What does Christmas magic mean to you? If you’re a parent, perhaps it equates to the amount of work and stress that you put on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Christmas used to always be my favorite holiday. It was filled with beautiful traditions and memories that my parents and grandparents created. Then, I had a baby and became a Mom and was even more excited about Christmas! I had my own children to create magic and memories for! I could figure out which traditions were important to pass down and how I wanted my kids to celebrate the holiday. And then, I had two more babies and I felt completely overwhelmed once the holidays rolled around. I still love Christmas, but if I’m being honest, I haven’t truly been able to relax and enjoy the holiday in a long time. Why not?? Well, it’s my own fault. I have created too many traditions and expectations that have in turn generated anxiety and stress centered around this joyous holiday. Every year around this time, other Mom friends and I will call each other, frantic about gifts, events, parties, plays, which activities to sign up for, Christmas cards, baking, and the list goes on and on. I don’t know what I would do without these Moms and how I would survive without their constant support and guidance!
Okay, so flash forward to right now. 2020. The year filled with doom and gloom. Christmas looks a lot different this year. For everyone! And, I try to continue to remind my daughters that so many have it way worse than us, and have lost jobs, homes and lives. We will get through this and be fine, but it doesn’t make it any easier. For anyone. We are all going through something right now.
Not only has quarantine and COVID taken away so many things for our children, but this is my first Christmas being divorced. My first Christmas where I won’t get to see those 3 precious babies wake up on Christmas morning and come down the stairs, excited for the magic of Christmas. My first Christmas where my 3 babies won’t have their Mommy and Daddy together. While this all sounds very negative, I have started to realize the positive in this year’s Christmas. Just like quarantine allowed me to realize what is important to me, what I need, what I don’t need, and what I truly miss, this year’s cancelled Christmas festivities makes me really evaluate the holiday and what I want it to mean to me and my daughters. Do I miss party hopping 5 nights a week in December? Not really. I love going out, attending parties and being social, but there is such thing as too much! Even for me! I remember how exhausted I was last year after attending multiple parties a week ( and sometimes a night! ), searching for babysitters, and paying hundreds a night for babysitters! I’ve also started to ask myself what traditions do I miss? Thinking back, we always did too much. Christmas in Chicago, Polar Express in French Lick, The Nutcracker, Christmas festivals, ice skating, holiday plays, baking, charity events, holiday drive through light displays, soirées, and the list goes on and on. It was all crammed into a short span of 3 -4 weeks! It left me running on empty and not able to take in all of those special little moments.
Last night was the first Christmas “event” I attended with my girls. We went to Newfields Winter Lights and it was GORGEOUS!! My Mom set up the evening for us and my Sister and her family came too! We went out to dinner before and then did the outside walking trail to see all of the beautiful light displays. I enjoyed it so much. And, now I am sitting at home looking at my calendar and trying to figure out some more fun holiday activities for me to do with my girls to create special memories together. We can actually take the time to talk about Christmas and the season of giving and being grateful and what it means to our family. I almost feel relieved that I don’t have a full calendar or schedule. During quarantine back in April I actually threw away my huge wall calendar and paper planner. I was getting sick of crossing out every cancelled event. I have finally moved my scheduling to digital and I feel a lot more organized.
My girls said baking is important to them, so they are going to do Christmas baking with their grandparents. My youngest is begging to go to the Nutcracker, but since that is not an option this year, my sweet friend Sarah gave me the idea to bring the Nutcracker production to my house! Have a special dinner, treats, and watch one of the Nutcracker versions on TV. I love that idea!!
Although I am super heartbroken I won’t get to see my daughters on Christmas Day, it has allowed me to focus on spending the best quality time I possibly can with them for every other day I get to see them leading up to Christmas. I’ve let go of unrealistic expectations as I navigate this uncertain year and time. I’m committing to live in the moment!