A little on the late side, but here we go.
Christmas was lovely. The relativity short family time windows were relaxed and pleasant. The gifts were generous. The baby was adorable. It was a lovely holiday.
New traditions were explored. I personally like the Santa myth, so we’re going to push it a little, and we totally used this year as a practice run. For example: all the presents from us were wrapped in white and silver wrapping paper (Ikea makes the best Christmas paper) and everything from Santa was in bright garish paper. Jess “opened” a present on Christmas Eve – something I always loved doing as a kid. But this year, it was festive pjs, and as a friend of mine pointed out, the problem with doing that is that they get them near the end of the festive season, not at the beginning, where you’d get more use out of them. So next year, Jess will get cute Christmas pjs on the 1st of December (all other organizational skills being equal…). David and I did advent calendars again – lego and playmobile. My inner six year old loves them.
One of the big things that my family always did differently, growing up, was to spread the present opening out. On Christmas Eve, you got a present. (The compromise from my father’s German upbringing when everything was opened on the Eve.) Christmas Morning you got stockings, and Christmas afternoon you got to open a few presents, and the rest of the day was spent eating and playing games and going to family dinners. Boxing Day you’d open another presents, and then maybe 2 days later you’d open another one, and it finally wrapped up by New Year’s Eve, at the latest.
Now, that makes it sound like there was a ton of presents, but really, there wasn’t – it was just spread out more so that it felt like more. The anticipation of opening gifts was often more exciting that the gifts themselves. (So many socks.) It was great in many ways, because the holiday felt longer, and richer, and the anticipation went on. My mom’s birthday is mid-December, and the house rule was that you couldn’t start any form of Christmas decorations or celebrations until December 14th, so we couldn’t stretch the holiday out earlier in the month.
I think this is actually a great tradition, but it does mean that I am super, super uncomfortable around people who just like, dive in and are done opening things by 10 am on Christmas Morning. In part because I just don’t get it, and in part because opening that much stuff – that much conspicuous consumption all at one – makes me squirm. It seems harder to enjoy each present because you’re so overwhelmed by ALL THE STUFF. Harder to be genuinely excited by each gift. Harder to remember all that you received. Harder to teach the baby about gratitude and appreciation and leisurely holidays. I’m not saying that everyone else is doing it wrong or anything – just that it’s wrong for me, and I like the way we do it. It won’t surprise you, I’m sure, to learn that growing up only one person opened a gift at a time, and it was then passed around and duly admired before the next person took their turn. Luckily David is willing to go with my delayed gift opening, even if he doesn’t fully understand why opening a pile of presents all at once makes me squirm.
One nice perk for this is that by the end of the week, Jess finally figured out the hows and whys of ripping wrapping paper. That picture is of the very last present that she opened, and it was the first one where she did much of the paper removal. She was really, really excited to have figured it out, and it was adorable.
It was a lovely week. David was home, and we had very little to do and just hung out and played games and snuggled the baby and opened presents and ate food and watched shows and drank drinks and generally enjoyed the hell out of each other’s company. Just lovely.