This was Denis' first real Christmas.
Last year I got to visit Denis for 20 minutes. I totally agonized over what kind of gift I could give him, as any toy would have to leave with me as he wasn't allowed to keep anything between visits. In the end I gave him the red stripped t-shirt.
I had a plan to have a Christmas the weekend Denis and I arrived home from Kaz, but because my sister was so unwell we had to put that plan off until March 26th. Kathryn had spent Christmas 2010 in the group home so she hadn't had a Christmas either. I put up the tree and we had a nice dinner together. It was nice, but very low key, but it just wasn't really Christmas.
This year I got Denis really into the preparations for Christmas. We attended 2 parades, a tree lighting ceremony, visited Santa at a mall and we went to Uncle John's school's children's Christmas party. We also had a Costco wooden Advent calendar to count the days too Christmas. Every day I'd put a couple of chocolates into the little cupboard so we would take out the little carved toy and hang it in Santa's workshop while he ate the chocolate. And my brother and I bought and read a dozen little story books about Christmas. I even found two beautiful picture books appropriate for a 3 year old about the true story of Christmas (Denis said the baby was cold in the manager).
Finally we had a wonderful family Christmas, just like I'd imagined all those years as I waited. Denis and I picked up my sister on Saturday evening (she's staying with us until tomorrow afternoon). We have our macrame tree hanging in the living room (my late mother made it as a decoration, but the finished tree was so big it became our tree for years). I'd had thought about buying a real artificial tree but in the end decided to go with the tried and true and really easy tree. When I finally did put the tree up, Denis saw it and immediately said it was a Christmas tree. As long as he doesn't complain we'll keep the macrame tree.
Denis woke up on Christmas morning at 8 (thank you so very much) and I had to remind him that Santa came during the night. He went out into the living room and saw all the presents. He said, "Too many". I told him that there were presents for him and me and for his aunt and uncle. He went running back to the bedrooms to tell his aunt and uncle to get up and come see the tree and that Santa had brought them presents.
As soon as all the presents were unwrapped Denis was upset and wanted to know where all his presents were. It was too funny. I kept the food easy as it is too hard to do a big meal and look after both my sister and son. So we had cold cuts and store bought salads. My brother made a huge pot of French Onion soup, yummy.
Now that Christmas is over, Denis keeps saying, 'Where my calendar? I need my calendar!" I interpret that that "I need chocolate". He also keeps saying Santa is coming again. So sad at this age that all the fun only happens on that one day and then you have to wait an ENTIRE year to have so much fun again.