‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la…la la la la
My favorite holiday is upon us at the blink of an eye! Christmas really snuck up on us quickly this year, though I vaguely recall feeling this way pretty much every year since Bridgette was born. Once you have kids, holidays take on a whole new meaning. I adore seeing how children inspire parents (and adults around them) to celebrate all the different holidays throughout the year. On Facebook, friends who were previously posting wild party photos are now posting photos of pumpkin patches with babies/kids for Halloween, of Christmas tree trimmings at home, and of lovely photo cards for the holidays. 🙂
I didn’t grow up with too many holiday traditions, though I’ve always been the one to foster holiday spirit in my family. I still recall the excitement I felt at around 12-13 years old, as I took the bus to my annual trip to Longs drugstore after school with my $40, where I would spend hours picking Christmas lights and decorations for our house. My favorite part of the holidays included filling up our entire home with an abundance of Christmas lights, burning real wood in our fireplace, and planning our cousins’ Christmas gathering. My least favorite part? Taking down the lights and decor after New Years, which luckily, my dad would often help me with. 🙂
Since becoming a parent, I’ve been trying to create all sorts of traditions for my own family, especially during the holidays. This year, I got even more creative, inspired by the two little girls in my household. 🙂 The weekend that we returned from our Disney Cruise, we were ready to pick out our fresh Christmas tree for the year, but unfortunately faced an endless downpour of rain for the entire week. Rather than letting it dampen the girls’ spirit and ruin our plans, Alan and I decided to use our old fake tree instead. The girls were equally happy with this plan, and we invited the grandparents over for a “tree trimming and dessert” evening at our house.
Two weeks before Brianne was to leave for her winter vacation to Hong Kong, I created a new tradition with the girls. I brainstormed 14 fun holiday activities and had each activity written down and placed inside a Bridgette-made vase. Each day after school, the girls could come home and pick something from this vase to do as part of our holiday celebrations. They were giddy with excitement and came running home everyday eager to see what was in store for them.
It was a bit challenging to come up with 14 different, yet cool, holiday activities. I had to balance the more complex ones like “Let’s make cookies and leave them in our neighbors’ mailboxes as their secret elves” with low key ones like “Let’s snuggle up and watch a Christmas movie together with lots of popcorn”. Just as I had hoped though, the girls got a whole lot of joy with any activity, so long as we did it together. I think I had just as much as fun as they did in some of them, especially the secret elves project!
The girls were smart. When they opened up a mailbox and saw that it had mail inside, they knew that the homeowners hadn’t come home for the day yet, so they would leave their goodies inside with the mail. For the mailboxes that were empty, they opted to skip, assuming that the homeowners wouldn’t visit their mailbox until the next day. I was also incredibly proud of them when they ran after a UPS truck to offer the driver some cupcake. What a simple, yet sweet gesture! I just followed behind them, allowing them to make all the decisions, while making sure they were safe.
The girls had lots of people that they wanted to get gifts for, so we gave them each a budget of $30 and took them to Daiso, where they spent over an hour scouting for what they felt were meaningful gifts to special people….my favorite included Santa suits for Brianne’s parents, a blue wig for Alan and a pink mini Christmas tree for me. 🙂 Super cute! They even spent countless hours wrapping each gift and accessorizing the wrapping with ribbons and little trinkets!
This weekend, we had a low-key yet wonderful gathering with some of our friends for the holidays. The kids had a great time at their gift exchange!