When our boys were born, there were not the choices of clothing for babies and toddlers that there are today. It was pretty much primary colors for boys and that was it. So . . . we often dressed the boys in red and blue – – red for Joseph because he had dark hair and blue for Jonny because it brought out the blue in his eyes. I’m not sure when it became consistent, but when the 2-year old neighbor next door started calling them “Red” and “Blue” instead of using their names, I realized how often I dressed them that way. It was easier to keep track of what belonged to which boy. Even though they weren’t identical, the people who didn’t see them very often began to count on recognizing them by the color they wore, too. Funny how these things happen without us even realizing.
Their first Easter, I spent naptimes and stayed up late every night for a week to finish knitting them Red & Blue sweaters. I didn’t have much that was predictable during those days, but Red & Blue was the one thing that was consistent, so I went with it. When you’re raising twins, anything that simplifies life is helpful! They wore Red & Blue windbreakers and winter coats (I loved Land’s End!) for years, and I could look out the window and see who was where in a split second without even seeing their faces. As they got older and started choosing their own clothes, they were highly amused when I would call them by the wrong name because they switched colors on me. I still call them by the wrong name once in a while, and it has nothing to do with the color they are wearing now – – ha ha!
Joseph’s favorite color is still red – – the first car he bought was red! Jonny (the artist in the family) has branched out a bit and really likes all colors, but blue still brings out the blue in his eyes. Their stockings are – – you guessed it – – Red & Blue! I guess they’re stuck with those for a while, but they don’t seem to mind.
All the controversy about Santa and Elf on a Shelf swirling around on the internet, Facebook and the blog world has been curiously interesting and disturbing to me. I understand every family has their own beliefs and traditions – – that’s the beauty of living in a free country. And just for the record, my kids did believe in Santa (gasp!). But what about the baby? There would be no Christmas without the baby.
When I was a child, one of the ways my siblings and I got ready for Christmas was to make a Baby Jesus Blanket. It was a weaving of construction paper strips with a space for each day from December 1 to December 25. We would choose our own colors and fringe the edges and then tape them to our bedroom door. Our mission was to put together a “blanket” of love to give to the baby Jesus on Christmas day.
We could earn a shiny star each day for doing something special for someone, helping out at home, showing a small (or big) kindness at school to a teacher or student – – basically acts of love for other people. It helped us to remember that Jesus came out of love for us – – what better gift could we give Him than showing love, too?!
I continued this tradition with my kids when they were young, and I hope they will do the same someday with their families. They were always excited to bring their blankets to the manger on Christmas Day and give Baby Jesus their gift. I hope this tradition helped them to realize that the Baby Jesus was the most important part of Christmas.
For old times’ sake, I made a blanket for myself this year (pictured). It’s helping me keep things in perspective.