“PEACE ON EARTH, good will toward men.”
Or, more accurately for my family, this should be rephrased as “Peace at our house, good will between siblings.”
Yes, thankfully, rivalry and teasing among my three offspring have pretty much ceased. Maturity and living under three separate roofs explain everything. The girls have been gone for years—off to college and one now onto a career. That leaves only my 15-year-old son at home with me and my husband.
I don’t miss the bickering, especially during the holiday season. Every December, I could expect my kids to squabble over—get this—an advent calendar.
My Aunt Dorothy crafted the felt calendar some 20 years ago. It’s darling with red rickrack trimming a large piece of white felt adorned with a Christmas tree and numbered pockets. Inside each pocket, Dorothy placed tiny, holiday-themed items like a snowman, bells, gingerbread boy, dove and so forth. (I’m uncertain, though, what a mouse has to do with Christmas.) Each day, my kids were to remove the “ornament” from the appropriately-dated pocket and attach it to the tree.
In a perfect world, the kids would take turns. But, as all mothers know, this is not a perfect world with perfectly-behaved children.
So, each December morning, it became a race to see which kid would make it downstairs first to nab the ornament from the pocket and slap it onto the tree. This system, of course, failed. All attempts to resolve the conflict also failed.
Fast forward to 2009. “Are you putting the ornaments on the advent calendar every day?” I ask my son.
“Yes,” he replies with less enthusiasm than I expect.
And then he admits, upon my probing, that the advent calendar tradition has lost much of its appeal. That, he confesses, has everything to do with the lack of daily competition among him and his sisters.
Perhaps I should put a little excitement back into this tradition. Since he’s still sleeping, I’m going to pull the holly from the December 12 pocket and hang it on the tree.
There, the deed is done.
Will my 15-year-old notice? Will he care? Have I just destroyed peace and good will in my house?
© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling