The countdown to the most Magical day of the year, has begun… at least for children. I remember when I was growing up the anticipation of Christmas morning was so exciting. Laying in bed trying to stay awake to hear the reindeer’s hoofs on the roof, then waking up to all of those gifts left under the tree and stockings overflowing. And to be repetitive, it was Magical. I of course knew what the REAL meaning of Christmas was, and as a family we participated in all church activities. I wish I had the picture of one play I participated in… if I remember correctly, the costume/uniform was awesome! 😉 We spent time with family, friends and each other. I loved it!!
Now that I’m a parent I want this time of year to be just as magical for my children. Christmas morning was different for me and my husband growing up. Santa was a big deal in my family, usually brought the “big” gift and more. My husband’s big gifts usually came from his parents and Santa filled stockings and brought a little something. Therefore when we began this magical responsibility as parents we had to decide which route to take. Being that I’m the one that takes care of the planning and most of the shopping… we do it more like my parents did.
So after a couple of years of just doing without much thought, and then a couple of years of falling into the materialistic part of Christmas, it was time to make some changes. Though Santa is still big in our house, we have been working on refocusing the attention during the month of Dec to family and of course the birth of Jesus Christ. Three years ago we started this transition, and not without family drama. Change is hard for everyone, especially when disrupting traditions. But it was time for us to create our own traditions for our little family.
That first year we decided that all gifts would wait until Christmas morning. There were other factors that played into that decision… in a nutshell, by Christmas morning our children were already so overwhelmed and exhausted that we didn’t get the best of Christmas with them. And without being overly dramatic, it was heartbreaking. So we spent the month of december that year crafting, baking, spending time with family and then celebrated at Mass on Christmas Eve. Then Santa came and we woke up to a day filled with gifts from him and family. Aside from the drama and being absolutely exhausted at the end of the day… it was all worth it. I felt very peaceful about the decisions we had made and so grateful for my husband and I coming together to make the changes that were best for our family.
Then my OCD took over last year… for all of you that know me, I’m sure you’re laughing and not surprised. I am not sure how I came up with this. I maybe heard it from a friend that a friend of theirs was doing it, or maybe I read a blog that mentioned it. I don’t know, but I was all in!! For the month of december, I planned something “Christmasy” (I like to make up words.) or family focused to do with the kids everyday. You can see what we did last year if you look at my Dec and Jan archives… too many different posts to link them all here. Anyways, it was awesome!! The kids were so excited to get up every morning to read that little card with the days activity. Some things were just things we would have done anyway, and some were new. For 23 days, it refocused their excitement to what we were going to do TOGETHER that day. And now for the last month or so, they have been asking me if we were going to do it again. #parent success!!
Like last year and many years before… as long as I can think back. December 1st always is the day to start Advent Calendars. So that’s what we did. Cheap chocolate filled ones… and to limit the fighting for this particular thing, we got 3. The excitement for such simple things in priceless.
I hope you all find fun ways to celebrate this month. I will try to post everyday about our activities, and maybe pics of my december daily album. Happy December!!!