A few months ago I won a "Super Mom" award. I was nominated without my knowledge and could hardly believe there was such a contest and that I had actually won it. It took me by surprise because I'm actually hardly the mother that I wished I was. You know the type... patient and loving despite being awake through the night for one reason or another. One who wakes tired but with a smile and then finally sits down to a cup of tea that a child knocks over and this amazing mother...the one I wish I was, would smile lovingly and says "that's okay. I can make another cup". Maybe this mother wouldn't even make a cup of tea because she would be too busy playing puzzles, and building marble mazes with the children during the day.
That isn't me. In fact most of my mothering time is spent setting up activities for the children to do without me! But, once a year, with the help of Christmas spirit, I find myself transforming into the mother I wish I always was. This is a Christmas miracle in itself. I always tell the kids the greatest gift is time together so we don’t give any of them presents on Christmas and birthdays. We give the gift of our presence.
This mummy transformation is likely related to one of our family Christmas traditions. One that morphed into being part of our lives completely by accident and as a direct result of my thrifty nature.
We begin our Christmas tradition by making our own Christmas tree. Sometimes we collect, dry and mount leaves to a cardboard backing then spray them with gold.
This year we cut out cardboard in the shape of our tree, painted it and strung buttons glued on old shoe strings across for tinsel. At first we began this as a result of not having space for a formal tree and now we love the crafting journey and creativity as well as the instant clean up at the end of the year when we get to throw it away. Okay, maybe that’s the part I love the most.
This year we even went so far as to build our own nativity scene out of acrons we collected, roasted (to kill any larva inside) and painted this year! I only glued my fingers together 7265268383773 times.
But the best part is what happens afterwards. You may have heard of the Elf on The Shelf that many families participate in... well, in our house, for the sake of not having to buy an over priced figurine to use 1/12th of a year, we nominate a doll to take the place and that doll does naughty things. Lovingly called “Naughty Baby”, the adventures are endless and epic and more and more elaborate as the kids get older.
Most of the items were things I had collected over the year from various facebook free-cycle pages or been gifted by friends. Even our walking and talking Baby Alive- (Naughty Baby), had been gifted to us over a year ago and is still a daily favourite. From over 100 little dinky cars to the hammock stand, to all the stuffed animals and vet station, I think the only thing I actually paid money for that we didn’t already have in the house was the three matching “I Love Naughty Baby“ T-shirts.
The level of coordination it takes to organize this is equivalent to making a Christmas dinner buffet by myself every night for 23 days 🤣🤣! We cut the shenanigans short just in time for my daughter’s birthday on the 24th and I take the last week to recover! The kids tsk about and look forward to Naughty baby returning the whole year through. As much as I sometimes want to throw in the towel in this exhausting tradition, I have to say it’s growing on me. And I love that they have something unique to look forward to at the end of each year.
As a new year begins, I’m challenging myself to be the mother I wish I was more often then just the 23 days in December. Perhaps we will start a new tradition of “Mummy Mondays”... where Mummy and the kids play and craft together on Monday each week. Yes, I like the sound of that.... so long as no one knocks over my tea!
Tell me about your childhood traditions in the comments below.