My son’s first meaningful Christmas

Michael Boylan's picture

Christmas is extra special at our house this year.

Not because it is “Baby’s First Christmas,” because our baby could give a toot. It will be nice to have Christmas where Nora is not in utero (especially for my wife, Sabine, who can actually add some fun to her egg nog this year) and Sabine’s folks are coming down to mark the occasion, but, honestly, Nora can’t tell the difference between Christmas and Talk Like a Pirate Day, so why get all excited about Baby’s First Christmas? It was Baby’s First Thanksgiving, too. How did she celebrate? Strained bananas. Not exactly what the pilgrims battled the deadly ocean and harsh winters for, lo those many years ago. We have a present or two ready to go under the tree for her, but when we were looking for ways to tighten the belts and trim the excess of the holidays, the budget for presents for Nora was the first item on the list to go.

I feel like this Christmas is extra special because Colin, our three year old, is really excited about the holiday for the first time and his excitement is infectious.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been drumming it into him pretty good since the beginning of November. Halloween ended and the next day I started pointing out the Christmas decorations in the department stores, quizzing him on who the characters were.

“No, that’s not Rudolph. That’s a donkey that was allegedly near Jesus’ manger when he was born,” I said as Colin looked over a nativity scene. “Does the donkey have a red nose? No? Then he can’t be Rudolph.”

In addition to letting him thumb through the endless catalogs we have received at our house (except for Victoria’s Secret and Brookstone - I don’t want to corrupt him or give him expensive tastes in goods or women) I have also recorded every Christmas special I can find on our DVR. It has been a great bonding experience to watch all the specials that I grew up with together. However, there were some things I found unsettling. For instance, Santa is kind of a jerk in “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” When he finds out that Rudolph has a red nose, he tells Donner, Rudolph’s dad, “Donner, how could you? You ought to be ashamed.” Really? For having a kid that looks a little different and possibly has a genetic defect. Santa’s the one who out to be ashamed. he even blasts the elves when they sing him a song they wrote for him. I realize the guy can be busy and a little preoccupied with the storms threatening the holiday, but I thought he was supposed to be jolly.

I digress. Colin loves all the Christmas specials and there are tons of them. ABC Family is showing several of them a night all month long, so we can forgo watching the same episodes of “Little Einsteins” and Curious George” before bedtime, at least until January. “Garfield’s Christmas” was lame and depressing. There were not enough jokes about lasagna and hating Mondays and too much Grandma talk about missing Grandpa. If Jim Davis is wondering why they show Peanuts every Christmas and not Garfield, he need look no further than Grandma’s depressing monologue. “Shrek the Halls” had some laughs, but I felt it was a little thin. Colin loved it, but he likes all things animated. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the animated version, not the Jim Carrey version, seemed to be his favorite, so far. I forgot how scary the Grinch’s teeth were in that thing though. I brushed extra hard the night we watched that.

Young kids change almost daily, so I shouldn’t be surprised at how much Colin has changed in a year. He has gone from a toddler who could barely unwrap a gift and then focus on what was inside the box to a little boy who was thrilled to get a small, plastic Christmas tree with fiber optic lights for his room. Instead of running from Santa and having to be coerced with candy canes to sit with him, this year Colin willingly goes to and talks with him. This presented a minor problem as Colin asked Santa for a robot. We had already finished shopping for him, so it was back to the store for Sabine and I, searching for a robot that wouldn’t break the bank.

In addition to getting Colin excited about visits from Santa, presents, Christmas trees, bright lights and spending time with Oma and Opa, Sabine and I also want to teach Colin about the spirit of giving. My best friend is back in Iraq for his second tour of duty this Christmas, so we are sending some toys for the local Iraqi kids when we ship his goodie box over. We are also asking Colin to help pack the box and make cards for the soldiers and the kids and also help us pick toys to donate to kids in the area, too.

He may not understand what exactly he is doing and he might want to try and keep the toys for himself, but he will learn. If this past year has taught me anything about my son is that he is a fast learner and very eager to participate in as many holiday activities as he can.

I also wouldn’t put it past him to get the baby excited about Christmas. At the rate he’s going, he’ll probably have her eating cookies shaped like candy canes and drawing snowmen by the end of the week

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