Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas warms my heart like a nice cup of cocoa

BG is 5 months, 1 week and 4 days old.
I’m so far behind it’s comical. Part of it is being a new mom. Part of it is the economy. Part of it is the spirit of Christmas has not permeated. Usually, I’m an elf in human form, prancing around getting everything ready. This year, the year that Christmas turns into a kid’s paradise at our home, you’d think I’d be more into it but I’m not.
We’re still living in limbo. We desperately need a new rug and the current rug is a makeshift shabby sort. All my furniture has been pushed to the walls to accommodate foam alphabet mats, swing sets, bassinets, activity mats, blocks, mini chairs, you name it. The tree this year is fake with prelit but the adapter they gave me doesn’t fit the lights so it’s only half lit. {By the way, no one knows what type of adapter we need. Hubby went to Home Depot last night for light bulbs but forgot to ask. Guess we’re making another trip again.} My gift wrapping paper is still in storage.
And pretty much the only time I can make my gifts (I’m making them this year) is late at night when BG is asleep, we’ve finished dinner and I’m just about to get my stuff ready for work the next day. Of course, this is also the time my husband gently mentions that I’m not spending enough time with him and that I need to rest for work.
In his mind I make myself go crazy and if I didn’t have to do so much for Christmas then I wouldn’t get so wound up.
In reply, I present the following,
Things I wanted to do as part of my Christmas tradition that I am not doing this year:
1. Probably not going to have the Christmas train around the tree this year. It’s still in storage
2. Reduced the amount of Christmas cards (paper) I’m sending out. 95% is electronic, which is the route I wanted to go but we do have friends and family that are not owners of a computer so we need to send them cards. I’ve reduced this down significantly mostly on my side of the family that lives overseas.
3. Not having a Christmas roast beast this year. This year, we’re having turkey and only 2-3 sides.
4. Not using my fine china this year. Probably not going to use it for a few years with a toddler walking around. I’m trying to go Green but the idea of cooking and doing dishes is too much. Guess, I’m getting pretty paper plates and utensils at Target.
5. Not having my annual Christmas cookie blow out. Every year I make different cookies or treats to mail and deliver to loved ones. I only was able to muster up 1 batch of my crispy cherry chocolate chunk cookies this year, my old standby, and DH ate the entire batch. It also doesn't help that all my baking trays are in storage along with my holiday gift bags and boxes. Remember my husband was gung ho about moving? Guess, I’m going to try to make 2 more batches, 1 divided among the church and vet’s office and 1 divided among the mailman and delivery men. I may not have time to make cookies for gifts for my office and my dinner guests.
6. My husband singing O Tannenbaum and placing the Angel on our tree. This year, he didn’t sing it because I didn’t start it off and I wound up placing the Angel on our tree after numerous requests were not rewarded.
7. Decorating the tree while watching Elf and drinking red wine. Ok, the wine was nixed because of breastfeeding and my copy of Elf is still with my brother. Plus, with the baby spending most of her evenings with me, I had to piecemeal the Christmas tree decoration across several nights. Even then, I really had to force myself to finish the decorating. I hate feeling like such a Scrooge.

To make myself feel better here are some traditions that I am keeping with this year:
1. Baby Jesus does not display in the manager until Christmas Day. He hangs out and watches us until the middle of January.
2. No Christmas presents under the tree until Christmas Day excluding gifts from far away family although I’ll probably change that next year.
3. A new Christmas ornament commemorating something big from the year. This year, it is a sleigh with my daughter’s name on it.
4. A new Lenox Christmas ornament. This year, I hope Santa brings me a special baby’s ornament. Of course, I know this is probably our last year with most of my ornaments displayed for awhile. I plan to stock up on shatterproof ornaments for next year.
5. Christmas mass. This year, we’re reading at the Christmas Eve mass and I hope to also attend the Christmas morning mass but it depends on how everything goes.
6. An car for the train set commemorating something from the year. Again, this year Santa will be bringing my DH a train car. I’m sure you can guess what the commemorated event is.
7. Christmas Eve at my husband’s family’s home and Christmas Night at our home. It may be a smaller gatherings this year but the reason and memories will always be the focus.

There are some new traditions I hope to incorporate into our Christmas festivities.
I want to make my child’s Christmases special and family oriented. I had few Christmases with my family that focused on family time. It wasn’t as if they didn’t try it was just a sign of the times. Here are my memories I’d like to make for my family.
1. Christmas stockings by the bed. We don’t have a fireplace so this seems logical. Prior to our baby, I placed our filled stockings under the tree but by the bed seems pretty magical to me.
2. Christmas morning for our family, mom, dad and baby. We used to have to spend Christmas morning traveling to family but this year I start the new tradition of Christmas morning reserved for us. Hot chocolate, chocolate croissants and being together, whether it’s hanging out in bed together opening our stockings or sitting under our tree unwrapping presents.
3. New pajamas for our baby. Since we will be at our family’s home on Christmas eve, I plan to bring her pjs with us. When it’s time for bed, I’ll change her into her pjs so she’s ready for the crib when we get home. Of course, I could get us all new pjs but I’m not sure my husband is the type of guy who would wear matching pjs although a little piece of me would love to do that just once.
4. Obviously, the obligatory Christmas photo of baby or how can we make our kid look extra cute before they turn into teens/tweens and becomes noncompliant to wearing reindeer antlers.
5. Ok, this when the OCD kicks in, categories I must fill for Christmas for my child: clothing, books, a toy, a keepsake and Santa. Yes, my child will have at least 5 presents under the tree. Clothing as all kids need something to keep them warm like a hug. Books because my father gave me a n appreciation for books. A toy because kids love toys. A keepsake because I’m a sentimental fool. A Santa gift because every child should believe in magic. Don’t ask me why but it’s something I feel I want to do.

Finally there are traditions I’d love to start when my child is older:
1. Santa’s elf. How magical is it to have a special elf assigned to our house to watch over us and to report back to Santa on the daily naughties and niceties.
2. Santa’s cookies and reindeer carrots/hay. I suppose carrots would be easier than hay.
3. Book/Toy/Clothing donation. I’d like our child to prepare for the season by offering to share with others. I hope to do this between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I hope you start your own traditions or reflect on your family’s own. Sure, the Christmas mojo isn’t hitting many of us as hard as it usually does but the meaning and spirit of family and togetherness on Christmas is what truly is important and what you will remember years from now. You won’t remember that you used paper plates instead of fine china. You won’t care if you made a roast beast or had empanadas. What you will recall is the warm feeling in your heart or the smile on your family member’s face when that Christmas magic fills the air.