This year for Christmas we decided to do a few things differently. More on that in a minute...
December brought with it a few challenges including the whole family getting the flu and staying sick until a week before Christmas, and alot of unexpected expenses. It felt like we were under a spiritual attack of some sort. Just thing after thing happening. God saw us through and we were able to go up to our parents' for Christmas. We didn't get the kids any gifts though. We decided to do our family Christmas celebration at a later date because if we did it in December there would be no gifts, no feast, and more stress than peace. No time to reflect on the true meaning. Due to many more unforseen circumstances we still have not had our Christmas.
Back to what all we're changing this Christmas! ;) Firstly we had considered the idea of three items per kid before, in honor of the three gifts presented to Jesus. We had never actually implemented it before though as it's hard to do it the way we wanted to before they are a few years old. You'll see why... We want the three gifts to represent Jesus' 3 gifts. Check out THIS article for a better explanation, but basically Gold would be represented by something expensive in cost or in value to the child, Myrrh represented by something for the physical body, and Frankincense represented by something to feed the child's relationship with God. Before they are old enough to want anything in particular or to understand a physical object's spiritual meaning it's kind of difficult to fit their gifts into these categories. So we decided that it was hard enough fitting Bug's (age 2 years) gifts into those categories, we'll just do Babykins' 3 gifts without the representations. Anything that causes one to panic or stress out over a material item is not worth it. And trying to find baby gifts for those categories was going to be difficult enough to take the focus off of where it belongs. So our new gift rule is 3 gifts per kid, and they represent the 3 gifts of the magi for anyone OVER age 2.
Another thing we did differently is that last year we had our Christmas "late" also and we have decided to make it a permanent tradition to have our family Christmas in January instead. It just takes so many kinds of stress out of it and the less stress there is the better the focus stays where it belongs. We don't do Santa, I know I've mentioned it before, so there is no stress from the kids over which Christmas Santa will leave gifts for. Money is tight for about everyone I've ever met in December with all the friends and relatives to buy gifts for so waiting for our own takes a big bit of money stress out of the picture. We buy the relatives and friends gifts in December, then our own in January. It's nice to take advantage of after-Christmas sales and clearance too. More time to prepare is a plus too. Doesn't it sometimes seem like the end of the year is a runaway train? School starts and you have to shop for that and sort/switch the summer clothes for the winter clothes and then there's helloween to prepare for or prepare an alternative for or prepare to avoid depending on your perogative and before you can catch your breath you're making travel or meal plans for Thanksgiving and then you realize it's Black Friday and you have less than a month left to do all your gift shopping and you have umpteen people to buy for not to mention the food and the travel plans again and the packing and the laundry and the decorating and the tree and this and that and the other thing and by the time you get halfway through December you realize that you've just spent the past 4 months running around like a 2 year old who just drank a whole soda himself after eating all the cookies in the cookie jar. *gasps for air* After all that, seriously I have no idea how anyone can relax and ENJOY Christmas!! It's seriously awful. I have sensory issues- I get overloaded really easily and shut down. I can't handle it. I can't remember anything. I can't finish a project. It's really awful. So delaying the celebration until late January is a humongous blessing to us. There are other perks too like how much I LOVE having the tree up for 2 months, and how the late Christmas cards still get displayed for a while and how it puts something to look forward to in the first part of the year since we don't really do anything for New Year's except stay up late watching a movie until we can groggily say to each other, "Hey it's January! Time for bed. Good night... *snore*" and we don't romanticize Valentine's between children either. Enough run-on sentences for one day? Yes I thought so too. I shall refrain from it for the remainder of this post now! ;)
So after deciding this about our traditions it took the pressure off and we got gifts for the relatives, travelled to visit family, and had a pretty good time. Except that everyone forgot my birthday. But that's another pout. I mean post. *ahem*
It was wonderful as always to see our families. Especially my mom. Especially after having just lost Nana.
Chicklet got a sweater from my sister and Fuzzoodles from my husband's brother and his wife. Hubby's mom got her a Madame Alexander doll.
Bug got a shirt from my sister and some toy cars and a train bank from hubby's family.
Babykins got a lovely sweater from hubby's brother's wife and some onesies and pants from my MIL and and my sister got her a sweater and pants.
We had dinner at my sister's house which was nice except for her kids were sick so of course my kids woke up on my birthday, the 27th, throwing up. Again. Just got over being sick and now sick again. For my birthday. *sigh*
My hubby did the sweetest most romantic thing for my birthday though! He gave me this super mushy card and in it he had a flower made out of gift cards with a pipe cleaner stem. It was perfect. I cried! He's the best! ♥♥♥
And so ended our year, not too terribly eventfully, sick again, but still looking forward to our own "real" Christmas.