I have never been a huge fan of holidays, but ever since having kids, I’ve fallen back in love with Christmas.
When we moved to Seattle 3+ years ago, we had to completely change our Christmas traditions. Actually, Tim and I never really had our own Christmas traditions, because in Chicago we generally spent Christmas Day driving to 2-3 different houses to celebrate with immediate and extended family. I always found the day to be fun, but overly exhausting.
Now that we’re in Seattle without family nearby, we celebrate Christmas by heading to the mountains, and I love it! For the past three years we’ve woken up, eaten a quick breakfast, and driven about an hour to the mountains to play in the snow. I’m happy to say that this tradition has gotten more fun each year! (Which is a really good thing because the first year it was a disaster and last year wasn’t much better!)
On Christmas this year we arrived home from sledding in the middle of the afternoon and the girls drank hot chocolate, ate snacks, helped me to make cinnamon rolls, and we opened presents while our lasagna dinner was baking in the oven. We concluded the day by watching a few old Christmas movies and snuggling on the couch. It was fantastic!
Because I am most definitely not a fun parent, only put a very few presents out for the girls to open on Christmas Day. This year they opened gifts from me and Tim (we bought them each a pair of slippers and a book), and a gift from their uncle (who is in town visiting), and gifts they each picked out for each other (with a lot of parental help). They have yet to open gifts from other friends and family members… but we’ll get to it soon! I like to drag out the gifts as long as possible because I really enjoy seeing them play with the presents for a long time, instead of skipping right to the next one. Currently, they are happy with their new toys, so I’ll hold off on giving them more gifts until we have some down time. I am quite sure this whole thing drives the grandparents crazy because we may be the only people ever who don’t allow their kids to open all of their gifts on Christmas morning but… (shrug).
I like to keep Christmas low-key. I like not overwhelming my kids (and us) with too many things in a short period of time. I like having a slow morning and spending time outdoors and creating memories like Tim and I had in the Midwest on white Christmas mornings. I also like focusing the day on the birth of Jesus and spending time together. Not that I do any of that perfectly – but I try!
We did a few Christmas activities before the holiday, and there are still some things on my bucket list that may or may not happen this year. What’s most important to me is that we pick out a Christmas tree (check!), we send out Christmas cards (check!), we see Christmas lights (check!), we bake cinnamon rolls for Tim’s birthday – which is on Christmas Eve (check! Although a few days late), we go snowshoeing or ice skating or sledding or some other outdoor activity (check!), we watch some traditional Christmas movies (check!), we go to at least one holiday market (check!) and that we go to church (check!). Everything else we manage to do is a bonus.
So… mission accomplished. Christmas happened, and although I will admit that we had some stressful moments leading up to it (because I procrastinated on quite a few things, such as sending cards and gifts!), it was overall a really nice time. And I think the girls loved it. Now, of course, we’re taking the rest of the week to recover from all of it. We’ve done a few activities, but we’ve also spent a lot of time hunkered down together, relaxing. I love this time of year. Sometimes I’m tempted to plan a trip during the few weeks Tim takes off work, but in the moment I realize how nice it is for all of us to just be at home together.
Now I’m off for a date with my 2019 Powersheets so I can plan the upcoming year!
I hope your 2018 is ending on a high note!