On the eve of St Nikolaus' day children in Germany (and possibly adults too) put out their boots hoping that Nikolaus will come and fill them with sweet surprises. Here are our shoes lined up in front of the fire place ready to be filled. We hope that Nikolaus remembers our half German boys and will make a flying visit to Ireland.
We started to get into the festive mood by decorating the house and baking gingerbread and Christmas cookies.
Aidan is thoroughly enjoying himself and I am too. I'm trying not to get too obsessed about having everything perfect. While it's hard not feel at least a little stress with so much to do, it's important to enjoy the moments. I took a whole day decorating cookies with Aidan and it was so much fun. The next day Adrian and I did our Christmas shopping while my parents in law minded the boys for us. And instead of feeling the pressure to get all the presents we just enjoyed being in town together on our own. We had our lists, got everything we wanted and then enjoyed a late lunch and a cup of coffee. It was the most relaxed Christmas shopping trip I've ever done and I really don't know why I usually get so stressed about it.
I suppose it depends on your mindset if the weeks leading up to Christmas are hell or a peaceful and enjoyable time.
Here is a collection of things that I used to think are important and that made this time of the year so hard:
- The decorations have to be beautiful and ideally homemade.
- I have to bake tons of Christmas cookies, as many varieties as possible ( like my grandma used to do, I still dream of the giant tin boxes filled to the brim with delicious smelling bakeware).
- With every Christmas present I need to include at least one little handmade gift.
- I have to buy/make loads of little gifts that can be used to make up hampers so I always have a present ready in case somebody gives me or the boys an unexpected present.
- I send Christmas cards to basically every person I know, even if I never received a card from them in return.
- While doing all the above I need to be in a festive mood, enjoying quiet evenings sipping hot beverages by the fire place.
When I look at this list I still feel the urge to get all those things done: I really really like baking and making and showing people that I care by giving them thoughtful presents. But as much as I love doing these things, once you want something done perfect and within such a short time frame they're just chores and it will take all the pleasure out of them.
I'm downsizing a bit this year and so far I'm enjoying December much more than I used to.