It's hard to stay grounded during the holiday season, and we have good intentions to not get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. But as our lists grow, sometimes we lose sight of what matters. So we asked our mama friend, Carolina Andes - new mom to four - how her Christmas might look a little different this season. She discuses how they are going to approach Christmas with a few helpful tips you might want to incorporate! Read below for more!
On Thanksgiving we sat with our extended family in a circle and shared how grateful we each were - and it brought to mind the quote that “gratitude turns what we have, into enough”. We spend an entire day being grateful for what we already have
And yet the next day, I found myself frantically online shopping and sending my husband wish lists of things I want, and being tempted to go over budget for our kids. I felt the anxiety of getting everyone in our extended family a gift, getting to all the Christmas parties on time, saying “yes” to every friend’s party invite, getting our tree perfectly decorated, having countless gifts extending from out under the tree, and stockings overflowing…
And all for what? For whom?
What do I want my kids to remember about Christmas? How stressed mommy was, telling them to stop touching the tree and trying to get everyone out the door on time? Do I want them to remember being on tour from one house to the next, rushing and saying “thank you” like trained parrots when they haven't had a moment to know what they're saying it for? Do I want them to remember opening gift after gift, discarding one to see whats next?
This year we have a newborn - our fourth child, our first daughter, our last baby. This is the first Christmas with our family being complete. It’s our last Christmas with a tiny baby in my arms, the first Christmas our 3.5 year old feels all the magic of the holiday season. And so we’re slowing down. We don't want Christmas to be about the gifts and the parties and the decorations.
So our tree is kid friendly, and there’s not a single gift under it, because I don't want to have to stress myself out with telling my 2 year old not to touch them. I’m saying no to all the parties, even though I’d love to be there - but I’d rather be home, with my little family, cherishing this season that we’re in. There will never be another Christmas just like this, with a new little baby that we’re all getting to know. Aiden will never be 7 again, our toddlers will never be this young again.
And we want them to feel that magic, that gratitude, within our family. So while there will still be gifts on Christmas morning and we still brought Santa our Christmas lists, we’re spending the season around a tree with no gifts underneath, but love surrounding it. We made a mess all over the kitchen table baking sugar cookies that didn't turn out so well - but our children had a blast! Our tree is kid proof and we’re enjoying this season with toddlers rearranging ornaments. We’re spending mornings in our pajamas playing around the tree, with a toddler climbing under it and my husband keeping it from falling, nursing a new babe and laughing at the chaos of our family of 6.
On Christmas, we won’t be traveling from house to house - my parents are divorced, and we will spend a day before Christmas with each of them. Christmas Eve we will be with my husband’s family, and on Christmas Day, we aren't leaving the house!
This Christmas morning, there will be gifts under the tree and stocking filled with little toys and candy - but this year, we’ll have a new tradition. There will be a Christmas card for each kid in their stocking. My husband and I picked cards for each child and are writing why we are grateful for who they were in 2017, and what they learned. This year, they may not care too much to read it as they skip ahead to their bikes and candy canes, but someday they'll have years of cards to look back on, to see how we used Christmas to cherish the greatest gift we have - each other.