Christmas has come and gone this year, and we had a wonderful holiday. We kept the celebration small this year, and I was grateful for that. Last year, we had 25 people in our house for Christmas dinner (pretty much my husband’s entire side of the family), which was wonderful, but total chaos, too. I loved having a small group of just six this year. I even got to take a nap in the afternoon (which pretty much never happens).
As I’ve thought back about Christmas this year, I’ve realized a few things–successes and failures on my part–that I hope I will remember in the future.
- Money spent is not proportionate to the joy received from gifts. People gave me really odd looks when I told them that I only spent $30-40 per child for Christmas. The ONE thing Little Man REALLY wanted for Christmas was a car transporter. He talked about for literally 3 months. There was even a specific one he wanted (it shoots the cars out of the front of the truck…pretty epic for a three-year-old). I found it on sale, and it was his splurge gift. All of his other gifts I either bought second-hand, or I got killer deals online. Now, I realize my boys are really young…I have no illusions about being able to keep to that budget forever. But, I suppose that’s part of my point. At their young ages, they don’t need a lot to be happy, and they certainly don’t need expensive things.
- More is not necessarily better. As Christmas approached, I kept wanting to make sure that my one-year-old had enough presents. It was easy to find things for my three-year-old, but I had a harder time finding age-appropriate gifts for my littler guy (at least ones that we don’t already own). But, on Christmas morning, you know what I realized? He wasn’t keeping score with his brother, and even the gifts he did get were overwhelming to him. In the end, we ended up just letting him play with a few gifts and setting aside the others to open intermittently throughout the day. Quality over quantity. Someday I’ll learn.
- The best part of Christmas is just spending time together. Cliche, I know. But, really, I spent SO much time and energy trying to plan everything, do everything, and shop for everything, but on Christmas, the thing my boys loved most was just sitting on the floor and having me give them my undivided attention. To ooh and ahh, and really enjoy their new toys with them. To have a wrapping paper fight with them and laugh and play. To make them feel important. Simple, little joys.