I just finished packing up my Christmas decorations for this year. I love my Christmas decorations and try to leave them up as long as possible, at least until after the epiphany. I packed up the tree, ornaments, all of the stockings, the wrapping paper and the nativity sets.
Our first one came from my mother in law the first year we were married. Ceramic Mary Joseph Jesus Angel animals and wise men sit atop our piano these days
The other is the Little People set Ben received for Christmas last year from my cousin. It was the first Little People anything he ever received so those guys stayed in circulation all year. Mary sits next to crossing guard guy on the LP school bus.
Since we brought out the ceramic set this year, it has been Bens favorite "new toy " he will climb up the piano to retrieve each piece one by one and relocate them to the living room, the counter, his table or wherever he fancied. Maybe a bucket?
Along the way, in the hands of an almost 2 year old we have had a few mishaps of falling and heads breaking off. Baby Jesus lost a hand. The cattle lost his horns. But that's what super glue is for
As he plays with it, we talk to him about it. We tell him who all of the characters are. The "mom"- Mary, the "dad" Joseph, the "baby"- Jesus. We told him about the shepherds and wise men, and referred to them as their "friends"- trying to keep it at an almost 2 year old level. How the wise men brought him presents. The animals. And how special they all are.
I especially enjoyed watching Ben connect to the "mom-dad-baby" piece of it. Those 3 traveled together everywhere. Sometimes "dad" gave "mom" a kiss. or the "baby". Sometimes the other guys came along too. But always the "family". And those are 3 of the 10 or so words he can say clearly, (mom, dad, and "bay").
It has just been so sweet to have him start to interact with Christmas in this way this year. Yes, presents have been fun. St. Nicholas day too. But this was so heartwarming. To have him interact with the love that is Christmas. The family. The story. The meaning.
To be fair, I am keeping the Little People set out this year. I just can't bear to let it all go away until next year. Its really an all year thing anyway, really. Isn't it?