Happy new year, from our family to yours!
We had a beautiful Christmas at home. One of the best Christmases ever, actually. There is something beautiful in the simplicity of staying at home with your young children and just ‘being.’ The kids loved staying home to play with their new gifts and eat their favourite foods. We had such a lovely time. It was a very warm day and we had the most special time as a family of five.
One of the highlights of Christmas for me this year was helping and watching the children make gifts for each other. I had decided a while ago that I would make presents for my nieces and nephews; we added to the handmade theme by encouraging our children to creat things for their siblings for Christmas. Here’s what they came up with:
Matthew beaded a bracelet and some earrings for Georgia. He hand sewed a teddy bear for Elora. I enjoyed spending time with my boy, helping him and showing him some beading and sewing tips. Georgia sewed little bags for Matthew and Elora. It was a good opportunity to teach her some sewing machine skills. Elora made biscuits with Monte to give to her family. They were yummy! It wasn’t just about the gifts they gave; it was about creating something, putting thought and love into the gift and also spending real quality time with a parent to make the gift. It has been such a special part of our Christmas this year that we have discussed, as a family, about only giving handmade gifts for Christmas 2014. Exciting! The idea of having a Christmas that is not centred around the gifts you receive and the food you eat is motivating for us. I’d like to downsize and make Christmas more simple, and more about experiences than gifts, particularly as our children get older. I’ve already got ideas of gifts to make for next Christmas but I need to be much more organised in my crafting this year, and not leave it until the last minute!
Our Christmas meal was simple. Salad, fruit and a baked ham that monte smoked in the webber. We had pavlova, pudding and Christmas cake planned for dessert but it didn’t get eaten. We had Christmas cake and a cup of tea on the deck in the afternoon, which was nice because it was such a warm day (27 degrees).
As a child, one of Monte’s best memories of christmas was making the punch with his dad. So this year Monte decided to continue with the tradition, and he and Georgia made a delicious fruit punch that was made with tea, lemonade, fruit juices and fruits like pineapple and passion fruit. It was delicious. It also lasted a few days in the fridge, so that, along with the Christmas ham, kept the Christmas spirit alive in our bellies for a few extra days!
Speaking of bellies, this is me and the 33 week belly on Christmas Day.
We had fun Christmas crackers this year. We each received a little racing car, and we spent some of the afternoon, after our mandatory quiet nap time, racing the cars. My car was a dud and didn’t work. Matthew’s car was the overall winner after a zillion rounds of this game that had us in stitches of laughter.
You know, I think that this Christmas was the best ever. It was simple, quiet and fun. It was a beautiful celebration of our family. It was us, being together and just ‘being.’ I enjoyed sitting on the floor with our children on Christmas morning, just watching and enjoying them explore their gifts. Christmas is about the children, in my opinion. It’s about making it a special and memorable day for them. I remember Christmas as a magical time and I would love my children to have similar memories.
So these are the things I have been trying to do over the years, to make Christmas special for my family:
– handmade things: Santa sacks, clothes, biscuits, cakes, decorations – creating things for and with the children makes the build up to Christmas Day so exciting!
– music: have you noticed how sad so many Christmas songs are? We have lots of Christmas music in the house during the festive season but over the years it is changing, becoming more about our own raucous singing, recorder playing and piano playing and less about the crooning of Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey or those other godawful Christmas carol CDs out there (having said that, there are some Christmas albums I often enjoy, like Glee, Evie, Ten Tenors).
– stories: reading a Christmas story, or two or more, every day during advent. I usually buy a new Christmas story each year and have done so since Georgie’s first Christmas ten years ago – but I didn’t buy one this year for some reason.
– spend less time stressing about making things perfect and just spend time with the children. For example, eating delicious but simple meals and spending less time in the kitchen, unless it’s actually a fun activity for the kids/family, and worrying less about the state of the house.
– give the children more choice and power. Let them choose the food they want to eat on the day. Let them decorate the tree the way they want to. Let them make decorations and put them all over the house if they want to. Rebecca, put aside your OCD tendencies and let the children go nuts with their own creative juices flowing everywhere (whilst I stand to the side, trembling a little, yielding a mop and broom).