When Kids Stop Believing in Santa

How can you tell if your child has stopped believing in Santa? Sometimes, it becomes obvious. Your kid suddenly declares that Santa isn’t real (and appears to be comfortable with that knowledge). Most of the time though, kids come to parents with questions about Santa. Your child is not sure what to believe, and is trying to figure things out based on whatever evidence he or she can find. What’s a parent to do? One way to handle it is to ask your child a question. “What do you think?” This gives your kid the opportunity to direct the conversation … Continue reading

Bonding With the In-Laws: The Youngest Sibling

One of the weirdest things about marrying into a large family was that I’ve been around for almost the entire life of my littlest brother-in-law.  When Jon and I first started dating, and I met the family for the first time, his youngest brother was only a bit over a year old.  While he knows most of Jon’s other siblings very well, because they all lived at home with him for years (and some still do), Jon wasn’t around much when he was growing up.  So Jon, his own brother, isn’t really that much more of a presence in his … Continue reading

A Very Toddler Holiday

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but parents of toddlers know that even with all of the smiles, there are likely to be a few tears, tantrums, and other trouble spots. That is okay. At times like these, it is important to remember that the things that your toddler is likely to remember the most are the good times and not the bad. I wish that I was able to offer some magic formula for holiday success. You know, the kind of thing where if you do a certain thing, the kids will enjoy every moment of … Continue reading

Bringing in the New

Every Christmas Day, I clean my house. From its consistency in my life over the past twenty years, you might think that this is a sort of profound ritual. It is not. Rather, it is the motion of a guilty conscience. You see, we have so much. We probably have too much. Even though we’ve cut down a lot on the gifts that we give and receive, it still feels like a lot to incorporate the new into our lives. It’s also a New Year’s ritual of sorts: evaluating the old in our lives and bringing in a little bit … Continue reading

Making Room for New Toys

With the abundance of Christmas presents Logan gets from friends and family each and every year, I find myself wondering where in the world we are going to put everything. We’ve already got so much squished into our little basement bedroom that I’m not sure much else will fit. Luckily, this gives us a fabulous excuse to do some spring cleaning. That means Logan and I will be going through all of his toy boxes and setting aside the toys he doesn’t play with anymore to make room for the new ones. He has several toy boxes and has been … Continue reading

Gifts for the Other Parent

Christmas time is all about the gift of giving, but when it comes to presents for the ex, things get a little tricky. It has always been important to me for Logan to have the opportunity to give his dad something for Christmas, birthdays, and other such holidays. The first year his dad seemed to feel the same way. Though neither of us had much money, we both made an effort to take Logan to pick something out for the other. It meant a lot to Logan to be able to give us something, since he couldn’t do much on … Continue reading

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty

  If your children asked for, but didn’t receive the puppy or kitten they placed on their wish list to Santa, this book might work as a consolation present. Maybe. Sure, Charlie and the Christmas Kitty may be a far cry from an adorable tail-wagging, face-licking bundle of fluff that would follow your child around the house and potentially run for help should he fall down a well, but, hey, Santa’s not perfect. Still, you can’t deny the cuteness contained in this festive holiday read, even though the story’s clueless main character doesn’t realize it’s Christmas: “Why is there a … Continue reading

Red, White and Ready for Santa

The countdown to Santa’s visit is officially on in my home.  My 8-year-old has already plumped up the pillows on the recliner, so St. Nick will have a comfy spot to sit before he unloads his sack and piles her gifts under the tree.  My daughter also penned a short note to Mr. Claus welcoming him to our home and inviting him to nosh on the cupcakes she is leaving out for him. Yes, cupcakes. This year we are deviating from the traditional sugar cookies because my child has deduced that it would be barbaric for Santa to chomp on … Continue reading

Christmas Unplugged

Forget about dreaming of a white Christmas this year, most parents I know are hoping for an unplugged version of the holiday; a Christmas void of blaring televisions, raucous radios and vociferous video games. How likely are you to enjoy a genuine silent night this Christmas? If you want to know how to make your dream a reality, take some advice from the Bear family. In The Berenstain Bears’ Old-Fashioned Christmas, Brother, Sister and Baby Honey Bear get a taste of what the holiday was like pre-TV, when they travel to Grizzly Gramps and Gran’s house. After rolling up in … Continue reading

Doing the Christmas Wrap

Yesterday was wrapping day. We don’t give huge gifts, and we’re not getting anything that wriggles. Nonetheless, it was a bit of a project. If you’re into recycling and reusing like I am, Christmas wrapping is a mental stretch. I have a couple of rolls of old wrapping paper in my basement, and I do use them occasionally. However, the fact that they’ve lived with me since we arrived in our house over seven years ago tells me that I don’t tend to use a lot of wrapping paper. What do we do instead? Chocolate boxes, cookie containers, and old … Continue reading