a little in class holiday cheer

December 23, 2011 |  Category:   holidays life

Claudine’s kindergarten class had the sweetest holiday party at school this week. The class parents decorated the room and set out a packet of confetti for each child to throw up in the air when we all counted down from 10 to yell “Happy New Year!” (ok, Miss C elected to just dump hers from the bag onto the floor in a most uncelebratory way).

A Christmas cracker filled with homemade silly putty, an organic lollipop (haaa, this is Park Slope, Brooklyn after all), and a tiny origami crane was set at each desk, and we made an edible craft project with bananas and tiny chocolate chips.

The kids made the parents Christmas cards (I’m the one in the yellow dress reaching up to the light switch to turn the tree lights on!) and bookmarks.

I am so thrilled at how well Claudine has adjusted to Kindergarten and so happy with her class and 2 teachers, but now that I realize Christmas vacation is a mere few hours away, the school year is nearly half over? How can that be?

I spent a few hours yesterday picking up last minute gifts and wrapping them all. I picked up the girls and we took a bus over to the Flea to visit Mark on the last day since the girls hadn’t seen him at all the last 2 days. Mia kept saying that she was so excited that Christmas was a few days away. I asked her what she was excited for and of course she blurted out “presents!”. It made me think about what Christmas means, what we’re doing for the kids. I’m not going to lie. I’m one of those people who get a bit melancholy over the holidays. I guess there have been enough unhappy and strange Christmases in my childhood that it sort of fills me with some level of anxiety and dread. But I do remember that sheer excitement as a kid, and getting together with our whole extended family on Christmas Eve for a party with all my cousins is what defined my childhood holiday memories.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make the holidays special for the girls. It used to be that Mark would work every Christmas when he was still a Pastry Chef. It made Christmas rather depressing, actually, to be alone with 2 babies on that day. Now that we have the business, it’s all craziness up until Christmas Eve. There isn’t a big family gathering. Christmas is often quiet. We’re still trying to figure out our own traditions, the ones that define the holidays when the girls look back on their childhoods.

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  • Procrastamom December 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Jenna. Thanks for sharing your family and business with us — I’m so grateful I found your blog this year.


  • Carol December 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I just love that picture of C whispering in your ear. Her little clenched fist, her starry eye, that big elf ear sticking out! My “little” girls are 19 and 22 now. I loved it when they came home from school with all their Christmas artwork to decorate the house. We still use many of those things. It will probably surprise you the things they will remember about Christmas. My kids have memories that I had totally forgotten. You really don’t have to do anything special – they are in their own world and it’s a great one.
    I hope you know you add some laughter and happiness to many lives out there. We truly are all connected.
    Merry Christmas Jenna!

  • Atsuko December 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Lovely mother and daughter picture. Claudine is very great at drawing. I am impressed. Thank you for sharing the pictures. I hope you can have very warm family Christmas.

  • Sarah December 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Happiest of holidays Jenna… To you and your entire family! Thanks for always sharing such beautiful, fun, and often thought provoking stories with all of us. Your blog truly is one of the highlights of my day. Wishing you a very lovely and spectacular 2012!
    Sarah 🙂

  • Heather M December 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    You always write the most thoughtful posts, I really appreciate them. I was looking at the photos of the classroom, how bright and creative and festive it looks and thinking I should do some kindergarten decorations in my own faux-grown-up home. Figuring out the right traditions is such a struggle, but I bet part of what the girls love about presents is all being there together to open things.

  • gizella December 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    you work so hard! Our tradition is to go to a museum in the morning…and then have our buddies over for drinks and desserts in the pm (my husband is jewish and often cranky on the actual xmas day)..you’ll find your tradition!

  • Sally B December 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!
    Thanks for blogging.
    Sally B

  • Uncle Beefy December 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    As always, a lovely and thoughtful post, Jenna. Just wanted to say, “Happy Holidays!” to you, Mark, and the girls.

    Christmas is pretty uneventful these days and I hear you on feelings of melancholy. Holidays have been difficult in my own family with thoughts of past sad events and whatnot. But, something in me has always held on to the joy I felt as a child thanks much in part to my mom. She made the holidays magical for us as small children even if that has now faded.

    Before she would tuck us into bed, she’d look out the window with my sister and I and ask us if we thought we saw Santa’s sleigh with each passing airplane blinking overhead. I love thinking about that memory. And, she’d always put an orange in our stockings that, while I could care less about as an object (um, hello, candy!), it was always reassuring to see it in there each year.

    Anyway, sorry for being wordy. As Gizella said, you’ll find your traditions and you may even be amazed at what the girls remember that you’re already doing now. I’ve no doubt they’ll have plenty of treasured memories given the wondrous parents they have.

    Take good care of yourselves and thanks for being a part of my world. Happiest wishes to you all!

  • RebeccaNYC December 24, 2011 at 12:12 am

    It is reassuring to know that others get blue around the holidays. All the pressure to get “just the right gift”, make “just the right memory” have every day be a Hallmark commercial. I am much happier now that I have given up on even trying to achieve that. I try to enjoy as much as I can, and not sweat it. You will be surprised, I think, when the girls are older, what they love about what you are already doing!

    Happiest of New Years to you. Thank you for the great gift to us of this blog. You are a real gift, just as you are right this very moment.

  • Helle (Helen) December 24, 2011 at 4:12 am

    So you’re not the only one feeling a bit blue : – ) – when I was a kid, if you’d asked me, I’d have said “the presents” but now I think back on evenings with family, grandparents, cousins, good food, playing games, singing and dancing around the Xmas tree (it’s what we do in Denmark) – these days, well it’s different. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and I am sure the girls will love your time together, the presents etc.

  • Selkie December 24, 2011 at 8:25 am

    My eldest son (newly engaged and pregnant, off in India traveling) is telling me that his memories and biggest nostalgia is the smells: fresh evergreens, that special “only at Christmas” orange shortbread baking…
    You never know what will be the important memories.
    Thanks for being you, and sharing so eloquently and honestly!

  • Jhope December 24, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Always love C’s drawing style, and the photo of you two is beautiful. Happy Holidays, Jenna. In a similar sitch, searching for some fun traditions for our girl. But Xmas will be super quiet, just us 3. (and I’m Jewish). Thinking that Xmas eve pizza making and kitchen dance party, xmas visit the ocean and holiday movies on the couch? We’re puzzled on how to do this holiday, when neither of us are that into it, but don’t want to be lame.

  • Laura December 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    This year was the first since I had kids that I struggled to get through the Christmas season. I just was not into it. I cannot figure out why but it just was. So i can totally relate to you. I too wonder what kind of memories the kids will have of their holidays. We have no close family nearby so it is just us and it makes me sad because I grew up with memories of going to my aunts and grandparents and my children wont have that. So we too are still trying to figure out our own traditions that are kids will look back on with happiness.

  • priscilla December 25, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Dear Jenna
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

  • Dominika December 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Dear Jenna,

    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best to you and your lovely family.


  • Kirstin December 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    How sweet! Her drawing is quite sophisticated for a kindergartner. I just finished my student teaching for art education and let me tell you, a lot of students her age don’t have such fine motor skills. Bravo Miss. C!

  • busma December 28, 2011 at 3:40 am

    I like the banana man ^_^