Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Christmas....

Santa spoiled everyone in 2012.
Yep... I said it... It is three months away today. Christmas is coming faster then we can blink. Time to start getting ready!
Now Christmas has traditionally been my favorite holiday of the year. Buying presents for everyone I love, going to pick out the perfect real Christmas tree. Singing Dolly Parton's Christmas CD while baking in my kitchen. I love those things!
Oh the memories.... I remember each year as a child piling into Dad's van. Mom, Dad, Jackie, always Amanda and I would sing at the top of our lungs. We would head out to this little tree farm about 40 minutes away. Each of us heading in a different directly, yelling out loud "WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE MOM!!!", because her stamp of approval was the only way Dad was cutting it down. We tracked bunny poop trails trying to figure out where that bunny could be. We had snowball fights,of course Dad always threw one too hard and made one of us cry, resulting in Mom scolding him. I digress.... When the perfect tree was finally selected, Mom circled it numerous times before giving Dad the go ahead. We all excitedly stood around and yelled "Timberrrrrrrrrrr" as it fell to the ground. Dragging it to the front of the lot, we would sing another Christmas song. Then we would each have a cup of hot apple cider while Dad paid for the tree and loaded it  onto the van. The ride home was much like the ride to the tree farm. The excitement still high because we all knew that heading home to decorate the tree was next on the to do list.
That is what Christmas is.... That is why I love Christmas. Those are the memories I want to give my little girl. Those songs are the ones I want her to sing.
Why does that feel so far from what Christmas has become? Last year we knew we would be driving to Toronto to be with our family for the holidays. We debated getting a real tree or none at all. After all, we wouldn't be there for Christmas anyways. In the end I decided it was important to me, to have a tree in our home.We had a three year old who was excited for the holiday.We went crazy purchasing gifts for our everyone in the family even though we had all agreed before hand that it was only for the children and not to spend money on gifts for adults (why does this happen, even with the beforehand conversation?).  We piled into the truck and made the long trek home to Ontario. Arriving 20 hours later in our home province, we were finally able to spend some time with our family.
The long long drive to Toronto....
A little bit excited that we are almost there!!!
It was wonderful. We spent 7 days in Ontario. There was a lot of running around, a lot of laughs, a few glasses of wine and the children played until they fought over toys and giggled until they couldn't anymore.
Jordon and I's families came together for Christmas eve to let the children exchange gifts, followed by a large Christmas dinner on Christmas day! It is incredible to see two families merge. And I was grateful that we could all spend that time together.
Cookie decorating with Grampie
That being said, it was extremely difficult. We ran back and forth between my parents home and Jordon's sisters home during that week. Trying to divide our time when we couldn't all be together. It was important that we see everyone and share our time.
It was exhausting. Day 7, we packed up the truck, which was so packed with gifts received that we could not have fit another thing in there if we tried and got ready to hit the road. Doping Kaylee up with gravol as she gets extremely motion sick, we pushed through horrific weather. 28 hours later, we arrived home. We unpacked the truck, tried to find homes for everything we has brought home and settled into a pair of jammies to relax. We had one day before having to return to work. Pooped!!! I was pooped!
Tuckered right out!
This year Jordon and I looked into flying home for Christmas to avoid the long drive, bad weather. The price tag of said flights.... $2700 FOR THREE OF US!!!!!! That is outrageous. Absolutely insane...

So this year... I really would love to get back to basics. Stick to the no gifts except for the children. Go and pick out a Christmas tree with Kaylee. Wake up in my own bed Christmas morning, pour my cup of tea into my favorite mug, take a seat on my couch and watch my little girl open her gifts. No rush. No running around. No chaos. Just a quiet simple Christmas at home. 

Arriving back home in Halifax. New dollhouse has
been reassembled!
Do I wish that I lived an hour away from my family so we could wake up and spend Christmas morning at our house and then spend the rest of the day with family? Of course! That would be ideal. Its a dream I hope is someday attainable. I hope to be sharing many Christmas dinners with all of my family.  This year however, Jordon and I sat and talked, with the limited time off work, I think we are just going to stay home.
Snuggles with PoppaBear.
Snuggles with Auntie Cher and Jaron!

In the car driving with Auntie Jackie
All of that being said, in a recent discussion with my therapist  friend Holly, we were discussing Christmas traditions. What do you buy for your almost 4 year old who wants everything! How do you sign the presents? From Mommy & Daddy, or from Santa? Do you wrap your stocking stuffers? What traditions did you grow up with? What traditions did your husband grow up with? How do you compromise or create your own tradition together?  All questions she threw out there for me. 

I am going to answer those and then ask you- my far and few between readers the same questions.

How do you decide what to buy for your children?

Playing with her new dollhouse!
My honest answer here... Is that I am an impulse buyer. I try and stick to a guideline of a few toys, a few new outfits and always some books. This usually however turns into excessive amounts of everything she loves. Guilty as charged...

How do you sign your gifts?

I sign 98% of the gift from Santa or someone else at the North Pole. I.e. Prancer, Vixen, Mrs. Clause, The elves, Rudolf.

Do you wrap stocking stuffers?

Time to rip them all open!!!
I wrap everything. From new lip chap in a stocking, to the new dollhouse. It all gets wrapped. I think of the evenings when she goes to bed and I spread everything out on the living room floor and spend hours wrapping and decorating each gift, so that Christmas morning, that shinny paper and those pretty bows, reflect in that little girls eyes. I love those moments.

What traditions did I grow up with?

Christmas morning... A little outrageous right?
All of them! I told you about our Christmas tree tradition. But we shared all of our holiday traditions together. Christmas eve my sister and I would always sleep in the same bed. We would wake up at crazy o'clock in the morning with our stockings on the end of our bed. Rule was we were allowed to open our stockings in our room. Then we would have to wait until Mom told us we could get up. (She was usually just as excited as us and if we didn't wake her up before 6am, she woke us up!). We then spent the entire morning unwrapping gifts and having breakfast. We would guess what some gifts were. Dad would drive us crazy by opening gifts without ripping the paper. It was a form of taunting us. Slowing the process down. Mom would usually start cooking breakfast sometime in the middle of gift opening. My parents loved to spoil us. Christmas was about our family of four. After breakfast we would usually head to Nanny and Poppa's house or they to ours. The turkey dinner that followed always had everyone in bed before 9pm. 

What was Christmas like for my Husband?

We haven't spoken in depth about this. Probably because we for 12 years have been trying to form our own traditions. But from what I remember of conversations we have had, his family would leave their home in Ontario and drive to Quebec for Christmas's. With all of their extended family there, they would travel and spend the holidays amongst the group. I know his Mother loved Christmas. She loved the give to everyone. So I can only imagine, he like myself was spoiled rotten each and every Christmas. I know from the one Christmas I spent at his family in Quebec's home, that the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Christmas TAPE, was played about 1000 times over the holidays. Cooking and baking was endless as were the laughs and love shared.

How have we compromised to create our own traditions?

Hubby with his new hat!
I think we have both simply incorporated what was important for us growing up. For myself, a real tree was important to me. Jordon could do with or without a real tree. I trumped him on that one. For him, sitting beside the tree on Christmas morning and handing out the gifts to everyone is his favorite part. Most other aspects of the traditions, were similar. We agree it is now about our daughter. Precious moments spent together. It is a time of love, laughs, relaxation and great food (okay, maybe a glass of wine or two as well).

So, there you have it. Christmas in a nut shell. So now I ask the same questions of you. I would love to hear your responses. Readers love seeing other peoples answers. So take a couple of minutes and let me know about your Christmas. Are you excited this year?

Thanks again for stopping by and Happy Hump Day! 

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