If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may already know that this year we decided to be a little selfish with our Christmas and stay home. There’s a lot more detail, but that’s the gist of it.
Christmas is my favorite Holiday, always has been. Growing up my Dad always cooked amazing things to take to Christmas dinner at my Grandmother’s house and some of my best childhood memories were from Christmas morning with just my Mom, Dad, and Brother. My Dad always went crazy with the outside decor, which we loved as kids! My Mom and I always decorated the inside together while my Dad and Brother were busy doing the outside. Christmas has always been a magical time for me. After my Husband and I got married, I always wanted to host Christmas at our house, and even more so after we had kids. I felt like it was my calling, I wanted to be the house that everyone gathered at, but it never seemed to work out that way. Every year it seemed like plans were already made for us, or we HAD to cater to everyone else because it was easier if we just did what other family members wanted, and then last year a bomb hit our family when a close family member got really sick. So, we’ve always caved to other peoples expectations and/or circumstances, sacrificing what we really wanted to do for Christmas. This year, we found ourselves three years into being parents and we had not one single tradition to celebrate at Christmas. We never had a settled Christmas, and to be honest, with catering to everyone else, I lost my Christmas spark and started to loathe the approaching holiday season.
Mykenzi turned 3 years old this past August, and became increasingly aware of what was going on around her. Santa was actually a person, she understood that presents were in her future, and the Christmas magic was starting to build in her eyes. I knew I wanted to give her an amazing Christmas filled with memories she wouldn’t forget, and I wanted to love my favorite holiday again. I talked with my Husband about what I wanted for our children for Christmas, and to my surprise he was on the same page and had been feeling the same way. That’s when we decide we’d stay home this Christmas.
In addition to staying home, we decided to be a little more selfish and not have any family travel up to see us either. We thought a nice quiet Christmas at home is what we needed to reset and to establish our own traditions as a family. And y’all, I wish it was a decision we had made sooner, because this was by far the best Christmas we have ever had. It’s always a little awkward telling your family you don’t want to see them on a holiday, but the memories and traditions we made this year were irreplaceable and I’m thankful our sole focus was on our children and not hosting family on the holidays.
We took Mykenzi ice skating for the first time, something I remember doing when I was her age, which are some of my favorite memories from our short time in Germany. We baked cookies and decorated them. I never did this with my Mom, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do with my kids, however, it is not for the faint of heart. I’ll just leave it at that. Hah! We talked about the reason for the season, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, watched all the Christmas movies, read stories, and went to our very first Christmas Eve Church service which was incredibly magical! I cooked our entire Christmas Dinner and even baked my very first pie from scratch. It was perfect.
Here are some snaps and a video from our Christmas. Don’t judge the quality, these weren’t intended to be taken for the blog, they’re keepsakes for us.
For the first time in years, me and my Husband were so full of Christmas magic, we could’ve burst! Watching the magic of Christmas through our children’s eyes was the best gift either of us could’ve asked for, and seeing how much joy this season brought to the four of us concluded that we will never spend another Christmas traveling, at least while our kids are still at home. We will continue have our family Christmases at our home and repeat the traditions we started this year. I know what you’re thinking, but what about family? Well, now that we’ve established how we want our Christmases to look, we can invite our family to travel to us (if and when we want to) so they can share in the magic too.
We weren’t really sure how we were going to feel not being surrounded by family on Christmas because honestly, it does sound rather lonely, but it was surprisingly peaceful. It was also the perfect reminder to slow down and take these moments in as a family of four more often. I think when you’re parents to young children it’s easy to get caught up in your family’s expectations of holidays that you forget to do what makes you happy. I want my children to have great relationships with their Grandparents, and they certainly do, but that doesn’t have to come at the sacrifice of our happiness, and their relationship is definitely not defined by holidays.
Tell me, how do your holidays look? Do you travel or stay put?