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Six Christmases: It's 2013 and Christmas isn't over yet...

We're officially one week into the New Year, but Christmas isn't quite finished. My Mom had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I should write something about "Six Christmases," and while I didn't think I would, here I am doing it in January. For my little ones, Holiday 2012 brought Six Christmases. We've got five down and one to go. This blog entry is geared largely for our family to get a look at our December.

IMG 0577This season was special, being the first Christmas for Finley, and the fourth already for 3-year-old Addie. Fortunately it'll be a few years before we have to explain exactly why we have multiple Christmases (my wife and I both being products of Divorced families) and four different configurations of Grandparents, but for now the kids can just enjoy the ongoing fun of the season.

We celebrate Christmas as a secular, non-religious event filled with as much magic as possible. It's about family, friends, decorations, toys, and fun... peppered with viewings of EMMET OTTER'S JUGBAND CHRISTMAS, JINGLE ALL THE WAY, CAILLOU'S HOLIDAY MOVIE, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, A CHRISTMAS STORY, etc. DSC 0269This year I learned that my wife hates MIRACLE ON 34th STREET (we've been married over 13 years and I didn't know). I also snuck in a viewing of the new movie, THE CHRISTMAS CONSULTANT starring David Hasselhoff.  We visited Santa on a few occasions, made the pilgrimage to Macy's on State Street in Chicago (former Marshall Field's), and made it though a season that seemed busier than usual. Addie even made the rounds online, being highlighted on Macy's Facebook page in a post promoting Make-A-Wish, and had a 2010 "Bad Santa" picture featured on the website for Anderson Cooper's ANDERSON LIVE. 

We got warmed up on December 6th...

Saint Nicholas Day...
Carrying on an Italian tradition (celebrated in other countries as well), Saint Nicholas made a surprise early check-in to our house. He placed a bag with some candy in Addie's boots. After discovering her treats, she started checking the other shoes and boots "for fruit." Where did she get the idea that Saint Nick leaves fruit? CAILLOU'S HOLIDAY MOVIE she tells me. Mommy left a note for the girls on the blackboard before she left for work.
stnickday

As for those Six Christmases... well, things don't always go as smooth as we'd hope.

December 8: Christmas at my Dad's House...
DSC 0169

Christmas #1: An overnight at my Dad's house. The little ones had fun, and we paid a visit to a local "Crazy Bounce" establishment. Addie got scared after going up a slide that was a bit too tall. Grandpa had to make the rescue.
xmasdads

December 15: Extended Family Christmas at my Mom's House...
DSC 0038
Christmas #2: A yearly event in which my Mom and Stepdad play host to all of their kids and their families. A few friends stop by, and it tends to get loud. I often feel overwhelmed with how many people are packed into the house and sometimes don't get to see everyone's gifts as they're unwrapped. 
moms2

December 22: Christmas with my Wife's immediate family...
christmas22Christmas #3: A near-disaster here at Rock Father HQ. My Wife's Mom, Sister, Brother, and Aunt were all here for a planned brunch. After Addie spent some time outside with Auntie Jill making snow angels, Jill hurt her back. Things went downhill fast, leading to a trip to the Emergency Room. "Brunch" was served somewhat overcooked (and re-heated) around 6pm. The gifts remained largely in bags in the family room until around 8pm. I was up until around 2am putting things labeled "Fisher-Price" together. I like building toys.

xmas231December 23: Christmas with my Wife's Mom's side of the family...
Christmas #4: For the first time, Auntie Jill was hosting Christmas for my Wife's Mom's side of the family - all of the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc. Unfortunately, Jill's back was shot (see Christmas #3 above), but a good time was had and the lasagna and deviled eggs were delicious. A ring of the doorbell, and one of Santa's bags was found left on the porch. A look inside revealed a single present for each child as a preview of what was yet to come...
IMG 0946

December 25: Christmas at Rock Father HQ (home)...
ourtreeChristmas #5: The Main Event - The kids made their way down the stairs to find that Santa Claus had indeed paid a visit to our home.

A quick look outside revealed that the "Reindeer Food" that Addie sprinkled on the sidewalk had been licked up by Santa's Reindeer, while few crumbs were left on the plate of cookies we'd left for the big man inside. The heavy cast iron Magic Key we'd left on the door did the trick, as only Santa can use it.

He even left the girls a nice little note.

note

DSC 0135

After our family morning, my Mom and Stepdad joined us for presents, along with my Sister and her boyfriend. 

For dinner, I prepared a new meal for 2012... my own spin on two separate Christmas Turkey recipes from Chef Gordon Ramsay. I made everything from scratch including fresh herb butter, which really made this a special bird. Everyone seemed to love it.
turkey
And Santa's Little Helper ended up becoming Santa's Little Napper...
santasnapper

January ?? 2013: Christmas with my Wife's Dad... 
Christmas #6: TBA - We were supposed to see my Wife's Dad and his mother (the only living Great-Grandmother for my girls) this weekend, but since everyone in this house has been fighting a rough cold, plans were pushed back to a yet-to-be-decided date. In the meantime, I have gifts from Great Grandma in the garage (sent home with us at Thanksgiving).

So it's 2013, and Christmas 2012 isn't 100% over yet. While I love the season, I'm ready to take down the decorations on December 26 and start prepping for next year. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I did do some post-Christmas bargain shopping (some great scores at Walmart, Target, and Toys "R" Us) to set aside for  the next one. 

Looking ahead, I'm hoping we can actually get all of the 2013 Christmases completed in 2013.

James Zahn

About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™. 

Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.

He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.

Learn more here

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.

Website: www.facebook.com/therockfather
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