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Catching up

January 8, 2009 - Betsy Bethel
Let me say — belatedly because of some vacation time — that Christmas with a 2 1/2 year old truly is magical. This year is the first time she experienced the anticipation, the surprise, the wonder of it all.

Emma was enthralled by the carols at the Christmas eve service (much less so with the pastor's message, as we ended up playing in the coat room during most of it). She also felt very grown up when she was allowed to hold a lit candle as we sang "Silent Night" at the end of the service. (Meanwhile, Dad had to fend off a heart attack for fear she was going to set the place on fire.)

Later that night, we tucked in Emma and assured her that Santa was going to stay downstairs and not come into her room during the night (the things you never think about as an adult! That's a whole other blog.)

Then, just like my parents did when I was little, we placed Santa's gifts around the Christmas tree unwrapped and assembled. He brought three gifts, just like Baby Jesus received three gifts from the Magi.

Rather than gold, perfume and incense, Emma received a dollhouse, a baby doll and a build-your-own monster puppet. (These were more appropriate for a mortal toddler, we thought. I can just see her "vrooming" a bar of gold around the kitchen floor.)

As she walked into the living room on Christmas morning, I think we were more excited than Emma at first! She stopped a few feet shy of the couch, where the presents were displayed. As it all registered, her jaw dropped, her eyes widened and she dramatically let the stuffed animal and baby doll she clutched in each hand fall to the carpet before rushing forward to check out her loot.

Santa also filled a stocking with things like candy, a toy microphone, a jump rope and fruity lip balm.

But topping everything else, he brought Emma what she truly wanted. On the mantle by the empty cookie plate, he left a snow globe. Yes, a snow globe.

If anyone asked Emma before Christmas what Santa was going to bring her, her consistent answer was "a snow globe." I think she got this notion from a book her Granny Jan gave her in November about a snowman who makes friends with a boy and girl. When they have to take him to colder climes so he won't melt, he magically presents them with a snow globe by which to remember him.

The globe is big and heavy, made of glass and resin. Inside it are a Christmas tree, a Santa, a reindeer and pretty wrapped gifts. A music box plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." By the way, it's not one of those pricey Hallmark globes that got recalled for starting fires (how weird was THAT?), but it does have its dangers. I cringed every time Emma cradled it in her arms and carried it from room to room on Christmas day. A week or so before Christmas she accidentally smashed a tiny 99-cent snow globe, littering the floor with a myriad of glass slivers and glitter.

After a couple of close calls with the big globe, we've decided the best place for this sucker is right on the mantle where Santa left it.

Christmas is still "up" at our house, mainly because we haven't had time to take it down. But, we don't really mind (other than the fact that there are more needles on the carpet than on the tree). Emma is still talking about Rudolph, who has become the star of the season for her. I bought her a Rudolph figurine yesterday on clearance, and his nose lights up when you press down on his tail. The moment she got it, she seemed more thrilled than with anything that was under the tree two weeks ago!

We aren't in any hurry to put away the decorations, and neither, I have noticed, are many or our neighbors in Martins Ferry. There's something about twinkle lights and green garland that make the gray January days so much merrier!

I also wish the nativity scenes could stay up year-round. I will never get tired of hearing my daughter's sweet little voice from the back seat as we drive down Zane Highway: "Look, it's Baby Jesus!"


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