A few years ago I messed up completely – it was me who ruined the Santa Claus story for my oldest child.
I began Christmas shopping early so I’d be ahead of the schedule and hid $250 worth of gift cards in a book that was also a Christmas present so I wouldn’t lose them. By the time it came to wrap the gifts I had completely forgotten they were in the book. For two weeks I tore the house apart looking for those damn gift cards, everyone in the family knew they were gone – including the kids.
Fast forward to Christmas day and my son opens up his book from Santa. It was put aside until the evening when he took it to his bedroom to read before falling asleep. He opened it up and $250 worth of missing gift cards fell out.
He put two and two together and just like that, the magic of Santa was gone.
My youngest still believed but the following year when he looked me in the eye and asked if Santa was real, I knew I couldn’t lie to his face and my standard answer of “What do you believe?” simply wasn’t cutting it. With one little sentence 13 years of Santa magic was gone.
To be honest, I was more sad about the loss of Santa than my kids were. I wanted to milk the magic for as long as I could for purely selfish reasons. Once that belief is gone, you never get it back and I loved watching their eyes light up when they realized Santa had come, or how excited they were as Christmas day drew near. Their excitement meant I got to relive a part of my childhood through them.
But what I wasn’t expecting were the wonderful things that happen when your kids discover Santa is really an exhausted parent waiting for them to fall asleep so you can lug the presents out of hiding places and get them stacked under the tree and in stockings knowing you'll be up in a few short hours because kids don't sleep late on Christmas morning.
If you’re a parent whose child has stopped believing or is on the cusp of it happening, I want you to know it’s not all coal and reindeer poop.
Remember all those awesome presents they got from Santa? They now know it’s you who gave them. There will be a whole lot of “I can’t believe it was you who bought that for me! You swore you'd never buy me a (insert gift they thought you'd never buy them here).”
Bask in the glow, moms. Bask in the glow.
The same goes for the magic reindeer food, reindeer footprints in the snow, responses to Santa letters, half eaten cookies left on a plate, and whatever else you did to help them believe in the magic. You no longer need to pat yourself on the back because your kids are so impressed they will do it for you. Although they’ll be a little disappointed when they discover the recipe for magic reindeer food was rolled oats and cookie sprinkles.
Even better, you won’t have to go out and buy special “Santa” wrapping paper or change your hand writing on the tags. And hiding places? You’ll still hide the presents but you won’t break out in a cold sweat at the thought of your child finding them.
But the best part is you’ll talk about all your past Christmases and relive the memories, only you’ll be reliving it through their eyes as they tell you how the felt when they saw those half eaten cookies and reindeer footprints in the snow.
And that’s when you realize that the magic never really dies, it just changes.
And that’s the best gift of all.
One of my favourite childhood memories is watching the "Carol Burnett Show" with my family. It was the ultimate variety show/sketch comedy and I looked forward to it every week. Now, as an adult, I realize many of the jokes went over my head but the best part for me was the anticipation – waiting to see if this would be the week where Carol, Tim, Harvey, or Vicki couldn’t contain the laughter.
It was live TV and as hard as they tried not to laugh, there were many times when someone finally broke. But what was even better than the laughter was how you could see that this group of people loved what they do. To this day, if I’m feeling down and need a quick pick-me-up, I’ll watch Tim Conway do his Siamese elephants joined at the trunk skit.
That “you never know what’s going to happen but you get to watch people who love what they do” feeling is why I love the yearly tradition of seeing a Ross Petty Production.
In our home, we try to give our boys experiences instead of gifts. When I offered them the choice of getting a Christmas gift or doing something together as a family, they both chose family.
Our first experience was two years ago when we went to see The Little Mermaid and they couldn’t stop talking about it. I knew a lot of the jokes went over their heads but that’s what makes a Ross Petty Production so spectacular – there are topical jokes for the parents, and lots of loud booing and screaming allowed by the kids. It’s quite literally the only theatre show that encourages you to be loud during the performance.
This year’s production of Peter Pan is no different. Five minutes into the show there were Justin jokes (both Bieber and Trudeau) for the parents, and a funny musical number for the kids.
Why should you take your kids to see this year’s production of Peter Pan?
This is Ross Petty’s last year for playing a bad guy on stage. I was actually considering starting an “It’s a Pity Petty Petition” to STOP THIS MADNESS because he makes you love the bad guy. But I get it...it’s been 20 years of producing and acting in his productions so he probably deserves a break NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT HURTS ME.
Don’t just see the show, turn it into a full experience. I take my boys on the Go Train (which runs a close second as their favourite thing to do next to seeing the show), enjoy a dinner out, and then end the evening with show. Afterwards, we take a walk downtown to see the holiday lights. My best advice is to take lots of photos, print them out, and create a photo album. You’ll understand why when you see your kids flipping through the photo album next July reminiscing about their favourite parts of the evening.
In a day and age where kids are in front of a screen for hours at a time and ‘entertainment’ (I use that word loosely) is only a YouTube video away, our kids are missing out on this wonderful aspect of entertainment. By creating a love of theatre at a young age, you’re helping to form the audience of the future. Let’s not see live theatre go the way of the dodo bird and letter writing.
Without spoiling it for you, there is one part in the show where Dan Chameroy goes into a slow motion fall that will have you laughing so hard your stomach will hurt. His comedic timing is pure brilliance and to see him live in person is an experience no one will forget.
The show itself is spectacular but what you want to watch for is the “break” because as hard as he tries not to, Ross Petty can’t help but burst into laughter at different times throughout the show and when it happens, you can’t help but laugh with him.
It’s that “you never know what’s going to happen” feeling and it’s worth every penny.
Image credit: Racheal McCaig Photography
We live in the suburbs across the street from a beautiful grassy park filled with maple trees. It’s absolutely idyllic...unless you are someone who is allergic to grass and maple trees.
This, unfortunately, is the case for my son who was diagnosed with allergies to grass, maple trees, and cats at 18 months. Did I also mention that we have two cats?
Every spring and fall, the sound most heard around our home is my son's constant sniffing, 24-hours a day, even in his sleep. His nose is always plugged making it hard for him to breathe, and his record for sneezes in a row is 54. At about the 32 mark, I was worried I’d have to take him to the hospital if he didn’t stop.
I’ll admit to being less than sympathetic at times, but then this year something happened to change all of that.
I awoke one spring morning with what I thought was a cold. Since then, I have been a sneezing, sniffing, watery-eyes mess. It’s like winning the lottery...in hell.
I had developed allergies at the age of 45.
There’s nothing like not being able to breathe for seven months that will teach you empathy towards another human being. And because I apparently like to live dangerously, we got a puppy three months ago – a golden lab – one of the sheddiest dogs on the planet.
Between the puppy and the cats, I could knit a new pet about every week and a half with the fur they leave around the house.
There has also been construction going on down the street from us for a year and a half – an entire new neighbourhood is being built - and the amount of dust in my home has reached beach proportions.
Throw on some sunglasses and a bathing suit and I could host my own dust-castle building contest.
Have you ever thought your house was clean and then the sun shines through your windows and you realize there is dust, pet hair, and other stuff you don’t even want to think about floating EVERYWHERE?
I can’t close the blinds to this anymore because I learned that the air inside all of our homes can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. In the spring, summer, and autumn, we can open our windows to air out the house. In the winter, we're screwed because there are things like "heating bills."
This is why I’ve come up with "The Get Rid of the Dust (And Other Stuff We Can’t See) For the DeVellis Clan Plan." You can do it too!
Hold on! I know what you’re thinking! This is sponsored by Dyson so of course she’s going to say this.
Let me tell you a little story. About a month ago I got up to work at 5:30am like I normally do, only on this day, I didn’t work. Instead, I researched air purifiers because I had reached my non-breathing breaking point. What I discovered was the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier was getting rave reviews all across the board. When my husband came home that night I told him all I wanted for Christmas was this Dyson air purifier. I don’t want jewelry, books, makeup, clothes, or a trip...I WANT TO BREATHE.
The Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier was going to be in my house whether I wrote about it or not.
What really sold me on it was:
It removes 99.97 per cent of allergies and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. To put that in perspective, a grain of sand is 100 microns in size.
It has no blades. With a curious puppy in the house, this is important.
Note: I placed my Dyson Pure Cool in my main living area beside the dog crate. It's also where my desk is situated and the room in which I spend the most time. Why did I do this? It was what @AskDysonUS recommended to me when I asked:
Before I set up our purifier, I did a major dusting of the house – all of the stuff we don’t dust because they're in hard to reach areas. I’m talking about the tops of picture frames, the tops of all the furniture that can’t be reached without a step ladder, vents...EVERYTHING.
I’ve learned that having two cats and a puppy meant I had to step up my game in the vacuuming and mopping department. This involved creating a schedule which goes something like this:
Monday and Wednesday - My boys vacuum (they alternate weeks) and I do a light vacuum on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Saturday/Sunday - These are the big 'work up a sweat' vacuuming and mopping days.
Thursdays and Saturdays - Dusting is done on these days.
Weekly - The two cats get brushed weekly while our adorable, sheddy dog gets the brush treatment almost every day (for the record, if you have a sheddy dog the Furminator brush will be your new best friend).
It seems like a lot but I want this to be the winter both my son and I breathe easier because sneezing contests aren't cool.
UPDATE: I've now had the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier for four days and have not had to dust yet. The amount it's cut down on the dust floating in the air and on my furniture (dark wood, by the way, all the better to highlight it) is nothing short of incredible. I had very high expectations of what this air purifier could do and it hasn't disappointed.