Many families throughout the world, took the time on the 24th and 25th of this month to celebrate Christmas accordingly with their customs. The whole month of December, and sometimes even earlier, is a preparation for the holidays, which can mean very different things.
For my family unit, that means Christmas Eve with my parents and Christmas Day with my husband’s side of the family. With three boys four and under, the youngest of them being nine months, that presents many logistical types of planning. Unfortunately, it does not always go without a hitch.
Every year, as Christmas comes and goes, I learn something new as a mother, which I may not have anticipated in advance. Some of those things being:
- Kids get sick
- Sometimes, a change of plans is in order
- It is best to learn to go with the flow
- Kids have no filter
- Most importantly, and this ties into number 4, it is best to write a letter to Santa Claus.
In the months leading up to December, the boys, and I, have been sick intermittently. Why I assumed that Christmas would be any different, is beyond me. But, that is exactly where I found myself on Christmas Eve, with a three-year-old who was looking a little worse for wear by the time we got to my parents for dinner. Sure enough, the fever started spiking half-way through.
The one thing that I like about Christmas Eve the most is sitting down with the family, talking, having some wine, coffee, or tea. Sitting so long that we’ve made it past dinner and straight into supper. Unfortunately, for I believe the second time in a row, we had to pack up and go home. Little man spiked a fever of 103 by the morning.
This brings me to the second and fourth thing I learned, improvisation and going with the flow. Though Christmas Day we had a scheduled brunch with my husband’s side of the family, and dinner with mine once again, we had to move everyone to our place. Of course, I am not prepared in any way whatsoever, so I had my husband start driving to any place still open.
Even though the place was tight, and it wasn’t all perfect as I would have envisioned it to be, I’m glad that we made the choice to stay. The boys were able to take their naps in their own beds, getting much-needed rest, helping the three-year-old to get over the fever he’d been running most of the day. We also had a chance to do what I like to do most during the holidays, sit and chat. Of course, the kids did have everyone running around, as is their nature, but we were still able to get a word in, which is most difficult when we are out to dinner somewhere else.
Over the course of those two days, I also learned that kids have no filter, even if they don’t always mean anything bad. In our Polish tradition, we open our presents on Christmas Eve, something I always loved as a kid, getting to do it a day before everyone else. What we hadn’t realized is that my oldest had something very specific in mind as a gift, which is not what he found.
Let me explain further, at the beginning of December, as customary, we went to see Santa. During that visit, my two oldest boys decided to ask Santa for a specific dinosaur. Not something they ever mentioned before, or since that time, but apparently it stuck in my son’s brain. Since he never made any more mention of this, we didn’t remember until his little outburst at Christmas Eve.
Kids truly have no filter. The moment he saw the amazing Lego set he received, he wailed that it was not the dinosaur that he was hoping for. At a loss of what to do, or how to teach him to be grateful, my husband did a wonderful job of explaining that Santa believed the Legos were better than any dinosaur (and trust me, we have what feels like millions of those). In the end, my son agreed, but not before I felt bad for my parents. They had put thought into a present that they believed he would like, and yet, we found ourselves in a precarious situation.
Lesson learned for all of us.
This brings me to my last point learned, have the children write a letter to Santa. If they can’t write, do it with them. But, don’t find yourself in a situation where you could have provided them with exactly what they were thinking of, but missed the opportunity. Letters will become a part of the tradition starting next year. In the meantime, they’ll just have to learn how to be grateful for what they get no matter what.
And I learned a couple of valuable things as well, but most importantly, that family is everything. Watching the boys grow up year after year, is the most amazing treat of all. They are the best present life could have ever given me.
Now, on to 2020!