There's a scene in the Muppet's Christmas Carol when Scrooge (Michael Caine) leaves the office on Christmas Eve, bound for his home and his ghostly encounters. Left behind is his clerk, Bob Cratchett - Kermit, and the other clerks - rats. And the narrator says, "And with their employer gone they began that most pleasant of activities - the celebration of Christmas." They then proceed to put things in order - book on the shelves, closing the blinds, and sweeping. All while singing the song about "One more sleep 'til Christmas."
I'm re-reading a book I love this time of year, "An Irish Country Christmas" by Alice Taylor. It is charming in her relaying of getting ready for Christmas many years ago in a small Irish village. One chapter is about the Christmas goose. How they care for the mama and papa geese all year and the little goslings are raised and fattened for Christmas. She goes into great detail of the seven geese they needed for Christmas, as gifts and special meals. The butchering by her mother and then each child having to pluck all the feathers from the, still warm, geese. How she manages to make this interesting and not disgusting is unfathomable, but she does. And it's all in preparation for Christmas.
Today my list is long and I have a choice - to see these chores and errands as necessary work, OR they can be the beginning of that most pleasant of activities - the celebration of Christmas. When we make a separation in our lives, and our childrens' lives, that says work is not part of the celebration we make a mistake. Don't let your children's Christmas work only be writing out their list for Santa. Let them in on the secret - the preparation is part of the celebration. We are short-changing our children, and ourselves, when we loose that knowledge.