I wasn’t really in the mood for Christmas this year. However, I love spending time with family and friends. I just want it to be relaxed and stress-free.
I decorated a little (hey, at least the tree is up!) and Christmas-shopped (on the 23rd, with my 15-mo-old in tow, but it got done and Beanie was EXTREMELY well-behaved). I did a little baking, even after swearing off sugar, gluten, and dairy (which only lasted a day or two, but my stomach is happier for it, and Beanie has been sleeping through the night, so objective accomplished). We had our choir concert (despite a few hiccups, it went splendidly), family dinners (remarkably low-drama on both sides), church service (but my husband and I had nursery duty, and the power went out, so we didn’t get to participate), and Christmas morning with the kids today (the day after Christmas). It was a great weekend!
But it didn’t really feel like Christmas! I think the weather had a lot to do with it. It doesn’t feel like winter, and Christmas is supposed to be kind of an escape from winter (at least, in my mind). Warmth, family, fun — all while the weather outside is “frightful”.
Another part of the problem is that I like to work up to Christmas with music, movies, more decorations, etc, and I felt kinda disconnected from it this year. I listened to music in the car, sure, but we weren’t in the car that often. I’m not bombarded with visual or aural media anymore, not having a central radio in the house or subscription to cable. I’m actually very glad for the lack of media bombardment, because I have gotten to a point where I strongly dislike most contemporary Christmas music, and Christmas ads on TV are overwhelming and the programming is often pretty shallow.
Then, for a couple weeks leading up to the last few days before Christmas, Beanie was waking every two to four hours with teething pain, gas bubbles, or a desire to be fed, and I was turning into a mindless zombie who could barely function enough to do laundry. He’s slept through the night for several nights now, so I have more or less gotten caught up on sleep (thank goodness!), but not in enough time to be fully prepared for the holidays.
Now that I’ve gotten all that out of my system . . . We had a great Christmas, really! I just feel like I was kind of sideswiped by it and am left wondering what happened. 🙂
It was fun to watch Pie open his gifts without help this year, and play with them! He appreciates books and toys more than he did last year. Beanie had fun, too, and it will be even more fun next year when HE is more aware of what a present is, and that it might contain something fun just for him.
I’ve lowered my expectations a lot over the past few years, especially since I started to struggle with the “true meaning of Christmas”, and what I wanted to teach my children about it. Even though we haven’t really made a solid decision or any real solid family traditions (other than dinner(s) and gift-opening time with the rest of the family, and my husband and I watching Black Adder Christmas Carol after the boys have gone to bed), I think we have done well by not emphasizing the presents quite as much to Pie. He was thrilled with what he got, but he didn’t run around asking for more, or saying, “Is that ALL?”. Granted, he did run around stealing other people’s gifts like they were his — especially Beanie’s — but Christmas isn’t (yet) ALL about the present-getting. I’m hoping we can do some crafts next year and emphasize the GIVING, because that always makes me feel more Christmasy — when I can make something I know someone will like, and see the smile on their face when they get it.
So here’s to a new year, wherein I promise to do so much better NEXT Christmas than I did this year. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, I won’t raise my expectations much, because it’s kind of relaxing when all I expect is good times with family and friends. 🙂
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I did have to do a little self-training in regards to my own “Christmas getting” attitude. I didn’t have a lot of presents to open that were just for me at any of the gift-opening activities we did, including our own little family’s — and I really do love opening presents. However, that was just due to a shipping snafu on my husband’s part, so I do have some surprises coming to me in the next few weeks. As much as I like presents ON Christmas, I also like presents AFTER Christmas, so it kind of works out well. 🙂 I also know he was thinking of me, and put a lot of time into what he ordered, so I’m not even going to drop hints to make him feel bad. But it is pretty funny. 😉