Christmas is a difficult time with toddlers. Conceptually, it is a difficult time for the best of adults. But trying to tie Santa Claus, a pine tree, snowmen, presents, candy and cakes and the Jesus story into one tidy little story is nearly impossible. We have told Helen that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. She gets birthdays. She wants to make Jesus a cake. And she gets presents. She is perfectly happy to get some more. Why SHE gets presents on JESUS' birthday? Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there.
In the meantime, we are doing the advent calendar. Helen calls it the Jesus Book. Actually, every night before bed, she asks to "eat the Jesus book." And last night while reviewing the information we have learned about the story of baby Jesus, Luke asked Helen, "And what was Jesus' mommy's name?" And after thinking very hard about this, Helen answers, "Chocolate." So I can't say we are making very much progress.
Helen is also scared of Santa right now. A big thanks to the people at our mall for hiring a really creepy looking guy to be Santa. So there was a lot of crying and screaming and "NO, NO, NO!!!" going. When we got home and tried to talk about it, she told us that there would be "No cookies for Santa, I don't like him." And Santa could not come down our chimney because he is "scaaaarrrry." I am over-compensating now by letting her watch the Polar Express about 3 times a day. It is changing her mind about Santa. Animated Santa with his kind, Tom Hanks voice is not nearly so bad as creepy mall Santa.
Philip on the other hand is just content right now to pull ornaments off the tree and hurl them at the cats. He also likes to take bows off the Christmas presents, stick them on his head and say "Hat!" Then he laughs a lot. He has an appreciation for the simpler things in life. But he has learned to say Jesus and when we look at the Advent calendar before bed, he shrieks "JEEEEZ!!" and claps his hands. Then he opens his mouth like a baby bird and waits for me to stick chocolate in there.
At any rate, my kids sure do like Jesus. He is about chocolate and presents and singing and joy. And that is mostly correct, even if the three wise men forgot to include chocolate for the baby Jesus. The joy and singing and a really great present part they are getting right. I'll just wait a couple of years before really telling them that the greatest present ever doesn't have a picture of Dora on it.