There’s a song that all of third graders at Jeffrey’s school learn every Christmas, called “Christmas Is Upon Us.” It goes like this:
Christmas is upon us, our favorite time of year
We wish you happy holidays and peace throughout the year.
When you pass us by, you can hear us cry:
At this moment in the song, various groups of children chant little phrases like “I make the toys, for all the girls and boys!” or “Mommy, Daddy, I looooove you,” or “I’m made of snow, and I’m melllllting.”
This song has been taught to the third grade for over fifty years — at least– and everybody in the neighborhood knows it. What’s been funny is that Brian, who attended the same school for a few years in childhood, has realized that he remembers this song, as well. Then we mentioned it to his mom, and she remembers learning it at the same school when she was a child.
For the most part, it definitely sums up the feeling around Retro Acres. Christmas is definitely falling, descending, sitting, squashing, upon us. It’s great fun, if it is a little exhausting. Here are a few brief glimpses on various holiday things we’ve done:
- Once again, we were able to perform a shadow puppet show for the ward christmas party. The good news is that nobody around here has seen one before, so we can recycle all our old scripts and puppets from shows of yore. The bad news is that our somewhat rigid activities director needed some convincing to allow us to perform. But everybody enjoyed it. However, I think the real stars of the evening were the “Shuffling Sisters Ballet” — a group of ladies-over-sixty dancing to “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.” Don’t worry, there were no unitards. Just good silliness.
- Eleanor’s preschool had a morning of “music sharing” — not a performance, but a time when parents were allowed to participate in the class music time. Eleanor was thrilled to have me join her for circle time and singing, and William was rather enthusiastic about the program as well, and did his toddler darndest to participate. The best part was when Ms. Susan, the music teacher, passed around wooden Nativity figures to the children. She didn’t see William holding out his hands at first, so he was stuck with the only piece left in the basket — a little green block representing the manger. The children were supposed to take turns putting their figures on a little cloth while we sang a song, and I was worried that William wouldn’t want to give up his manger. Little did I need to worry — he marched right up and slammed that manger down like a quarterback spiking a football. It bounced off the cloth a ways. What an enthusiastic little guy!
- There’s a family in our ward who host an open house for everybody each Christmas, and it’s now become an official ward acitivity. The flyers for the event said, “Come for treats, friends, and . . . The Tree!” Well, I wondered upon reading that. It must be some tree. And it WAS — when my kids saw it, they all held still and just stared for a good ten minutes. It was actually three big trees lashed together . . . with big rainbow lights . . . covered thickly with spray-on flocking and hung with icicle tinsel. But that’s not all — under the tree was an enormous Christmas village, complete with a running train and animatronic skaters and sledders and whatnot. More flocking had been sprayed on the ground to make snow. Whoa. That tree was a good nine or ten feet across.
- Lastly, last Sunday we hosted a caroling party here at Retro Acres. Brian and I had tremendous fun picking out a variety of little known carols to sing, and I even spent time looking up how to cook a real, actual figgy pudding. Know what? It turned out pretty well, quite yummy. It was a cake batter made with pureed figs, that is steamed in a pot of boiling water instead of baked in an oven. You end up with a very moist, dense cake, like a high-class Fig Newton.
Still to come: a party with the residents tonight (which we may skip, as it’s snowing hard); a candy-making/ice-skating party with Brian’s family; Jeffrey’s nativity pageant; cookie making with my mom and sister; hosting dinner for fourteen on Christmas Eve. And then: peace on earth!