Monday, December 6, 2010

Nutcracker, St. Nicholas, Advent

Nutcracker was lovely: witty, whimsical, well-danced. Dancer, at 12, is moving into the ranks of the big kids. She had three parts this year, and suddenly we can see the trajectory into the upper echelon clearly: girls a year or two older are flowers and marzipan.

Of course, I forgot to take pictures backstage. I always forget to take pictures. Instead, I offer these:

Last week's chemistry lesson...

Led to a demonstration of carbonization, as Little Guy insisted on an indoor marshmallow roast.

Today's sweets, however, are in honor of St. Nicholas. 

Call me a heretic, but we don't do Santa at Christmas. It's not that I dislike the fat guy, just that I never felt he was mandatory. There's already plenty of magic about Christmas. And there's already way too much get-it-get-it-get-it frenzy. We opted out of Santa early on.

I guess we don't do Christmas in the modern American way at all. We're a hundred years behind the times, and do Advent first. The idea of Advent is to set aside a time to prepare the heart for Christmas. We use December to think about how we can be better people, how we can help others, how we can grow in faith.  We do not always do this very consistently or well. But we do try.

For us, the Christmas season pretty much starts on the 23rd. (It used to be the 24th, but one year we went to buy a tree on Christmas Eve and the street vendors had packed up and gone back to Vermont. That was the year Andrew went uptown to find a tree, solo, and while he was hauling it onto the subway the conductor said over the loud speaker system, "Hey buddy! I hope that tree paid a fare!")

For us, Christmas starts on, well, Christmas. It extends out the traditional twelve days, and ends on the Epiphany, or feast of the three wise men.

Today we'll read stories (and the facts) about St. Nick, and I'll enjoy the treats my kids left in my shoes: a homemade Ugli doll by Little Guy ("I turned the sock inside out, Mom, so it didn't say, 'Children's Place size 3-4'") and a short book of poetry written by Snuggler, which included such profound haiku as these:

Add the area
It's so hard, I'm frustrated
But Mommy will help

Ow, my stomach hurts!
"Hey Mom!" She comes running fast
Gas-X forever!


  1. Love the comments on the holiday. Important stuff. Also: I'm totally stealing the indoor marshmallow roast idea. As soon as I can find some vegetarian marshmallows.

  2. heidi, look for kosher marshmellows; they should be kosher (i.e., no gelatin.)