Christmas Failures

Dec 18, 2013

I couldn't decide what to title this post: "5 Things That Didn't Go As Planned ," "A Few Christmas Disappointments," "Why 2-Year-Olds are Expensive," or "Trying to Force My Personal Taste Upon My Children."

"Christmas Failures" sounds melodramatic, but it's short and maybe a little bit eye-catching (you are reading this, after all). However, this post is really just an excuse to lament/vent/talk about a few of the things that have happened this month that haven't gone the way I wanted them to. Enjoy.

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My kids love watching Rudolph and Frosty and some of the other classic Christmas movies. After years of waiting on long hold lists for the DVDs at the library and then suffering through extremely scratched up, almost un-watchable copies, I finally decided, "Mike has a real job now. I think I can afford to just buy the collection for ourselves."

So I did.

We watched Frosty the Snowman as a family at the beginning of the month. And then the boys watched Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer a day or so later. A few days after that, I was desperate to artificially entertain Bradley (we were in the process of wrapping up a huge batch of caramels at the time), and so I decided to pull out Santa Claus is Coming to Town, which was on the second DVD, the one that hadn't been touched yet.

I opened up the case, and here's what I found:

It seems Bradley beat me to it. That child-safety feature definitely backfired. He couldn't pull it from the case, but he could snap the DVD right in half in his noble attempt.

I was ridiculously upset about this. I definitely need to learn to just chill out when it comes to little, inconsequential things. It was just so hard to see that cracked, un-fixable DVD that we hadn't even watched one time. It hadn't even been taken out of the case! It was sitting there, broken, firmly attached at the center. I begged Mike to fix it. What's an engineer for anyway? He said, "Oh yeah, I can fix that." And he bought a new one.

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We have been enjoying opening up a Christmas book every morning. There have been many good ones, but only one so far has been met with cheers and exclamations of, "Oh, I love this one!" It was The Bears' Christmas, and I was surprised and also, I admit, a little disappointed. It's not that I have anything against this whacky tale of Papa Bear's misadventures as he "teaches" Brother Bear how to ski and sled and skate. I guess I was just hoping some of the more sophisticated books (The Gift of the Magi or The Christmas Train) would get the same kind of response.

This was so popular that upon opening it, the boys immediately begged for me to read it (which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't), but I was busy getting ready for the day. So Aaron sat down, and with a brother on each side, he read it through not once, but twice. Can't beat that. Maybe it will be my new favorite, too.

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Every year, I try to help the boys make some new ornaments--one that they can keep for themselves and some more that they can give to their teachers.

This year, I found this darling homemade ornament that used newsprint. I had the brilliant idea of using pages from a book in place of the newspaper. And then I had the even more brilliant idea of using the pages from A Christmas Carol.

The ornaments themselves turned out cute enough, but the time involved was tremendous (tracing, cutting, modpodging, modpodging again, painting, modpodging, embellishing, etc.). And in the end, I could hardly see the words through the paint (which was the whole point of using A Christmas Carol!). In the tutorial I found, you could see the words through the paint much better, so she must have thinned out her paint a little or just used a better color.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I love having boys. They are rambunctious, yes, but they are also a lot of fun. For the most part, I enjoy all the hobbies and activities of little boys with a couple of exceptions: super heroes and guns.  I have tried very hard to completely ban these items from our home.

But last year, in a weak moment, I agreed to let Mike make the boys rubberband guns for Christmas. I wasn't as bothered by them since they seemed like such a classic toy and didn't have the commercial look about them.

But you should never open the door even an inch. When we sat down at the beginning of the month to write letters to Santa, all Aaron wanted was some Perler beads and, as he calls it, a "bullet gun" (like this one). I don't know why I didn't nip it in the bud right then and there. I guess I thought as the month went on, he would change his mind. But he has stayed very consistent with those two things.

It sounds so silly, but this has been agony for me. It's not an inherently bad request, and yet, I think boys are prone to violent play, so why should I encourage it with the accessories to go with it?

I feel a bit defeated, but Aaron is going to get what he asked for . . . but not from me. And not from Santa either (I don't want him to think he can bypass family rules by going through Santa Claus). Mike and I usually give separate gifts to the boys. I always give them books, and Mike gets them whatever he wants. So he is giving Aaron the bullet gun, and there will be strict rules attached . . . rules that I will be only too eager to enforce if need be. (I should probably mention that Mike and I discussed this matter at great length and that he wouldn't have gone ahead with it without my okay. So even though I am not in favor of it, I did give my consent . . . if that makes sense)

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And finally, in my recent post about our book advent calendar, you might recall that I said "I almost squealed" when I found Dream Snow at the thrift store. I had of course looked it over before purchasing it, and it seemed to be in near perfect condition (aside from needing new batteries for the last page in the book).

But then, after the boys opened it, we sat down to read it, and I was so disappointed to find two pages that weren't only torn but completely ripped out. Gone.

Turns out it wasn't squeal-worthy after all.


  1. Totally understand about your feelings on guns. Fortunately, your grandfather agreed with me and neither of our children were ever given guns. Perhaps having a boy and a girl made it easier. Good luck!
    Grandma Jones

  2. I can't remember if you've read "Mitten Strings From God" or not but she has a chapter that addresses the gun issue and quells fears about it very well (I thought). We haven't hit this issue yet and don't own any "weapon" toys. But I'm sure it will be coming up eventually *sigh*.

    I love your ornaments!!! This has been kind of an off year for us Christmas-wise. With areas of the house being unfinished I just haven't felt like decorating... even the tree which at present has two ornaments on it and no lights. Maybe we'll take care of that tonight. The only tradition we've done is our Christmas book reading. I'm already looking forward to next Christmas when I can put more effort into it. Sad, I know.

  3. I grew up with guns. With proper rules they are totally fine. I really look forward to getting my daughter one actually.

    Booooo on the CD. I keep mine very far from my sugar plum. She's a destruction machine.

    That ornament is precious!

  4. Hello! I'm new to your blog. I had to laugh at your kids' preference for "Bear's Christmas." I have experienced almost the same thing! I'm lukewarm towards it, but the kids love it and request it often! Our copy was second hand and isn't in great shape. So some Christmas soon I'm going to have to decide if I buy a new copy...

    1. Thanks for saying hello! Our copy is also second-hand, but I'd be surprised if the previous owners ever cracked the cover . . . it was in mint condition. But it has since seen a lot of love. :-)

  5. Sorry about your DVDs! We don't have kids yet, but we decided a long time ago to save space and put all of our DVDs and Blu-rays into a big zipper binder and recycle the cases when we buy new ones. It has saved us tons of room, and it keeps them completely out of reach when kids come over. Maybe you could zip just a few of them into binders so your kids can't get to them, at least during Christmas? It's helped us out!


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