Kids change everything.
Christmas used to be whatever we wanted it to be. When I worked in retail it was sometimes my only day off that holiday week. I made it the day for us. And only us. No fancy meal was served. No dressing up to go visit family or host a group of people. It was perfect. We went out to dinner just the two of us for many years. Once or twice, we stayed in PJs all day and ate ramen for dinner. Those days were still perfect Christmases. If we didn’t feel like putting up the tree, I would cut a Christmas tree shape out of wrapping paper and tape it to the wall.
Now we have a little one to worry about. Christmas is no longer just about the two of us. I still reserve that day just for us. No going to grandparents. No hosting events. It’s our day. That’s how it was growing up and I loved it. You start the day opening presents and then you get to play. All. Day. Long. It’s perfect really. This year is an exception to that rule since who knows what our plans really are for that week yet. And of course it leads to the grandparents bring involved on whatever our Christmas Day may be. Since I’ll most likely be induced the week of Christmas, we may celebrate early in our home…
One thing I don’t want Christmas to be, however, is excessive. Yes, tons of presents ARE awesome. But he is 21 months old. He doesn’t understand needing more things to open. We buy him things throughout the year because as fast as they change at this age, so do the toys they are entertained by. Last year, I read about the idea of only 4 gifts. Something they want, something they need, something they’ll wear, and something they’ll read. I love it. Now if only I could explain successfully to relatives that while we appreciate the gifts, quality, not quantity would be great…
Around Bean’s first birthday we discovered the Little People Talking Zoo. We wanted it for him. Had to have it even. And we have displayed amazing will power by waiting and giving it to him for Christmas. We also bought every single one of the animals that goes with it. He’ll get those throughout the year for random events. And we bought both vehicles. Each set of grandparents will be giving him one.
These are always a stretch. I believe last year we got him the Melissa and Doug “clacker”/walker toy. Because he needed a walker toy of some sort 🙂 This year I’m giving him a lunch tote. Specifically the Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie. A Zebra. He starts school in the fall, and won’t need to pack a lunch. But this will prepare him for trips to the playground and outings with his new sibling. Maybe he’ll let me store some breast milk in it. They’ll be a Monkey straw cup in there too. Because he needs to be coordinated.
This is another one we had trouble holding out on until Christmas. His first backpack. Again, the Skip Hop Zoo collection wins. We had him try the backpacks on during a few different shopping trips. He was crazy about the fox and the giraffe. It made the decision surprisingly difficult, but in the end I went with giraffe. It makes the most sense. And a fox would not have coordinated well with a zebra and monkey.
Another stretch for a 21 month old. We’re still in the rip books apart stage. It’s fun. It’s also the time when he refuses to sit and let you read him a book. Fun times. Totally. I made him a fabric book using Lorax panels. The Lorax is my absolute favorite Dr. Seuss book and I hope he eventually feels the same way. The fabric book version will be great because it is quite condensed and it will be whatever story the reader chooses since not all the words are included.
I think it’s quite the successful Christmas. I’m looking forward to him ripping into the packages and finding his goodies. And then maybe snuggling on the couch as a family of 3 and watching a movie. I want to start traditions with him. Beyond the want, need, wear, read, I’m not sure what we will do. I’m sure things will evolve on their own and grow over time. I can’t wait to see where we end up. But wow. Kids change everything.
What holiday traditions do you have? Do you have a method to your Christmas buying madness? I remember learning my mom kept strict track of what was spent on who to keep things fair. I’m sure I will do the same, but I think I want to keep the 4 gift element a part of it as well.