a Norman Rockwell painting. In reality, my kids
beg for the toys in sparkling store displays, fight over who got more mini
marshmallows in their cocoa and I'm pretty sure they lost their scarves at school
a month ago.
I sort of wish I'd just spiked my eggnog and waited for January to roll around instead.
Nevertheless, perhaps in a misguided
attempt to paint my family into that idealistic Norman Rockwell scene, I've
nurtured a few holiday traditions with my kids. I want to build a foundation of
happy childhood moments they'll recreate with their own children someday, plus
it would sure be nice if we could just PLEASE SHARE SOME MAGICAL MEMORIES,
ALREADY! Unfortunately, the vision of holiday jubilation I strive to bring to
life almost always goes out of focus at some point, making me sort of wish I'd
just spiked my eggnog and waited for January to roll around instead.
1. Watching "A Christmas Story"
I've watched this movie every single
year, multiple times, since I was a kid. As a result, my kids watch it every
year, too, and we all have the entire script memorized. Unfortunately, they
don't enjoy this tradition nearly as much as I do, which means their only real
entertainment during the show is to try to recite all the lines along with the
movie—before I do. Fun fact: When people recite the lines of a beloved movie,
it's hilarious. When everyone recites all the lines of a movie as part of a
94-minute game designed to drive me insane, it's ... less hilarious.
2. Decorating the tree as a family
Nothing brings out my inner control freak like my children putting all the red ornaments in a clump on one branch
on the left side of the tree. IT'S CALLED SYMMETRY, PEOPLE.
3. Making Christmas cookies
Also known as "three hours of
the kids begging to eat raw cookie dough and sucking frosting right out of the
tube, followed by six hours of cleaning flour off every surface in the
4. Driving around to see Christmas
I'll let you in on a little secret: Despite the popularity of this particular tradition, kids don't seem to
actually care one iota about the decorations in other people's yards. So,
driving around to see the pretty lights has all of the "Are we there
yet?" attitude of a family road trip, without ever actually getting
OBVIOUSLY. Actually, we don't own a
real elf; one year, as a joke, I dressed up a ceramic squirrel in a tiny elf
costume I made out of stapled-together red felt and hid him all around the
house. Naturally, of all the traditions I've started with my kids, THIS was the
one they ended up falling in love with. Oh well, I guess when it comes to
making magical holiday memories, I'll have to take what I can get.