Come and trim the Christmas tree with some decorations (not) bought at Tiffany’s

I am feeling SO FESTIVE right now, and not just because this was the lovely wintry scene when I walked the dog the other day:

Look at his adorable snowy face!  As I mentioned before, December is one of my favourite months even though when I hugged Jake today he complained of my icy cold corpse hands.  We always have a number of Advent calendars in the house: one in the shape of a strange-looking Santa that hangs on the broom closet door,

one of the Star Wars Lego variety stacked in front of two of the Lindor variety,

two of those kind-of-cheap chocolate ones where the chocolates always fall out of their spots, only to be found at a later date, much to the frustration of the young people in this house, who had been looking forward to their tiny crappy chocolate oh why oh why is it not there???
We also have a wooden refillable one that I have been filling with little notes about a festive activity that will occur on that particular day. 
I did this last year, after being inspired by my friend Lynn, who has way better ideas than I do.  The kids told me how much they were looking forward to it when we unpacked this calendar, and so although I thought they wouldn’t be interested, I am now writing little notes to be opened on that particular day.  And again I reiterate: I have very few festive ideas.  My ideas are generally things that we would do anyway, like sledding after school, or totally self-serving things, like getting the kids to watch Charlie Brown Christmas with me.  In fact, that is today’s activity and there was some considerable disappointment when it was opened.  “I like that show?  But I really wanted to go sledding.” Jake said.  Dear reader, I would like to point out that we went sledding after school yesterday and the day before, and we sled pretty much any day that there is snow on the ground and it’s not absolutely frigid outside.  This is why I have a minivan: to keep the sleds in on a permanent basis in the wintertime.  I reminded Jake that we could still go sledding, but we could also watch the Christmas special, and although there was some existential doubt – if it’s not in the Advent calendar, will it really happen – he seemed fairly satisfied.
The activity that was under door number 1 – December 1st! – was included only after the day’s activity had been actually accomplished: decorating the house and trimming the tree.  Come and trim my Christmas tree…with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s…
Okay, so not really Tiffany’s, but we had so much fun decorating the tree this year.  Often, these kind of activities with small children seem like they should be more fun but aren’t, what with the saving the ornaments from being destroyed and the wait until the lights are up before putting them on the tree and OMG dealing with totally impatient children who keep dropping all the little hooks on the floor only to be lodged in the sole of one’s foot.  The kids are now old enough to be trusted to set up the non-tree decorations in a semi-orderly and non-destructive fashion while my husband puts the tree together painstakingly, and with much perfectionism, winding the strings of lights on it, with me as his unenthusiastic and bored helper.  The little lights are not twinkling.  In any case, the process this year was a great deal of fun for everyone
except for the dog.
Poor Barkley!  It’s tough to be living in a world where you don’t speak the language, and just when you think you understand the customs of said world, things change.  Barkley deals with change not well.  THERE IS A TREE IN THE HOUSE WHAT DOES THIS MEAN.  WHY IS IT SPARKLY.  As well as being not well adapted for changing situations, Barkley also has zero sense of personal space, and so as we decorated the house he stood millimetres from my feet, a total tripping hazard, often with his nose pressed softly but yet so obtrusively on my leg.  Occasionally he would flop down on the floor, looking at us sadly, as if the tree and decorations were a horrible pox brought on the house.  I tried to get a nice picture with him
but he would not have it.  He would not have that shit.  He refused to do anything but look at the tree with sadness and the feeling that only he understood what this means, a tree in the house, plus fake snowmen, indicate that the world is ending.  Just like the Mayans said. 


  1. We adopted our current dog several years ago in August. She was a roughly treated stray before we got her and so was slow to trust that she would finally have enough food, enough shelter, enough love, and no need to be afraid. So when Christmas rolled around and we brought a tree IN THE HOUSE she like what the everloving hell is this now?? Poor dogs. Holidays can be confusing times. She somehow managed to recover once it became apparent that Christmas season also meant lots of tasty food that our (then) baby would drop on the ground…

  2. I really like your wooden advent calendar that you put little notes in! You could also put a non-crappy chocolate in them which then wouldn’t get lost. By the way you are a stellar Mom for keeping the sleds in van at all times. I think my kids would be all over that idea!

  3. We put our tree up this year too and I was amazed when I did not have to re-decorate it after they went to bed… the boys did a splendid job, actually. It’s beautiful.

    I am jealous of your snow. I mean, it can all melt on January 2nd and NEVER COME BACK, but it was 10 degrees today and pouring down rain. It’s hard to feel festive when everything is greeny-brown.

  4. Wow. I have one reusable Advent calendar with felt pieces. LAME.

  5. I have sledding envy. Say what you will about Calgary winters, but at least there’s plenty of sledding. We’ll likely get in maybe two or three sledding sessions in February, but it’s rare that I can put it on the advent calendar and actually see it happen.

    I know, I know, wah wah wah, I live in a balmy warm city :). Suck it up!

  6. Poor Barkley – he cracks me up

  7. Poor Barkley. Such a tragic life. 🙂

  8. I love Barkley!

  9. Brr. We might get snow Monday. We also do advent calenders.

  10. Why did no one tell me Lindor made Advent calendars?!? I WANT! NOW!


  1. […] is always fun and exciting. I was thinking about Advent calendars, thanks to my friend Lynn, who last year inspired me to make a “holiday activity” Advent calendar. Here’s the thing, though: I am not gifted at coming up with holiday activity ideas. […]

Leave a Reply