One thing is clear as we look around RVA…

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    …and flip through this issue of RFM: The Christmas season is here! From Joan Tupponce’s whimsical behind-the-scenes look at Richmond Ballet and The Nutcracker on page 12 (they go through how many pairs of pointe shoes?!) to our fabulous holiday giveaways on page 9, we’ll have you humming your favorite Christmas carol by the time you can say ho-ho-ho.

    My boys sure are in the spirit, as evidenced by the eye-opening letters they handed me for Santa earlier this evening. For a week now, my 6-year-old has said he doesn’t need to write a list because, “I have the list in my head and Santa can see that one.”

    “Um, okay, but how about if you illustrate one for him too. Won’t that be fun?” I ask and… success! “Great idea, Mom!” (That’s my favorite phrase, by the way. It’s right up there with the much less-often heard, “You’re right, Dear.”)

    His list started out tame enough – a set of markers (Sa-weet, I’m thinking, lucky Santa!). And then, there it was – a perfectly rendered iPhone 6 Plus – with its case illustrated separately! Boy, how times have changed. I am quite sure that wasn’t in the Sears Wish Book when I was a kid. Not even in the Best Products catalog when I was a bigger kid. And when I turned the paper over to see the rest of his drawings, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a drum set, a piano, and a light-up microphone stand. “Hey what about that pony you said you wanted after that great birthday party at the farm?” I reminded him, figuring hey, what the heck at this point. “Oh, I don’t think they can live on the North Pole, Mom, it’s too cold.” Shew! Oh, how I long for the days when they were happy with just the empty box and the wrapping paper to crinkle up (and eat). Sigh.

    I’ve read a lot online lately about giving experience gifts over toys, and giving the gift of your presence over presents, but how do you wrap those and put them under the tree? As lovely as they sound, will they really get the big squeals we parents of little ones hope for on Christmas morning? But how do we possibly live up to the grand Christmas wishes of 2014, especially when budgets are tighter than Santa’s suit after a plateful of cookies.

    These are not questions to which I have answers, sadly, but I do know this: This month’s Real Mom is on the right track. Her recipe for holiday success includes ideas like Unplug, Simplify, and Rest. Sounds like a great plan to me!

    And don’t worry – Santa has assured me that he won’t be bringing an iPhone 6 Plus (with case!) to a 6-year-old. But he does have his eye on a fantastic set of markers.

    From all of us at RFM, happy, happy holidays!

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    Margaret Thompson
    Margaret Thompson never thought she’d be a business owner (or a mom for that matter!), but after realizing a need for a high quality, content-focused magazine for Richmond area families, she dove in! With twenty years of marketing and project management under her belt, she pulls all of the pieces together each month to get RFM out to our eager readers. Mom of two young boys, Margaret and her husband Chris live in Hanover County.