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Making the Holidays Special

  November 25

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8 months old!
8 months old!

Yesterday, I texted the hubs and asked if he wanted to get down the Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas music while we put them up. He was so happy I suggested it (and shocked) since usually he’s the one telling me it’s time to get everything together!

I don’t like the rush, rush and the materialism that surrounds the holiday but I realize that as the mom in this family, I have a responsibility to make sure my kids really have a special time. And by special time, I don’t mean 500 gifts but I mean showing interest in them and creating traditions because that’s the main way kids feel love – at least, that’s the way I feel love.

I had great Christmases as a kid but as we all grew up and then Hurricane Katrina forced us to move houses, things became a bit hit or miss depending on who was home and how challenging things were for my parents.

So, since it’s my first Christmas as a mom, I think this year is a real turning point for me.  My husband absolutely loves Christmas, and he’s really inspired me to try to make it great for these kids. I think a lot of people grumble about putting up decorations and the whole thing, but really it was nice and fun to get everything out and make the house festive.

The best part about having kids and a family is getting to enjoy them on Christmas morning (so they say). I truly believe that this is one of the privileges we get as parents, and we are only guaranteed about 18 Christmases with our children before they start wanting to have the holidays with their girlfriend’s family or they’re living in another country or taking their own vacations – all things that have happened in my own family. I’ve learned it’s really important to make these 18 Christmases matter and to make the memories (or the photos) they’ll have of them truly great.

The hubs and I will be here in New Jersey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure it would be nice to be living in Louisiana where we could see their grandparents in the afternoon after they open their presents Christmas morning, but that’s not the reality of our lifestyle. To be honest, it might not ever be a reality depending on where the Hubs matches for residency and where he gets his first job as a physician – things he and I can’t really control.

Because of that – because we don’t know where we’re going to be living each Christmas – he and I have to work together to make our own traditions and make our own little Christmas Day special.

I thought about all of this as I unpacked our box where we keep our special ornaments. I unpacked the one we got on our honeymoon, the one we bought right before we left Grenada when I was just a few weeks pregnant, the one we grabbed in London before we were even engaged, the ones my Aunt Linda made me for my bridal shower, the one I got the hubs the year he was accepted to medical school, the Thomas Jefferson ornament my mom bought me when I went to college at William and Mary, and the ones my best friend made for me and sent me the first Christmas after Katrina when we were in a tiny rental home and not my childhood home. All of these things tell our story and are so special to us as we’ve built our life together.

I know I say I’m a scrooge but maybe just maybe I’ll turn it all around for these babies. I want to create a Christmas season that they always want to come home to until they get married and have babies and start their own traditions.

I’ll be taking the rest of the week off to buy gifts and spend time with my extended family who is here for Thanksgiving and for the Beans’ christening on Saturday. I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday no matter where you are or who you spend it with.



17 responses to “Making the Holidays Special

  1. I’m sending all my love to you guys, Cat! It sounds like Christmas is going to be really special this year for your family! I agree that it’s not about the materialism, but the tradition of spending time and having traditions together. Things are going to change. They always do. But no matter where you’re living, the beans will feel at home when they’re with you. I’m really happy for y’all. 🙂

  2. I love putting up Christmas decorations while listening to Christmas music. Its the best time of the year! I miss having little cousins to play around with. The next generation hasn’t started yet for our family.

    I hope you and your family have a great holiday season. Cute babies btw!

  3. Aww good for you for making the holidays special for you and your family! 🙂

    We are in the same boat as far as not having any family nearby. This is the first year for us so we’re going to make the most of it. I’ve actually got a pumpkin cheesecake in the oven right now that we may or may not just dig into tonight, haha 🙂

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Enjoy the time off!

  4. Those kids are just too cute! I think now is a great time to embrace the holiday spirit, if for no other reason but to give your kids a good experience. I am sure it will be a different experience as a mom. Happy holidays Cat!

  5. Those adorable babies would make me want to celebrate and decorate too! 🙂 Happiest of holidays to you and your family.

  6. “…showing interest in them and creating traditions…” This is something we have worked really hard to do. We have several we do each Christmas that have become very special. Oddly enough we are breaking many of them this year as we will be going on vacation during Christmas instead of doing stockings and buying Christmas presents. Perhaps that becomes a new tradition we can build on.

  7. I think traditions are almost more special than gifts, which is why I think I have such a hard time with Christmas. I don’t have those special memories like a lot of other people do. I can image though as a new mom it must be pretty fun to celebrate that day and start your own family tradition. And having kids probably gives you a new perspective on that day. Enjoy your time off this week.

  8. Aww, what a cute picture!! I think you’re doing the right thing; decorating for Christmas was (and still is) my favorite holiday tradition when it comes to my parents. My dad hangs all the lights, my mom and I hang ornaments and place little knick-knacks around, and we all listen to Christmas music and enjoy ourselves. There’s no consumerism involved. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with family!

  9. Aw. Only or more than 18 years! The thought of our children being independent when they are adolescents hurt me. I feel now that it is something I want to avoid. Really… That’s why I and my wife are really preparing for this and having a closer relationship with our kids. By the way, your babies are really cute.

  10. Happy Christening to the beans and Happy Thanksgiving to you! I can only imagine that having kids would ignite a sort of extra enthusiastic feeling around the holidays. I’m excite for you! Enjoy 🙂

  11. Lovely, Cat. Your post has really motivated me to stop being lazy and decorate our house. You’re right about making your own traditions. Enjoy your first Christmas as a mom!

  12. Oh, this is so sweet! I’ve always been a Christmas fan, but the husband only started getting into it after we had kids, too. And just to keep things positive (because I really am grateful and know I’m lucky to live near family,) at least you don’t have to rush between houses! It is nice, but sometimes just chilling out on Christmas day sounds pretty nice, too.

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