I want to start this blog post with a disclaimer; our family happens to celebrate Christmas, but I am well aware that not all families do. Thus, please don’t think that I am making any assumptions about your family in writing about our family’s traditions. I definitely don’t mean to offend anyone!
That said, yes, we love Christmas around our house, and we like to celebrate it in a big way. I love everything about the holiday, from the music (holiday hint: here’s the Christmas CD you don’t own yet, but need to buy ASAP), to the twinkly lights to the cardboard-tasting tree-shaped cookies. Really, the only iconic American Christmas tradition I don’t embrace with gusto is the whole mall Santa thing. The closest you’ll ever catch me to that long line to meet “Santa” at the mall is when I treat myself to an annual re-hearing of “The Santaland Diaries.”
But I digress.
I love Christmas. I really do. And it’s something I think I “do” pretty well as a mom, having learned from a master – my own Christmas-obsessed mom. And this year is a special one, because it’s Baby G’s first Christmas – her initiation into the numerous specific holiday traditions our family has developed over the decades. I know she won’t have any idea what the heck is going on, but each time I’ve had a new baby, that first Christmas after the new little person has joined our family has seemed extra magical for me. Plus, the photos of the new baby under the tree are always pretty priceless.
This Christmas, though, will be more than a little bittersweet for me as a mother. It’s G’s first Christmas, but it’s also another kind of first – a very painful one. It will be the first holiday season since my oldest child, Henry, died on May 31 of this year. Baby G, my youngest child was born only three weeks later, on June 27th.
Trying to balance the happy and the sad will be tough, I know. But I really don’t want to miss out on the happy. I want to honor and celebrate this special first Christmas for Baby G, just as I have for each of he r older siblings. She deserves that. So she’ll have her new stocking hung by the chimney with care, and she’ll get to wear her special Christmas Eve jammies. She’ll have her first of many annual Christmas ornaments with her name on it hanging on the tree, just like her siblings get each year, and she’ll sit with J, E and C as we all read our tattered copy of “The Night Before Christmas” just before climbing into bed on the big night.
For you other mamas with new babies this year – those of you who celebrate Christmas or another of the traditional Winter holidays – are you excited about your baby’s first holiday season? Do you have any special traditions you are looking forward to sharing, even at this stage, when the baby is really more of a photo op prop than a willing holiday participant?
Talk about Baby’s First Christmas (Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice…) in the comments below.
PS: Check out this video of Baby G “chatting” with her Aunt Betsy last week at her big sister C’s preschool Thanksgiving program. CUTE OVERLOAD!
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