Our typical post-Thanksgiving traditions were a little delayed due to Theo’s condition and hospital stay. So we spent this weekend catching up by finding our Christmas tree and decorating the house. It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner now, AND we’re still in the thick of a Pandemic. I think most of us have found a way to live with it and carry on with a new normal. Even still, we have to make so many adjustments.
It continues to be tough and discouraging, having restrictions and social distancing from family and friends. Your usual holiday traditions are looking grim, as they may be cancelled or unsafe. We may not be able to sit on Santa’s lap this year but we can come up other fun ideas to make it the best holiday season ever. For the past 15 years, I’ve gotten together with my bestfriends from high school to have a gingerbread house competition and this year we will be doing it virtually. No, it won’t be the same, but it will still be fun and bring us a lot of laughs. So let’s try to remain positive and keep the Christmas spirit alive. You have to, if not for yourself, but for you kids.
I challenge you to be jolly, to push yourself, and to create a magical Christmas for yourself and loved ones at home. The “Home for the Holidays Bucket List” will give you all the tools to enjoy the most wonderful time of year.
This year has taught us so much. Slow down and embrace the things around you. Don’t let what you can’t control consume you. You can still make the most of this holiday season, even if we are “stuck” at home. So…make it magical and memorable! Share your favorite traditions in the comments below.
Let the chaos commence! Am I right? Don’t get me wrong, I love this season. I just can’t believe it’s already here. Have you started planning out how you’re going to manage your holidays? Or are you the person who’s already done some Christmas shopping and the tree is up? I am not. I really just put away some Halloween decorations I just found. But my mind is already turning over how to handle the upcoming festivities.
Like I said, I love the holidays. Having kids now makes it so much magical. Seeing everything through their eyes… watching how excited they get when you drive by a house with Christmas lights on… or witnessing their reaction to meeting Santa Claus. It’s all so wonderful. However, the holiday season can certainly be exhausting when you are towing little ones along. Trying to see everyone, making sure we packed everything…And when or where will they nap?! I felt myself becoming anxious over the upcoming holidays about two years ago, with our first born getting a little older. What should be an exciting and enjoyable time of year, was turning into a dreaded hassle. I even considered traveling so we didn’t have to deal with it!
Sometimes family members have high expectations of you committing all your time to visiting them. This can be so hard if you have both sides of the family, and even more so with split families. Not to mention if you have family living far away. Our first couple of years with one child we actually squeezed in seeing everyone all in one day. Our families live in the same state, but it was still over 2 hours of driving in one day to see them all. It was hectic, rushed, and stressful. Trying to please everyone can be so grueling, and then have a negative effect on your family or kids.
The first two years as parents, we were so caught up in pleasing everyone else that we never spent a Christmas morning in our own house, with our own little family. Part of me regrets that because we didn’t have a special ‘Christmas morning’ experience with our first baby or pictures to look back on. So last year, I decided enough was enough. We would not be fitting in both sides of the family on one day. Our children deserve a slow quiet morning in their own home. Giving them time to enjoy opening presents and playing with them instead of running off to the next house. It’s also not fair to the little ones to be pulled away from playing with their cousins or enjoying the quality family time. Cutting them short of that special time usually doesn’t go well either…do I need to explain further? I don’t think so.
You can’t satisfy everyone so put your little family first. If you and your partner are unhappy, then it will likely reflect on the children and/or stress them out. So brainstorm and consider your options. For example, we decided to celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband’s family, Christmas morning as our own little family at home, then Christmas afternoon/evening with my side of the family.
Here are a few ideas:
Alternate the holiday each year. Thanksgiving with one side, Christmas with the other, and then switch the following year.
Split the holiday into two separate days.
Have everyone come to your house.
Consider starting a new tradition, like baking together or meeting up for a walk.
Or my newest plan…go travel! Just kidding, but not a bad idea… just a really bad year for it.
Whatever you decide on, be clear about your plans and stand your ground. You’re doing what is best for your children. And if you have a difficult time with your family, then at least this year you can use the pandemic as an excuse! Depending on what state you live in, the law can really be on your side this time! Or maybe you really are nervous about larger gatherings because you have a new baby or small children. I know I am, our youngest is 9 months and I’m very cautious about who we visit. So…leave it at that… it’s the pandemic’s fault you can’t see too many people in one day! Then your extended family will see how nice it is to enjoy you without cutting the visit short, setting a precedence for the years to come.
In the end, do what brings you joy. Have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season, from my family to yours.