Hap, Happ, Happiest Christmas

Hap, Happ, Happiest

Hap, Happ, Happiest

Seems like most aspects of life move in some sort of cyclical pattern.  For example, we arrive in diapers, and most of us will exit in diapers.

Christmas is no exception.  As a kid, Christmas is a pretty special time.  I’m sure a lot of that has to do with getting “things” we want,  but for the most part, the excitement is just the joy of the experience.  Weeks on end of Christmas specials, holiday cookies, talk of Santa, time off from school, plans to be with family.  It’s a time when the world seems to slow, and kids are at the center of the excitement.

At some point, life grinds you down, and eventually some of the Christmas magic wears off.  Bachelor Dude often questioned the jolly holiday.  A large dose of religious dogma mixed with an extreme helping of consumerism seems like a dangerous recipe.  But kids make those questions seem irrelevant.

Nothing warms the heart of a parent like seeing their children filled with happiness, and Christmas makes that joy burst out of their little bodies.  Parenting is the bridge that brings that Christmas joy back to adults…at least for the Dude it is.

I have to hand it to the Moms of the world though.  I’m going to go out on a limb and stereotype a bit here.  I’m sure there are a lot of Dads who can fill this roll as well, but from the Dude’s experience, Moms hold Christmas together…and they love every second of it.

Mrs. Dude has been planning and budgeting for months, and it still takes a last minute sprint to finish all of the odds and ends.  Odds and ends, mind you, that no Dads the Dude knows could understand and/or execute.

The shopping alone would knock 90% of the Dads out, but then there’s wrapping…oh the wrapping!  It never ends.  But Moms are totally awesome wrappers…as if it’s in their gene’s…the wrapping gene.  Bows, and ribbons, and wrapping paper that fits the person.  Dudes buy one roll, try to wrap the first gift, give up half way through and put all the presents in bags with tissue paper piled on top…done.

But for Moms, it goes way beyond just shopping and wrapping…especially when it comes to the big fat guy in the red suit.  Based on the stories the Lady in the shoe is sharing about my oldest nephew, we are realizing this could be the last year that the Princess whole-heartedly, unquestionably, without a doubt believes in Santa.  The news spreads quickly with those kids at school, and kids aren’t dumb.

Creepy Elf

Creepy Elf

So Mrs. Dude went all out.  We wrote a letter to Santa, The Princess saw Santa at least three times, we got an email video from Santa, we tracked Santa as he flew, we even allowed the creepy Elf on a Shelf to stare creepily at us from random spots in the living room for the last three weeks (I don’t care what anyone says, that Elf is super creepy.).

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells

But the icing on the cake was the Santa display Mrs. Dude crafted on Christmas Eve.  Stockings hung by the chimney with care, a plate of cookies and carrots that the Dude had to eat, and the coup de grace, the fireplace door cracked slightly with a “jingle bell” strategically placed as if Santa dropped it during a quick exit, and glitter on the hearth!  Did you know Santa left a trail of glitter?!  Me neither.  But he does, and it’s awesome.

Santa's Trail O' Glitter

Santa's Trail O' Glitter

And The Princess ate up every bit of it.  She was so happy, and the happiness is so genuine that she makes everyone around her happy.  That’s the power of kids at Christmas, and I’ll trade that happiness for the pragmatic questions any day.

As a result, and despite brief occurrences of the Dude’s bah-humbugness, we had a great Christmas.  We had quality time with our extended family (arguably the true meaning of Christmas), ate great food, relaxed, played with new toys, the Dude was able to get a Christmas Day surf session, and to close out the holiday season, we enjoyed one of the best Christmas traditions of all, an annual viewing of Christmas Vacation.

In the immortal words of Clark W. Griswold, from the Dude Family to your’s, we hope you had “the hap, happ, happiest Christmas…”

PS – I’m sure you will all be excited to know that Santa added a cheetah to Little Dude’s zoo!

Welcome to the Zoo

Welcome to the Zoo

Pixels: You Don’t Scare Me

Santa is a rad dude.  He gives kids great reminders about the meaning of Christmas.  Sure there’s some bribery involved, but the message is clear; be a good person and life will reward you.  Santa also offers kids a great opportunity to enlist their imagination, a tool that improves with practice.

Overall, Santa gets a big Dude thumbs up, but Santa can also be pretty intimidating.  A large dude with a deep voice, giant beard, and bright red outfit.  That’s a lot to take in for little ones.

I can certainly understand some apprehensiveness, but judging by this picture, it’s safe say Little Dude feels pretty comfortable in the giant gift-giver’s paws.

You Don't Scare Me

You Don't Scare Me

* Dude’s Note:  The Daily Pixels have been a bit less than daily, so we’ll switch to “Pixels” until we can live up to the “Daily” moniker.

Santa Has Rules

Rain on the weekend is usually a bummer.  But after a 12 hour shift of manual labor on Saturday, a rainy Sunday is somewhat of a blessing.

I intended to catch-up on some yard work and clean up the work area from Saturday’s project, but just as I started, the rain began to fall.  Being forced inside was a bit frustrating at first, but a relaxing day inside grew on me pretty quickly.

However, for kids, a day inside is the antithesis of relaxing.  I’m not sure if we get lazier as we age, but parents clearly don’t share the same level of energy as kids.  And when they are locked inside with limited options for entertainment the pent up energy begins to build.  By 3PM the built up energy is ready to explode.

Signs of nervous energy begin to grow.  The feet start tapping.  The body starts to move.  Spontaneous dancing.  Lots of spinning in circles.  Attempts are made to turn furniture into trampolines.  Eventually it leads to pestering the parents looking for something to do.

The Princess started her Sunday lock-down with all of the above, which eventually led to following the Dude around the house, primarily hanging off my clothes, but also telling the same jokes over and over.  And I use the word jokes loosely.  It was mainly the Princess hiding where I can see her and then jumping out to scare me.  Clearly we needed some activities.

After listening to “I want that,” following every commercial, it occurred to me to have The Princess create a letter/list for Santa.  Yes, I know it’s only October, and don’t get me started on the concept of  Santa, but from a practical perspective, I see the value in kids using their imagination, this will give her time to think through what she’s asking for, and most importantly, this will easily kill an hour in lock-down.

However, prior to starting this process, the Dude needed to lay down some ground rules.

Dude:  “Santa likes to bring you gifts that help make you a well rounded person.  Like art, music, books, or paints.

The Princess:  “No, he brings toys.”

Dude:  “OK.  He likes to bring toys too.  But he has rules.  1.  Santa needs specifics.  2.  He will not bring the same toys you already have. And 3.  He will not bring multiples of the same toy.”

The Princess:  “Whatever.”

The Dude is easily dismissed, but I’m also the funding behind Santa, so these were necessary rules.

The Princess likes to explain what she wants with vague descriptions like “It’s small, but gets big.  And it’s round.  And you can play with it.”  Any idea what that might be?  I have no clue.  She also likes to ask for the newer versions of toys she already has that are collecting dust in her room.  And lastly, she likes to ask for complete sets of toys.  Like every My Little Pony.  Do you know how many MLP’s there are?  I don’t either, but The Princess does, and she can name each of them.  She wants all of them…even though they all look the same, do the same thing (nothing), and an abundance are collecting dust in her room.

So, Santa needs some rules.

Dear Santa,

I’m The Princess, and I’m super rad!

Hearts & Stars 4-Eva.

The Princess

  1. Unicorn pillow pet
  2. Barbie & the Mermaid Tail movie
  3. I have plenty of lipstick.
  4. Squeekies

It’s a work in progress, but the process was fun, it gave The Princess a reason to concentrate and think, and it burned some time.  All around winner.

The thought process definitely burned a bit of energy, but not nearly enough.  So, after the Santa exercise, we resorted to the simplest form of rainy day entertainment.  Rain boots, raincoat, and some splashing in the rain.

Singing In the Rain

Singing In the Rain