This post was started on Christmas Eve morning and then before I could finish and post, the littles woke up and the computer was turned off for the last two days.
This Christmas has been a bit unusual in a handful of ways. Just moving into a house with many many projects, not feeling fully settled yet, big pregnant belly to work around (though I suppose this is the 3rd time this has happened at Christmas time and is almost a norm by this point)… a “stripped back Christmas”, as we’ve been calling it.
No fuss. Minimal holiday decorations. Minimal holiday outings instead of here and there and everywhere. Only one Christmas movie watched, and only watched by the boys. Even cut back some family gatherings.
Yet, this has been one of my favorite Christmases. Low stress, low pressure, low expectations. Just enjoying the family and our time together, making our new house a home.
Normally, I go all out for holiday decor and make it “just right”. A perfectly thought-out beautiful tree, decorated entirely by myself and no little hands. Pretty lights strung up outside. Christmas treats. Christmas event after outing after family gathering. Frustrating stress over presents that “had” to be bought, for people I hardly know.
This year…. all I wanted was for my tree to be up with lights on it and have my area rug and 2 couches in the living room before Christmas. That’s all. None of the other fluff. Not that the rest is bad, or that I’ll never do it again. But this year? This year I just wanted minimal. I needed minimal.
For our “stripped back Christmas”, I let my perfectionist self take a back seat. Rather, I made it.
Instead, I spent one afternoon making paper snowflakes with the boys. Normally, I wouldn’t want to put “ugly” paper on my windows. This year, I enjoyed how in awe it made the boys to have them watch mom fold up a simple piece of computer paper, make some cuts, and unfold it to see the magical snowflake that appeared.
This year, I let Zeek and Asher decorate the only tree we put up after Thanksgiving – their little 3 ft fake pre-lit tree. They decorated the window with white die-cut Christmas tree’s hanging in a random array. They insisted on putting the gaudy lit up candy cane in the window as well. And this year? This year, I let them. I let them have their way with all the decorations.
We had bought a Groupon for a local Christmas tree farm that we had went to last year as well (and loved) and it expired on Dec. 14th, so we had a little bit of a deadline to get the tree in the living room by that date.
Work wasn’t quite finished by then, but we went and got our tree anyway. We arrived at the tree lot on the last day, in the last hour. The boys tromped around and we fairly quickly picked a tree that was perfect for us. (Quite frankly, I think it’s my favorite tree that we’ve ever picked.)
Our attempt at a sorta-kinda-family-photo (and Zeek, who thinks it’s just hilarious to make faces at the camera…)
And me, wearing the only coat that will still (barely) zip around my belly!
The boys both got to help daddy with cutting the tree down:
Though we got our tree, it still sat in our drive way for 3 days, and then finally was brought up and sat in our dining room for another 3 days, before FINALLY on Monday night, we pulled the tree into the almost-mostly-finished living room and decorated it.
While ornaments ended in clumps in some areas, the boys loved helping me hang them around the tree and “make it pretty”. And honestly? It’s one of my favorite tree’s to date. Love the little hands that helped me decorate. After the tree was done, they excitedly ran back and forth from the playroom (where all the present had been stored the last few weeks) and the living room, placing each gift under our tree.
On Christmas Eve eve, we had our own tradition that we started a few years ago of reading the story of Jesus’ birth, opening stockings, and opening one gift of their choosing.
Tanya, I promise Skyler’s wearing clothes. I know it seems that I’ve married a nudist.
Choosing the present they wanted to open… They knew IMMEDIATELY that these ones were more Safari Ltd. Toobs (their favorite toys ever) and they wanted to open these ones.
Asher got a Toob of trains and one of “Things in the Air” (airplanes, hot air balloon, jets, bi-planes, etc). Zeek got one of trees (I know that doesn’t SOUND exciting, but he has several of the animal ones already and asked for the Toob of trees for the animals to hide in!), and Arctic Animals.
They loved them and Asher had his favorite trains and airplanes selected quite quickly and was toting them around for the rest of the evening.
Christmas Eve morning, this mama was up early. Enjoying the still. The quiet. The beautiful lights that had so recently graced my living room. And I waited. Waited for the little pitter patter of four footie jammie feet coming down the hallway.
We had a lovely Christmas Eve eve and “Christmas” morning as our own little family. Our own little traditions. Making memories with the boys. It’s good. It’s been stripped back… and gooood. Thankful for stepping back this year, slowing down, and enjoying the family time we had and new traditions we started.
More Christmas to come in the next post.