Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Countdown Begins

The Christmas countdown has officially hit our little village of Solvang. "Winterfest" began on Friday night with the Christmas tree lighting in Solvang Park. Brett was out of town at a conference so I didn't feel like hoofing it over there on my own. But on Saturday morning, Ella and I headed to the yearly Solvang Christmas Parade. It was actually quite a chilly day (by California standards) and we bundled up for our walk downtown to watch the festivities. For Ella, the best part of parades is of course all the candy that they throw our way. Fortunately, the Boy Scouts tossed some Tootsie Pops early on and Ella enjoyed one for the duration of the parade. She had great fun waving at all the parade participants and saying "Merry Christmas!" I think the parade has gotten her in the holiday spirit, and she is anxious to decorate our house for Christmas.

After the parade, I was determined to make a special holiday decoration for Ella during naptime and told her of my intentions. She readily went down for naptime and I got to work. When I was a child, I always looked forward to December 1st because it meant that the Advent Candy Calendars were hung up. They were long strips of felt with 25 bows of yarn with each bow holding a piece of candy. We got to eat a piece of candy each day leading up to Christmas -- a very special treat at our house! At the top of each felt strip was a holiday decoration. I think mine was a felt angel. So, since it was December 1st, I decided to try to create one for Ella. Here's a quick outline of what I did:

  1. Cut a long strip of felt about 4 inches wide.

  2. Hole punched 25 spots for the bows from each sided of the strip -- each was spaced about 1 inch apart.

  3. Cut yarn into 12-inch lengths & threaded through the two holes for each bow. Tied in a double knot.

  4. Hot-glued some gold string to the top to hang the calendar on the wall.

  5. Hot-glued gold/burgandy ribbon AND a nativity graphic with Ella's name that I printed on "canvas" ink jet paper onto the calendar.

  6. Tied candy onto calendar. (Cheapskate that I am, I used the candy that we got at the parade! Unfortunately, we didn't have enough so I'll need to run out and buy some more to complete the calendar.)

Just as I was finishing up, Brett arrived home earlier than expected from his conference. Soon after, Ella woke up and immediately asked what I made for her. I showed it to her and let her take the first piece of candy from the bottom. I think she will enjoy this and it will give her a visual of how long it is to Christmas and the birth of our baby!

Last night the festivities continued and we all headed to Los Olivos for the "tree" lighting ceremony. Technically, it's a tree of lights attached to the flagpole in the middle of the road -- it's kinda funny actually. But, it is a nice community event. Lots of art galleries and stores give out free goodies, local school bands play carols, and Santa & Mrs. Claus are around to visit with the kiddies. Ella wasn't afraid of Santa, but she didn't want to get out of her stroller either. He was very kind and gave her a little toy and a candy cane. Later she said, "Ohhhh, Santa is so nice. He gave me a candy cane!"

Later this week, we will probably head out to get our tree and start decorating the house. For the first time, we have a child in the home who is old enough to start to understand the meaning of Christmas and to enjoy celebrating it. I'm really looking forward to the next month and making some special memories with Ella before the next little one arrives. I probably won't be organized enough to do something every day of the month but I hope we can decorate the tree, bake & paint Christmas cookies and do some Christmas crafts together.

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