Wednesday, December 15, 2010

White, Fluffy, Bearded Lies

This blog might be all over the place because I am not doing it while the kids are napping.  That means Eden is on the couch talking about whatever crosses her mind, because she MUST be talking CONSTANTLY.  This girl does not stop.  She's complaining of a tummy ache, but she's not resting or anything like that.  NOooooo.  Play through it and talk through it.  That's her motto.
I am trying to keep Arielle from being bitten because she is pretending to feed Dolce something imaginary from her little chubby fingers and Dolce doesn't like my children.  And, of course, by the time I've written a few more sentences, that all will have changed and they'll be doing something else completely.

Onward.  A friend of mine asked me a couple weeks back what my views on Santa were.  I told her the short version because there were babies fussing and toddlers waiting for a moment of Mommy distraction to take advantage of.  Since then the deliberate decisions we as a family make about this holiday have continued to be brought to my attention.

First, let me give you some background on how I was raised.  My parents treated Santa almost like the plague, along with Mary Poppins and the Smurfs.  I'm sure I was aware of him, but we never did pictures with Santa (that's right, there's not a single picture of me crying in Mall Santa's lap in my baby albums).  We didn't read books about him.  My dad might have done some readings of The Night Before Christmas when I got older for the sake of good literature and classic poetry (loves of his), but that was the exception. We had no likenesses of Santa in our home except a small figurine of him kneeling at the manger.  I don't remember what I thought about other kids and their views of Santa.  I don't remember feeling the need to correct them, although that would have been JUST like me to do so.  I don't remember ever wanting to join the long line of fussy children to sit on Santa's lap.  I don't remember feeling left out because I wasn't writing letters to the North Pole.

Fast forward to today.  I have two little girls and this is the first Christmas where I'm really having to live out the path I assumed I would take regarding Santa and his hold on this holiday.

In short, I have made a promise to my children never to deceive them.  And yes, I have thought about all that that entails.  I do my very best to stay truthful about everything.  That means if Eden wants another cookie and I don't want her to have one, I don't look in the box and say "uh oh, they're all gone."  I say, "no ma'am, you don't need another cookie."  I can't think of any other good examples of the white lies that we parents tend to use on a daily basis, but you get the idea.  I try to eliminate them.  I want my child to have a commitment to the truth so that I can trust her when I ask her a question.  I tell her the Upshaws are truth-tellers so that she can have a family identity that includes integrity.

Ok, this is getting long.  I knew it would.  I'm pretty sure you can extrapolate from here how we treat Santa.  We've come to a happy medium between my upbringing and my husband's (a more typical, Santa inclusive one).  I don't treat Santa like the plague, but I try to make sure he is not the reason for the season or even the slightest majority of its focus and, as you've guessed, I will never tell my children he is real or brings us presents or is omniscient and knows what every child is doing all the time. 
Ok, bunny trail... can I just rant for a moment about how Santa is very God-like.  He is loving, he knows what you're doing all the time, he can be everywhere at once (pretty much, since there's no scientific way to deliver toys to every kid in the world in one night), children essentially pray to him about bringing them what they want and I'm sure there's more.  That all bugs me.
Back to our family... 
We do have a picture of the kids on Santa's lap from this year, but we didn't wait in a long line or pay for it.  I'm not going to dedicate to much effort to that.  And there will not be a page in the album (wait, what album?) every year dedicated to that picture.
We have been watching Wonder Pets save the Baby Reindeer every day by request and we have been reading a book called "I'm Not Santa!" (in which the "real" Santa shows up at the end) every night by request, but yesterday, I did start to see the need for some major balancing with some baby Jesus stories.  Especially after Eden said "Santa loves me.  He wants to come into my heart!"  Woops.

Alright, we need to go to the grocery store.  My friend Misty was brave enough to state her views on her blog without apology, so I got the courage to do the same.  Love me or hate me for it, that's where I stand.
Don't hate me though, because Santa will know and you will get coal in your stocking.  :D

I know it's backwards.  I know I'm lame for taking a picture with my computer because I didn't want to upload a picture from a real camera.  But there he is, the same figurine my parents had, now displayed in our home.
And, of course, Eden just saw it and said, "Is it Santa Claus?"  Don't ask about baby Jesus, nooooo.  That seals the deal.  More Jesus needed in this house.
Ok, really leaving now...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


At Fat Free Vegan's blog there is a yummy sounding wassail recipe that I thought I'd share with all of you. I have not tried it, but all the ingredients leave me with no doubt that it would be the perfect toungue-pleasing, inside-warming drink for the cold days ahead.
I copied from there and pasted here just to make it that much easier for you.  :)

New World Wassail

1.5 quarts apple cider or apple juice
1 quart natural cranberry blend drink (no sugar added)
4 sticks cinnamon stick
8 cloves
10 allspice berries
1 quarter-sized slice ginger
1 orange, sliced
1/4 cup cranberries (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup brandy (optional)
Place all ingredients except the brandy in a large, non-reactive pot or crockpot and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Simmer for at least 2 hours (may be kept in a crock pot for 4 hours). About 15 minutes before serving, add the brandy and continue to simmer on low.
Strain out the spices and fruit and serve with cinnamon sticks and fresh slices of orange.
Servings: 10
Yield: 2.5 quarts