This blog post was originally published on the Chicago Parent website where I am a regular contributor
Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year.
But sometimes in the quest to make Christmas special and well, Christmasy, we tend to overdo.
So I decided to make a simple list of things I wanted us to do as a family this holiday season!
Our family time is very important since the hubs works every Saturday so this year, I decided that in the month of December each Sunday will be spent doing something outside of the box as it pertains to all things Christmas and Cheer.
Here is my December bucket list which almost became a December bucket lost thanks to auto correct.
But I am totally using that name now.
1) visit a reindeer farm.
OK this might seem silly to you but I didn't realize there were reindeer farms until like, last year.
I actually thought reindeer lived way up north.
In a place, tell me if you've heard of it, called the North Pole?
But apparently Illinois is a hot bed of any and all things reindeer.
I am sure they are in other states too but just go along with this for fun.
There are two reindeer farms within a two hours radius of here that I found online and there is one that isn't public but I heard about via the grapevine from Illinois friends on Facebook that you can get into with a secret handshake.
REINDEER ARE HUGE IN ILLINOIS.
I thought it might be fun to take the kids and let them see real reindeer.
Now I know how this will go over with the 13 year old....."are you kidding me?" but the five year old will love this.
And if I had known about the whole reindeer/Illinois contingent when the 13 year old was 5, I would have totally done it then.
Instead of taking her to the mall Santa who was half in the bag and smelled like Hai Karate.
2) go into the city. As in Chicago.
When you live in the suburbs or areas around Chicago, you only have to say, "I am going to the city" and everyone knows what you are talking about.
It is the largest city around these parts and my favorite time to be downtown is Christmastime.
We have several places we like to take the kids:
- Marshall Fields (aka Macy's) on State Street. I don't do well with change.
- Michigan Avenue to see the lights on the trees.
- Garret's Popcorn. Because, popcorn.
- John Hancock building (not the Sears Tower....again, don't do well with change) because we have history with this building. The hubs told me he loved me at the top of this building AT Christmastime no less....talk about raising the bar. We like to go to the observation deck with the kids and re-enact that fateful night 11 years ago. To the HORROR of our children. So much fun!
- Lunch or dinner at Pizano's which we have never done. Every single year we head to the city for a Christmas visit, we always, ALWAYS say, "lets eat at Pizano's!" but then we always, ALWAYS end up eating at the McDonald's under the El on Wabash. THIS YEAR IT WILL HAPPEN. Or I will throw a huge hissy fit in the lobby of the McDonald's on Wabash under the El. Which might be fun too.
3) Cut down our own tree.
Or probably not.
I hear these people talk about how they get into their family truckster, wearing their down vests and flannel, drinking their Starbucks and head into the "country" (aka the northern suburbs) to find a tree. And maybe hit a reindeer farm on their way back home.
And it sounds so magical!
I want the flannel shirt!
I want the Starbucks!
I want the real tree!!!
But inevitably, this is how it would roll in our household:
- the five year old decides this is the morning she wants to stop wearing pants.
- the 13 year old decides that she isn't going to wear a coat. Because no one else in her class does. And she knows the exact temperature at the tree farm and it won't be cold enough to foresee wearing a coat.
- the hubs needs to stop at McDonald's because he needs a coke. To get through the drive to Rockford to cut down a tree and see these " "deer" that we can see in our backyard".
- while in the drive thru, the five year old decides she needs a hash brown. And a chocolate milk.
- then the 13 year old decides that she wants a breakfast sammie. And cinnamon rolls.
- which are all banned from eating in the car but the McDonald's closest to our home has a play land and we all know how "we" feel about play lands.
-Within 30 minutes, we are nowhere near the tree/reindeer farm and the backseat starts to smell like a mixture of fast food, farts and socks. If frustration had a smell, this would be it.
- After 45 minutes, the five year old has to puke. The 13 year old has to pee. And my hubs is upset because we are spending his day off looking for "deer that don't exist".
- Meanwhile, when we get to our destination, the 13 year old is "freeeezing, MOMM" because she doesn't have a coat AND since she spilled her OJ all over her sweatshirt, she is wearing a tank top. With a hole in it. In December.
- The five year old ate her entire meal off of her outfit so of course she is completely naked under her winter jacket.
- I don't have any flannel so I am wearing my "mom uniform" of too tight jeans with the first button undone so I can breath and my ten year old winter jacket because we never go to Christmas tree/reindeer farms to begin with.
So in order to get that "pine tree scent" this year, I have a feeling I might just be hitting up Yankee Candle and buying a pine scented car jar instead of a real tree.
Gotta run and make cookies with my two fighting children!
I really need to work for Hallmark.
What is on your bucket lost?