The man in red suit and I share many similarities. We both share a fondness for sweets and nuts this time of year. Of course, I also crave funky French cheeses, but then again maybe Santa has a cheese tooth too. We both have a giggly midsection. I'm sure Santa has also spent hours of his time taking "Awesome Abs"classes to no avail. Santa and I also look HOT in tall black boots. And finally, we are both fond of making lists; the naughty or nice list for him and "the nostalgic create a memory" list for me.
Let me explain. As a mom, I feel the need to create "moments." And let's face it, the holidays offer a plethora of magical moment making. You can easily drown in tinsel and ornaments this time of year, especially since Christmas merriment now starts as early as September. My checklist is a mix of recreating my own memories from childhood and classic New York City Christmas moments. I feel especially pressured to create these New York City since we will officially be residents of New Jersey in 2012 (more on that later). Will Bean remember my laundry list of Christmas fun activities? Certainly not. I will remember these moments, because they truly are the best gifts a mom could get.
1. Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Done and done. Bean and I dined on quiche and cappacino while staring at the enormous evergreen. Bean seemed far more interested in the food and ate an inordinate amount of pickles, proving once again that she is my child.
2. Pictures with Santa Claus. Why oh why did I think this was a good idea? Oh yes, now I remember because ever year, my dad took his three kids to the winter wonderland at A&S for pictures with Santa. I invited my dad along for the picture, to create this moment for all of us. What we have is picture of Bean staring terrified, mouth wide open sitting on my lap clutcing Bear for dear life while I balance carefully on this menacing Scottish Santa's lap and try to calm Bean down while smiling intently for the camera.
3. Black Friday shopping. I refuse on principle to take part in any of this Black Friday nonsense. Sales should not be occurring on Thanksgiving night or in the pre-dawn hours of Black Friday. I should not have to come armed with pepper spray to buy a dancing Elmo. I do, however, recall many wonderful Black Fridays spent shopping with my own mom, so with that in mind, I created my own tradition. Every Black Friday, we go for a stroll down Madison Avenue. We don't actually buy anything, but we look at the windows and talk and look at the lights. This year, we ended our walk at Shake Shack. We sat outside in the unseasonably warm weather and dined on Shack burgers and fries. Bean surprised us by devouring a hot dog and part of our burgers. Clearly, she's our kid!
4. Presents. I didn't want to go crazy with getting Bean presents. We are buying her house after all! Online shopping for her doesn't interest me. Call me old-fashioned, but I still genuinely enjoy the experience of going into a toy store and looking around and picking out the perfect toy. As a child, I remember FAO Schwarz being the best store in the world. I insisted on taking Bean there and my loving husband agreed, but I think he secretly thought I was crazy. When we went, it was so completely crazy and packed (I blame overflow from the Apple store) that I simply turned around and went right out. That's not the moment that I want to remember and treasure. The special holiday moment for me is when my husband and I went shopping together at the toy store in his hometown. Watching my husband walk around and pick out toys was priceless. His excitement was palpable and I think if I didn't hold him back, he could have easily spent a mortgage payment in there.
5. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree. I can't believe that I actually suggested to my husband that we skip the tree this year. Thankfully, he disagreed and went to buy a tree in Westchester where the prices are half that of the city. I thought I wanted a Charlie Brown tree: small, but honorable. J saw the small trees, and just thought they looked too sad. We settled on a nice, round juniper just shy of five feet. Of course, it seemed much bigger when we brought it home to decorate it. We skipped anything breakable and just covered the tree with plactic and sturdy ornaments that would survive repeated drops to the ground. Bean hung up ornaments and kept straing at the tree in amazement. She kept petting the tree gently and kissing the varioius bears that clung to the branches. And then, she held the star in her little hands and J helped her place it on top. We listened to carrols and watched Bean dance in front of the treet and then spin around repeatedly, hoping that she wouldn't get dizzy and knock the whole thing over.
That was my list. Will I do everything again the exact same way next year? Probably not. There are things that I can't wait to add to the list like holiday baking and taking Bean to the Nutcracker or to the windows at Sak's. For now, this is my holiday list and it's more than enough to hold me over until next year!