This is the first Christmas that I am no longer the child. We lost my parents in the spring and, for the first year in a long time, my brothers and I did not spend Christmas together. So this year, Christmas was on me. It was my year to establish some new traditions while keeping the old. This is a mothering role that I wasn’t quite ready for and there is a lot of pressure in doing it right. So I did what felt natural; I took my family back to basics.
We started our holiday prep on Sunday. That is late for most families but both of our dudes have birthdays in the 3 weeks before; we wanted to respect those and not blend them with the rest of the Christmas season. We were also so busy with choir, school concerts and events, and report cards that I didn’t really have time to focus on anything Christmas. So Sunday was the planned day to put up our tree.
We have always gone to a local church to purchase one from the Boy Scouts of Canada, where we have always able to find a beautiful tree from Nova Scotia, but I wanted to try something different. This year we decided that we would go to Merry Farms where we could cut our own. At the last minute, the littlest dude resisted making the trip out of town and complained most of the car ride but, once we got to Merry Farms, he was the one who had the most fun. The two dudes laughed and giggled, took turns pulling each other on the wagon and ran around looking for the perfect tree. After that, they picked out a new ornament for the tree and shared a large chocolate chip cookie. The day was a success and a new memory for us.
This year, the boys had big ticket items on their lists – electronics and expensive. I have always followed 3 criteria for purchasing a gift: something that the other person wants; something that you aren’t really buying for you; something that is affordable. Their “wishes” did not fit the bill but this toilet plunger for my husband did as he always complains about our old one. It also had the benefit of being completely unexpected – and it raised loads of laughter on Christmas morning.
For my husband and boys, I had ideas which were much different than their dreams of gadgets and electronics. It was going to be a year free of technology- not even an iTunes card; it was a year of gifts which brought the family together and would help them grow rather than send them to their quiet spots where they did their own thing. Santa and I respected their interests – sports, cooking, and play – and they found real toys, games, books, magazines and cooking appliances (“Oh! A rice cooker! It will do the work for me!”) under the tree. Everyone has happy; there wasn’t one complaint and the house was filled with laughter in the afternoon.C
Laughter cutting down our tree; giggles while playing Monopoly or during Nerf gun battles; hysterics about a toilet plunger carefully wrapped and placed under the tree. These are the sounds of togetherness, the joy of being with family, and the feelings that will stay with us for many Christmases to come.