So we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of 5, and it was great!
Unfortunately our whole house was hit with a terrible flu for over a week before Christmas and honestly I think it was a bit of a blessing in disguise. It was terrible… not only was I very sick but I was still mom so it meant up at night with sick kiddos, many loads of laundry, being puked on and lots of disinfecting but also feeling absolutely horrible myself. Thank goodness we seemed to alternate kids being sick and I could try to comfort all my babies at different times! It is very hard to be outnumbered by your littles. The blessing though was it meant last minute me just gave up on a lot of the ideas I had of a perfect Christmas.
See Fraser and I come from two very different versions of Christmas.
My childhood Christmases had many traditions, we were raised Catholic so defiantly Christmas had a religious aspect to it including Church on Christmas, nativity sets and the story of Christmas were all part of our traditions! We also were spoilt at Christmas. With 7 biological Aunts & Uncles (plus spouses), many family friends or pseudo “aunts/ uncles”, 4 Grandparents, and almost everyone living locally our Christmas Day was spent unwrapping a lot of gifts. When I look back at it as an adult I don’t know how my single mom managed to pull off such incredible Christmas’s! Plus I also realize we got so much stuff… and it was so unnecessary. Do not get me wrong, I loved our Christmas gifts and traditions, I never complained. But now having kids of our own and struggling with Christmas lists and gift ideas for the kids or space to put all their new stuff I realize that this is not the same Christmas traditions I want to set up for our family (although it is tempting). I feel so lucky that we had the magical and family filled Christmas traditions we did and cannot wait to start making memories of Christmas for our kids.
Fraser on the other hand was raised without religion and with a much smaller family who was much more practical when it came to gifts. They had lots of their own traditions but religion was not apart of Christmas, gifts played a much smaller role and they had a more intimate group of family at Christmas. One interesting thing about Fraser’s Christmas memories revolve around food, although they had an always changing Christmas menu he has some things that he loves to make for Christmas and I like the idea of that being a tradition we can carry on with our kids.
I like to think we will take our two versions of what Christmas looks like and meld them together for a nice fit of what Christmas will look like for our family.
I definitely want our kids to know the religious background of Christmas and I do know that this is something that Fraser most likely will not want to participate in. Religion is a funny thing, I am learning that it is scary for people who didn’t grow up with it and I would never want to force it on him. So, hopefully this is an area I can manage to teach the kids with the help of my family. I know one day they will make their own decisions but I like the idea of them being informed and knowing about religion and the background of Christmas!
Our Christmas started on the 22nd and ended on the 25th, so it was just a couple of days and we tried to make each day just have one or two things planned. We are not hugely routine and try to be flexible but kids do require certain things through out the day (mainly meals and we always benefit from a nap). So, we did try to keep that in mind but I do find with the holidays and so many different activities going on routine and structure goes out the window.
We try to celebrate Christmas with both our families and all the Great Grandparents and extended family which often means many dinners and visits but the benefit to this is more quality visits and gifts for the kids are spread out over a couple of days. I love this because they don’t get “tired” of opening gifts and they get to enjoy and appreciate each gift and we know who gave what! Plus the whole Christmas season is so much money and work I like the idea of extending it over a period of time to at least make all the effort feel more worthwhile.
I have to say being sick right before Christmas meant I didn’t have as much free time or extra time to run out to the mall and go over the top on presents or even decor. This was a great lesson to teach me that I didn’t miss all the over the top stuff I would normally be all over. The kids stockings had just the right amount of stuff and each kid had a few fun gifts as well as a few things I knew they needed. Fraser and I didn’t exchange gifts this year as we decided instead to make a donation to a fundraiser that was more meaningful to us than any gift we could have bought. Plus our big Christmas gift this year is starting off 2018 with Fraser taking 7 weeks holidays and us spending a month in Maui! Although we may not be able to continue this extended period of time every year I hope we always are able to take time off in January and to start off the New Year spending quality time as a family and rest and relax.
I think that the way we are starting 2018 is also the way we are ending 2017, the idea is about spending quality time and enjoying the kids early years with our family. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit of over indulging in every way (over eating, over drinking, over scheduling, over spending and over gifting… ) but when we all got sick all the rest kinda stopped and by the time I was feeling good enough to start thinking Christmas it was here and I just made do with what I had prepared and it ended up being more than enough food, decorations, gifts and booze:) Well I did make a last minute liquor store run but… LOL:). I think you get the idea, we have more than enough and Christmas is about more than gifts.
At the end of December I do not want to have gone into a bunch of debt to buy a bunch of stuff that we don’t need and the reality is we don’t “need” anything as we are so well provided for. But there are people who are less fortunate and do need, and that is a lesson I hope to teach our kids. We used to go shopping with my aunt every year at Christmas and help pick out a bunch of toys for the toy bank, plus my Grandparents always helped with he Christmas Hampers through the legion. These are just a few of the traditions my family had for giving back that I still remember and want to pass on doing similar stuff with our kids. These types of “gifts” are ones that have lasting impressions and teach more than any other gift ever could.
As 2017 comes to an end I can’t help but feel it was an EPIC year for the Farlow family. We are all healthy and happy, we have more than enough, our year was filled with way more good days than bad and we added to our family with Eleanor completing our little family. Fraser had a phenomenal year at work and continues to enjoy his job which is most important. I started my blog and also found doTerra and have made essential oils a part of our daily life. Plus we have made some healthy lifestyle changes, started to implement exercise and healthy eating into our lives. Overall I have loved 2017, and with that I am excited to start off 2018! This new year brings promise of some new adventures and self discovery. I am starting off January with a one day wellness retreat (including Yoga, mediation and oils!), I have a few oil classes planned and can’t wait to see what personal growth stuff I uncover this coming year. Plus we have some big goals with Rowen for 2018 including completing his Autism Assessment and starting to get some help in place so we can get him prepped for grade school and start him off with as much support in place as possible, Grace will start preschool this year (September) and I am excited for her to have something of her own and our little Eleanor will celebrate her first birthday!
So Merry Everything and A Happy Always from our family to yours I hope this year was one for the record books and I hope 2018 brings you even more good things. XOXO