Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Many Christmas Adventures of Luke Jeremiah: 2013 Edition!

Here we are again, another Christmas season upon us, which means wrapping, secrets, music, and family traditions! We have so many traditions, and one that we started just last year, was the Elf on the Shelf. If you read my post from last year, you might remember the reservations I had about introducing the elf to our family, and many of my worries about balancing the Santa side of Christmas with the Faith/Family side of Christmas. 

I'm not conflicted anymore, and I am so happy that we have Luke Jeremiah as a part of our Christmas traditions. I was worried, very worried, about the balance of commercial Christmas with faith Christmas. I wanted the boys to understand the "true" meaning of Christmas, to appreciate the people who so thoughtfully spoiled them. I didn't want to lose our faith in the hullabaloo that is Santa, elves, and reindeer.

Believe it or not, it was Luke that helped with that. While Michael and I tweaked our elf a bit, because neither of us like the idea of "naughty or nice" and "if you aren't good Santa will know" (because that's creepy as hell if you think about it), we managed to come up with a happy balance of an elf who is here from somewhere to help us get ready for the celebration of Baby Jesus. We had so much fun (and I can not stress that enough) coming up with new things for Luke to do each night. Michael was like a big kid, coming up with some amazing ideas to thrill our little men in the morning. It was pretty cute to watch.

Our Luke is not your typical Elf on the Shelf. As I said before, he is not some spy from Santa there to report to the fat man every night about the behavior of my children. (I think I can handle their behavior without the help of a fat, jolly elf. Most days.) Luke is just there to help us get ready for the holidays. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, he is a part of our family. He is able to be hugged and loved by the boys, becomes a part of our daily adventures, and shares in the joys and sorrows of the family. I'd hoped that he would be fun for them, which is why we broke down and bought the elf despite my misgivings. (How did I ever think him creepy?!) I didn't expect him to become so much fun for us! He really is "family", a fact made apparent by the fact that Parker has asked if he can be called Luke Jeremiah Gordon instead of Elf this year.

Yep, he's family now. And, I truly do feel that Luke helped me relax a bit about Christmas. I'm not worried anymore about how we are going to balance Christmas and Faith. We just will. As I said last year, my kids are pretty smart. I think they are smart enough to get It. We still don't do gifts from Santa, and we will neither confirm or deny the presence of the Fat Man with the boys. (They come to their own conclusions, which seem to change daily with Parker this year, and we talk to him about whatever those conclusions are.) We do the songs and sitting on Santa's lap and stories though, just as we always have, but now I'm not so worried about how we might confuse them. Instead, we're taking more of the approach that my Grandmother always took with me, and I can not imagine a person who could make the holidays more magical than my Grandmama always did for me.

Which makes it appropriate that I am here with her this year so that she use her immense creativity to help me come up with Luke games this Christmas. As a matter of fact, it was Grandmama who not only came up with, but built Luke a little house for, his grand return!

Night One: Thanksgiving dinner was put away, the boys were tucked in with full bellies, the adults were pleasantly sleepy...And Luke appeared! Parker had started asking a few weeks ago if I thought Luke would be able to find us for Christmas since we aren't at home. I assured him that he would (and patted myself on the back a bit for having the forward thought to hide Luke in my underwear when packing back in September), and here he was! Our little Luke. He looked just as happy to see me as always, and I was pretty excited to see him too.

I guess that Grandmama was excited too, because the next thing I knew she had pulled out the boys waffle blocks and started to "help" Luke build a little house for his first night home. (Grandpapa walked in to say goodnight half way through this operation and stood for quite awhile just watching Grandmama with an amused expression that left me giggling. He was ordered to just kiss her and stay quiet, and the first was done quite nicely, though he couldn't help expressing his concern that she had exhausted herself lately, and wondering if she needed anything. I adore my grandparents!)

You have never seen happier little boys than my little boys when they found him in the morning. Luke was carried around by delighted little hands all day the next day, and was much hugged and kissed on. Sebastian caught onto his big brother's excitement quickly, and I feel like this will be a very magical year for him this year too. (He was interested in Luke last year, but not in the same way as his big brother was.)

Night Two: Grandmama helped with night two too, and Luke ended up snuggled up with one of the resident frogs. (There are many in this house.) I thought it would have been perfect if Mr.Frog had a Santa hat, since Luke very much looked like a happy child on Santa's lap. Even without the hat, the boys were tickled to find him in the morning.

Night Three: Since the next day was December 1st, it seemed like a good time for the Christmas books to show up. Christmas stories and a cozy fire? The things of holiday perfection! How did Luke get a stack of our Christmas books here from Idaho? According to Parker, he flew to Idaho overnight and returned with the holiday stories by morning, which is much more fun than the idea that Mommy might have packed them away in a tote in the van two months ago. :)

Night Four: Luke felt a strong desire to make a snowman, but in the absence of the snow that he firmly believes should blanket the ground the entire month of December, (I agree with my elfy friend here.) what was our little friend to do? Why, make a snowman out of sugar and marshmallows of course! The boys loved it! (I did too.)

Night Five: Maybe Little Luke has a thing for heights. Maybe the festive antlers reminded Luke of some friends he has back home? ;) Whatever the reason he ended up way up there, the boys were giddy about it. They couldn't find him at first, and searched the house shouting his name. They decided to break for breakfast and resume the search once they were well fed, and it was there, balanced on a chair with his mouth full of banana, that Sebastian spotted his tiny friend. He pointed and wiggled and shouted "Luke! Luke!" like he'd found a real treasure, and we all made over him for finding him first for the first time ever. It was an important day.

Night Six: It took some time for Luke to figure out what he wanted to do tonight, but when the light bulb went off over his head he was quick to raid the jar of q-tips in the bathroom and create his masterpiece. If you don't have snow, you just have to make your own. It seemed especially appropriate since the boys were going to go see Frozen the following morning. (Both the snowflakes and the movie were huge hits!)

Night Seven: Luke found a stray reindeer wandering about. The poor little thing had no family, no friends, and no name, and Luke was quick to take him in. He was sure that he knew a family who would be perfect for the little lost reindeer, and he was right. The newest member of the family is already very loved, though still nameless, Snowball, Jingle, Deer, and Puck all being thrown around as possibilities. We shall have to see. :)

Tis' the season, Friends! Have fun with it! 


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