Holiday adventures


Yesterday my 7 year old niece Riley and I did our ‘annual’ Christmas shopping together. This is the second year we have done it – possibly the third, years blur, what can I say? I found a photo from last year, but the year before I don’t recall.

During the year, she sometimes helps me work in my nursery. I track her ‘hours’ and we spend what she made at Christmas time, buying gifts for her family, as well as a few gifts for the local county toy drive that is run by the fire department. We get to hang out together, and always make a coffee stop. It’s a tradition I remember others in my life doing for me when I was little, and I figure a fun, easy lesson in saving money, giving back to others, and it’s adorable and hilarious to see what she picks out for people. I hope to do it with all my nieces and my nephew.


I try to take note of the things the kids say when I am when them; there is always that sense of ‘being in the moment’ with them, because a year from now, six months from now, they’ve moved on to bigger and bolder topics – I love how you can capture them in their specific moments in time, if that makes sense.


Anyway, yesterday with Riley , we had a few that stuck out. While driving south on PCH near sunset, she got really excited about the ocean and sun, so we stopped to look. I always try to watch the sunset on the solstices and equinoxes (and, well, really, most days in general) and it was fun to share that, to watch the sun as it dropped in a matter of seconds below Catalina island. We talked about it being the shortest day of the year, and how the earth rotates.


Winter solstice in HB.

The other highlight though, came while I was eating a late lunch at Nicks on Main Street before we dug into our shopping. We were discussing where we’d take her gifts – to her house for her immediate family to open first thing on Christmas morning, or to my mom’s, her grandma, where we all meet up around 10am that day. “You mean, so they can open mine at Grandma’s, after I open the presents Santa brought me at MY house, and after you open the presents Santa brought you to YOUR apartment?” CUTEST. THING. EVER. It had never occurred to me to think about how a little kid sees the idea of Santa as being for EVERYONE, and in her mind, though I never spoke of it, he clearly makes a stop at my place even though I’m an adult with no kids, just as he stops at her’s, her cousins, friends, etc.

I am now going to have to figure out what items in my home to tell her Santa has brought me over the years…


Riley’s photo of me. Winter Solstice 2013.

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