Why the Gingerbread Man has it all wrong

Gingerbread Dec 2012


A few weeks ago our daughter made this gingerbread man at daycare, and looking at it makes me smile. It currently has a place of honour on the side of our fridge, with a dozen other homemade four-year-old creations. Nice. (I’ve started scanning them in to keep digital memories…there is no way we can possibly keep them all in paper form!)

It’s taken me a little while to get into the Christmas spirit this year, I wonder if it’s because we’ve been having so much rain? The Ontario girl in me still expects a bunch of snow in December, and without it it just doesn’t seem like Christmas is on its way. But yet we still got our tree on Saturday and set it up, and there’s a new wreath on the door. I think I’m getting there.

Just like going to the gym (when you go it makes you want to go more), starting Christmas preparations and plans makes me want to do more. Suddenly I’m irked that the rain and dark is preventing us from putting up the Christmas lights during the week after work and I’m trying to find time in my busy schedule to bake the gingerbread house that is my family tradition. And all of a sudden I find myself wanting a family of light-up wire deer on our front yard and wondering if we should have a more dazzling array of Christmas lights to dazzle our little girl – whose ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at other people’s light displays are delighting me right now. Just wait until we take her to Butchart Gardens again this month for the Twelve Days of Christmas! I wonder if she’ll remember it, we’ve been going there every year since she was a baby.

It surprises me that she doesn’t remember some things about our Christmas traditions; she is almost five. But many things she does remember: the advent calendar full of tiny surprises, the small snowman and reindeer “stuffies”, performing in the annual Christmas concert at her daycare, the Russian nesting doll set, the Christmas moose in scarf and winter hat that we set by the fireplace. There’s something magical about putting away our holiday things and rediscovering them a year later, isn’t it? Is that part of the allure of Christmas? It’s a time when we get to bring out all our sentimentalities, put eggnog in our coffee and eat Terry’s Orange chocolate on the big day with no trace of remorse. Yes, and more.

I love Christmastime because it comes with more invitations to events, more friends opening their houses up to let in a good party, and a bit more “community sparkle” in the air. If we were a civilized bunch we would all shut down our offices for the month and just use the entire four weeks to visit with others, shop at a leisurely pace, and catch up on all the things that we haven’t had a chance to do for months. Sleep in. Have coffee on the couch. Lounge in our robes. Meet friends at cafes. Get babysitters. Play outside. Go to concerts. Go to movies. Do art. Call people. Write letters. Go for walks. Sing songs. Cook together.

Generally, do a lot, but slowly.

We get so caught up in our busy lives sometimes, don’t we? I’ve been a bit culprit of this this fall. Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man. I know that Gingy has it all wrong, that life doesn’t have to be that fast, and I have to remind myself of it.

Let’s do a lot this Christmas, but the right things, and for the right reasons. To make us feel the right way. Let’s pretend that we’re four and we’re doing all the things that we love because we don’t know why we’d do anything else. Now that’s the spirit!

Happy Sinterklaas everyone!



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