I’m back to share a bit more of my home – Ok.. actually I’m here to share a re-do. I moved my tree. Yes. I moved a fully decorated tree. It’s much easier than it sounds. I simply slid it over a few feet no biggie. Especially since I’ve been known to do this before. The first year we were in Italy I moved my tree three times, I couldn’t figure out where I wanted it, and seeing it in the spot was the best option for me. I also do this with furniture. I can visualize until I’m cross-eyed, but seeing the furniture in the room in the space is what I prefer. When you move as much as we do, sometimes furniture doesn’t work exactly the way you thought it would, it’s all part and parcel with making military housing a home.…
I love Christmas! I LOVE decorating for Christmas. When you’re in the military and move every so many
For one reason or another (mostly my busy volunteer schedule) I didn’t get around to sending out a holiday “photo” greeting card. I managed a traditional no photo kind, but my family and friends back home really enjoy seeing a card with our smiling shiny happy faces on it. I figured later was better than never, and came up with this after the holiday-holiday card late last night.
From our hearts to yours, we wish you a happy, what-ever comes next!
My husband and I often go exploring neighboring towns and villages. Any town, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all going to be new to us. A few weeks ago, days before Christmas, we took a drive with our boys and ended up in Conegliano.
I love Italy at Christmas. There is no rush. There is no bustling from big box store to electronics store in search of that “perfect gift”. Christmas in Italy is a time to rejoice, to spend time with family and friends. This time of “feste” is celebrated and exemplified in each city. Pretty much every commune has some sort of holiday decorations on display; usually in the form of lights. Depending on the size, some are more extravagant, and others quaint. Some cities will also host Christmas markets, where things like baked goods and sweets, mulled wine, artesian hand crafted products, and art are sold. The size of the market, is usually small unless you head closer to the mountain areas near Austria. Conegliano is such a town with a small area where local artisans and businesses gather under tents to sell their wares. Conegliano is a lovely place to go for a walk any time of year, but it is especially lovely at the holidays.
12:30 a.m: Family arrived home from lovely evening with friends.
12:45 a.m: Evan half-asleep attempts to make it to the bathroom, but gets nowhere. Vomits all over his bedroom floor. His father and mother clean things up. Mother has concerns the dreaded 24-hour bug that has plagued so many friends has struck. But Evan gave her hope when he said, “I feel good.” With a worrying heart, the parental units put him back to bed.
1:30 a.m: Commence “Operation Santa”. Wrapping of gifts and general Christmas things occur in a less than Christmasy spirit.
3:00 a.m: The proverbial “Witching Hour”. Mother posts a very Christmasy photo to social media of tree with all Santa work complete. Parental units expect to be dreaming of sugar plums within a short period.
3:05 a.m: Hopes are dashed when mother hears what can only be described as a coughing-gurgle-gag, coming from the children’s place of slumber.
Mother dashes in, turns on the light, and discovers a horrible sight! Poor sweet Evan, in his brand new Batman pajamas is covered in puke from brow to belly, as are his bed coverings. It’s a view that would make even the most harrowing of Santa’s toss his cookies.
She called to her husband who was not so quietly snoring on the couch to arise and come see what was the matter!
3:10 a.m: Evan is bathed and fresh smelling once more. He’s dressed in his pajamas from three-Christmases past and snuggled up between his parental units and a bucket.
3:25: a.m. Vomiting child.
3:30 am: Child sleeps.
3:35 a.m: Parents pretend to sleep.
3:45 a.m: Vomiting semi-conscious child.
Parents all but conscious lost grip on bucket.
Sheets removed from bed.
3:48 a.m. Parents actually fall asleep. One still wearing her spectacles.
4:20 a.m: Vomiting child.
4:30 a.m: Vomiting child.
Parents fall asleep.
4:45 am: Vomiting child.
4:50 am: Child sleeps
5:00 am: Parents sleep (sort-of).
8:09 am: Elder child awakes. “Merry Christmas!”
Mother explained preceding events of the night. Elder child tears up and generally freaks out over baby brother. Mother says, “Go see the presents, then go back to bed.”
10:45 a.m: Sleeping, previously puking child awakes, seemingly “normal”, asks about, “Santa”.
11:00 a.m: Family opens gifts.
11:45 a.m: Previously puking child is given broth and crackers.
Noon: Previously pretending to sleep mother prepares “French toast casserole” from recipe she scored on Pinterest.
1:30 p.m: Three family members eat.
1:45 p.m: Previously puking child now has other excremental issues.
2:00 p.m: Mother & father sipping mimosas. Children are happy.
Life is messy, but good.
My son asked.
At ten years old, I had to look into his sweet big brown eyes and tell him the truth.
Except I got all teary eyed, and the words I’d planned to say when this moment finally came floated from my mind on gossamer wings. Then his brother needed a moment, he somehow managed to get himself tangled up in his soccer socks… I told my son as he sat, expectant, we had to “pause our conversation.” I rushed upstairs to untangle his brother and my mind. Once he and his socks were sorted-could they possibly be any longer? My mind was still a muddled emotional mess, so I did the only thing I can do in these situations… I wrote.
When we spoke earlier, you wondered why I started to cry, and it’s because I knew this day would come one day… I knew there would come a time when you’d ask about Santa, and I knew I would have to be absolutely honest with you.
I was pretty sure it would happen last Christmas, and somehow it didn’t. When you asked today, it took me off guard because Christmas is still a few months off and I thought I’d have some time to prepare the perfect answer. You see, that’s the thing with being a parent, your kids often surprise you, and sometimes we need a few moments to gather our wits in order to really explain things. I know we talked, but then Evan interrupted us, and I feel I didn’t really get to explain it to you, and since I can always express my thoughts better when I write them down, I thought I should write you and explain…
Here is the absolute whole truth about Santa Claus…
No, Santa isn’t real, like you and me are real, but that’s because Santa doesn’t need to be real because Santa is the symbol for something great. Santa is all that Christmas is made up of, Santa is the spirit of Christmas.
Over all the Christmases you’ve had, there have been many Santas in your life. Your father and I have lovingly picked out your presents, wrapped them on Christmas Eve, and filled your stockings. We’ve rang bells outside your window and made loud sounding footsteps outside your door. We’ve munched on cookies, and carrots leaving bits and crumbs on Santa’s plate; so that come Christmas morning, when you’d wake, we’d get to see the wonder and excitement in your eyes and our hearts would burst with joy.
We weren’t the only keepers of Christmas magic in your life; we had elves helping us too. Your aunts and uncles, grandparents, and other people who love you have all helped create Christmas magic for you. We wanted you to understand the real gift of Christmas. The magic that is Christmas, which is love, and giving from the heart. Simple moments like decorating our Christmas tree or writing Christmas letters to Santa.
Michael, Santa doesn’t need to be real. He doesn’t need to be something tangible you can see. I know you’re inquisitive mind has probably wondered about some of the logistics with Santa, but your imaginative side, the side that can create these awesome stories will see the importance of this secret. More importantly, I know in your heart you’ll get this. It may be hard to accept, I know it was for me when I learned the truth, but don’t let go of your belief in Santa. Keep him alive in your heart.
We, your father and I, and everyone who has ever given you a gift with “From Santa” written on it believes in Santa. We believe in the love and magic Santa is made up of and we want you to continue to believe. We want you to keep Christmas in your heart too. We gave you the gift of Santa, because we knew one day you’d also get the important job of keeping the spirit of Christmas and Santa alive in the hearts of younger kids (and even some bah-hum-bug grown ups) by helping create the magic of Christmas too.
Now that you know the truth, it is your job to help us keep that magic alive for your little brother and every other kid out there who isn’t yet old enough to handle this important responsibility. One day, you’ll be doing it for your own kids, and have Elves too, like we did to help keep Christmas magic alive.
You are now a keeper of Christmas magic.
Though this Christmas will be a little bit different for you, because you’ll be an elf too, helping keep the magic of Christmas alive for your little brother, you’ll see it won’t be any less magical, so please don’t stop believing in the magic of Christmas my darling sweet boy. Keep it alive in your heart, hold the true spirit and meaning of Christmas which above all else is love and giving alive in your heart for all the Christmases to come, and Santa will forever be real.
All my love,
P.S. You’re probably wondering about Peppermint our Elf too…It’s been tough coming up with all those mischievous things for him to get into, this Christmas I’m putting you in charge of making Elf mischief!
He was totally cool. He did get teary eyed, he said it was because, I’d never spoken to him that way… As though he “were grown up”. We spoke of Jesus and how God gave us the gift of his son on Christmas. We spoke of St. Nicholas, and how the spirit of Santa was born. He’s an amazing kid, and though I am a bit sad to see this part of his childhood come to an end, I know there will be more childhood lasts, and many new firsts. What an honor it will be it share them with him.
I’m off to cry a little.
Follow this link to read my post the year before… On Last Firsts & Believing in Santa