It's A Wonderful Life

'Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings,' ZuZu Bailey.

This is one of the family’s favorite Christmas traditions. After we decorate the tree we all snuggle in with fancy hot chocolate and, if they’ve been exceptionally well-behaved that year, they’ll get homemade snickerdoodles. They didn’t get the snickerdoodles last year. Fingers-crossed that this year when I tally it all up, the good will outweigh the not-so-good. I missed the snickerdoodles last year.

This is one of our “newer” traditions. We’ve only been watching for the last three or four years. Dylan started it and he really loves the movie. Honestly, I don’t really remember seeing it in its entirety before I started watching it with Pat and the kids. I’m more of a Grinch girl. Oh, and Frosty. I do have to admit that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the perfect end to our tree decorating day. Tree decorating day is my second favorite part of the holiday season. My first favorite is presents!

Since the kids were babies, Pat and I have always given them an ornament at Christmas time. Generally we try to make it relate to some milestone or activity that held their interest that year. It’s become a timeline of their lives and I love watching them open each one and relive a special moment. It’s getting more challenging as they get older since their activities seem to be narrowing and honestly, there are only so many dance and lacrosse ornaments a person needs. So far they’ve never been able to guess what may get immortalized as an ornament.  

They’ve presented me with challenges in the past. Last year I could not find anything for Emma. All she did was dance. Seriously, that and went to school and I didn’t want to give her another dance ornament. That’s when I decided to have an ornament custom made. She was a little nuts about this dance crew from NJ. So much so that she sent one of the kids a fan letter. Well she got a response and she just about went into orbit when she got it. I scanned the autographed picture and had an ornament made; she cried when she opened it.

My most difficult ornament to find was a few years ago when Dylan took sailing lessons at the Plymouth Yacht Club. The boat he was learning on was a 420 and I really wanted that boat and not just a generic sail boat. It took me almost a month before I found the perfect ornament. Happy to report that he loved it as well! It’s still one of my favorite ornaments as it commemorates not just a new adventure but confronting a fear. When he was younger he had a terrible fear of boats and I was so proud of him when he decided to conquer his fear and learn how to sail.

It’s going to be a bittersweet day when I have to hand over their ornaments. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through it without a tear or ten. In the meantime, I ordered this year’s ornaments today and I can’t wait to see their reactions!

It really is a wonderful life.

Barbara Mulvey-Welsh is a mother, writer and blogger raising kids and a husband in Plymouth. Check out her blog at "Did I Say That Out Loud?"  Use caution when reading around the family, there is some strong language.


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