Growing up, the holidays were all about family gatherings or lots of home cooking, sweets and gifts, and special music. Over time, though, it began to lose a little bit of its luster. Family and friends started going their own separate ways. We all saw each other just a little bit less. And the more mythical aspects, like the tradition of Santa, were basically gone. It wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized just how special the holidays were about to become again. And now, four years after my son was born, I can say for sure that your first Christmas with kids is definitely the best one of all.
The Christmas before my son was born, I was pregnant and on bed rest. It was the most intimate holiday I’d ever experienced — just my husband and I in our room, opening small gifts and being thankful for our future rainbow baby. I didn’t get to do all the exciting things I typically enjoyed around the holidays. There were no Christmas parties to host or attend, because I could barely leave my bed. I did all my gift buying online since I couldn’t spend the usual hours wandering the shopping malls for the perfect present. There was certainly no baking of cookies or any adventures in stringing lights outside. Low key Christmas, really.
My son was born the following February, which means I had several months to plan and think about our first Christmas as a family. Of course, I didn’t actually spend all that time planning out the holidays. I was a new mom, and mom to a baby who spent months in the NICU before going home. I was mostly just grateful to have my little one with me, and the fact that Christmas was coming up when he hit the 10-month mark was just icing on the cake. But it was in those weeks leading up to Christmas that it hit me how much different the holidays would be from now on.
Your first Christmas with kids puts you back in the same headspace you had when Christmas was still new to you.
When you finally have your baby in your arms, you begin to see the world through their eyes. You notice their smile the first time they see a line of twinkle lights in all their shiny splendor. You sigh happily watching them encounter their very first Christmas tree. You beam as they giggle at their first Christmas carols, as they absorb every moment of their very first holiday cartoons. And while you wrap up their first presents, you can’t help but place a red-and-green bow on their still-delicious-smelling head (mamas, you know what I'm talking about).
Your first Christmas with kids puts you back in the same headspace you had when Christmas was still new to you. Reliving all those special moments through them makes everything feel special again. While you may have been mostly thinking about what sales you wanted to hit after Christmas in previous years, or what Santa-themed bar crawl or White Elephant exchange you might hit, now you’re mostly just enjoying introducing your little one(s) to this special annual tradition. Now you’re likely more focused on not only having a good time yourself, but on ensuring your child loves every minute of it.
Another great thing about your first Christmas with kiddos is the chance to pass down special family traditions (or to begin your own). For example, I knew that I would need to have a special Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) dinner that first year to share with my son — even if he wasn’t all that into the traditional foods like I was. We had our family over and we all got to share the experience together, chatting and listening to festive music in Spanish and all. And while he wasn’t able to stay up till midnight like we typically do, it was still such a wonderful time to share.
Odds are, your first Christmas morning with kids will extend long into the afternoon, and possibly into the following day.
The best part of all though was definitely Christmas morning. Till then, my son hadn’t really “opened” any gifts. Trying to explain to him how to rip open each package took a very long time, but it was both hilarious and a ton of fun. Odds are, your first Christmas morning with kids will extend long into the afternoon, and possibly into the following day. My son was exceptionally fortunate and received gifts from so many friends and relatives that it was too much to try and open them all that morning. It was amazing to witness, especially as our own finances weren’t that great in those days.
I’ve gotten to share the holidays for several years now with my son. It’s been an incredible experience each and every time. He’s getting close to five years of age now, and that means he understands Christmas more and more these days. He actually interacted with Santa for the first time this year without looking annoyed or scared. I helped him write his first Christmas Wish List letter as well. He helped me trim the tree, and is always the one to remind me if we haven’t turned the twinkle lights on. And while the holidays are still just as special with him now that he’s older, that first Christmas with my kiddo will forever be the one that changed the holidays for me the rest of my life — and it’ll likely do the same to you.