This year, when I started my Christmas gift planning, I was feeling a little scattered. Some random ideas for random people, but no real cohesive plan. I’m sure that by now, everyone has seen that “recipe” floating around the internet for holiday gift giving for children; something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need. More to just straighten things out in my own head then anything else, I decided to try breaking things up that way to see if it helped.
Something to wear was easy: Christmas pajamas for all. We had something to read covered as well. We kind of have a standard stocking formula: a book, a new deck of playing cards, candy canes (depending on the age of the child), some B-fresh gum (again age dependent), and art supplies. This is generally how we replenish our homeschooling and art supplies each year.
For want, we tracked down a ping pong table on Craig’s List for the older boys to share. Carrot the Prince was made for Galen. Dear sweet Galen who always claims that he doesn’t know what it is he wants until he receives a gift, then, as if by magic, it always turns out to be just what he wanted, he just didn’t know it before! Màiri Rose got a new tea set, as her beloved old one was missing several key pieces at this point, like, you know, a tea pot.
For need we replaced Iain’s old watch, which was to the point of being held together with duct tape and only sometimes actually telling time. Elijah got a new winter hat (more on that later). Galen recieved some buckets and boxes to organize the art supplies in his room. And Màiri, oh Màiri, well Màiri is where things got tricky…
The original plan, that was well under way, was to make her a quilt for her bed. There came a day where it was just the two of us home alone. I went to throw in a load of laundry before reading her a book, only to find her poking about in my craft bags. The canvas bags that I keep tied shut at that time of year, generally each containing a gift project, to be picked up and worked on whenever that particular child is not around. She was holding the inner head for Galen’s doll.
The conversation that followed went something like this:
“that’s none of your business”
“I think it’s a doll. I think you are making a doll.”
And then my reassuring her repeatedly that whatever it was, it wasn’t for her. And from that point on, it was very common for her to say in a loud, exaggerated whisper, when I was just within hearing, “Oh, I hope I get a doll for Christmas!“ Right. Now I had thought about Galen’s getting a doll and her not and how she might react to that and decided that in the excitement of the morning she wouldn’t much mind. But now that the expectation of the possibility was there, well, that was a whole new ball game.
And so, a week or so before Christmas, I shifted gears, the quilt was abandoned and a relatively quick little dolly whipped up instead. When I told Steve that it would go fairly quickly because the doll wouldn’t really have a body, he looked at me in horror and said, “you’re giving our little girl a dismembered head?!?” I tried to explain, but finally told him he’d just have to wait and see what I meant.
She named her Rose Cheeks. And yes, many a request for “Rose Cheek stories” have been made. Turns out she is a cousin of Carrot the Prince. And goodness, between the two of them this mama has been kept on her toes and needing to think fast. The children decided that it would be fair if I told one story for each, every other night. I’m really not sure that my tired brain can pull together 365 unique stories a year!