Reflecting on Four Christmases

I did not drink one drop of egg nog this year.

Next year I must find a way to simplify the holidays. This year, Christmas lasted from Wednesday through Saturday. We celebrated Christmas (with the food and gifts and the whole sha-bang) four times. I love hanging out with my family, but toting along an 8-month-old and all the gear necessary for meals, baths, diapering, sleeping and entertainment, all while trying to maintain some type of nap schedule over a four day period is not conducive to stress-free celebration. I’m not a control freak when it comes to my baby’s schedule, but by Saturday everything was making him weep because he was so tired. I actually felt guilty because he was short on sleep for that whole extended weekend and he was just falling apart. Tack on driving through terrible conditions and arriving home to a driveway piled up with a foot of snow and you have the true definition of “burned out.”

There really was no way to do things differently, though. When all of the kids are grown up and you’re trying your best to see everyone and work with so many different schedules, sometimes you just end up having to go to twice as many celebrations. We always celebrate the holidays with both sides of the family – usually we split it up between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but this year both sides of the family split up their celebrations to accommodate everyone’s plans. His immediate family on Wednesday, my immediate family on Thursday, his extended family on Friday, my extended family on Saturday. I guess I feel a little conflicted because we had so much fun, but I was stressed as well, and now I’m exhausted, but I’m glad we got to see everyone. I can’t really say that I would have skipped any of the celebrations (why would I?), but at the same time I wish they were condensed to the two days as usual because it’s hard to be away from home for so long with a baby that only likes to take naps and sleep at home. I’m also a little apprehensive about how this will all work out years from now when we have more than one child. I think we would really have to pick and choose which celebrations to attend and try to alternate it each year. I know that some people will be disappointed, but I just can’t see us trying to pull this off again with more than one kid. These things are easy when you are just a couple. It’s pretty hard to pull off with a baby. I am wondering how families with multiple children do it? Is it something that parents just get better at with experience? Did we overdo it or does every young family do it this way? Or am I just over-reacting and this is the reality that every single family faces this time of year?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Reflecting on Four Christmases

  1. I totally understand your burn out! We had 3 celebrations, 2 on Christmas day and 1 today. So ours were actually timed well for working with a baby, but it was still a little stressful. My little girl was pushed on Christmas Eve to be coordinated around the church schedule, then pushed again on Christmas day with all of the family stuff. She was really tired by the end of that, so I can’t imagine trying to push her for 4 days! Perhaps in the future see if any of your families would be willing to do “Christmas” a week early, or even a few days after Christmas so your kid(s) can get some rest in between. Ours worked out well that way this year. We did Christmas with his family, then had a couple of days to rest, then traveled to be with my family for awhile.

  2. Danielle (From Xanga)

    Wow! That was a lot! Props to you for getting it done! All of a sudden as my immediate family is growing bigger my extended family is growing even more big, so I am having those some issues that you are having with yours as to “who do I go to?” As far as your children are concered, have you ever thought about hosting a family gathering at your home? Then when baby is tired, he can hit the hay in his own crib when he’s ready while you can still socialize with others around your home? Not sure if that’d be possible, but just a thought!

    • Kim

      If I lived closer to my family, I could host, but I can’t make everyone drive 1 hour plus to my house when they all live in the same town! lol.

      You are getting married, aren’t you! Isn’t it crazy how your family suddenly doubles in size!? Once you have kids, some people get really demanding about your attendance at family events because they want to see the baby. *sigh*

  3. Lindsay

    You’ll get more used to it as the years pass. We had a very hectic schedule as well, and two very tired 4 year olds. We all had so much fun though and I can’t see cutting out any of the celebrations. We were rush, rush, rush all week. Now today, on a day I’d rather be resting, I have to attempt to get my house back in order. It seemed even more hectic this year than years past..but that could be because everything is exhausting when you’re pregnant! Even though the girls are 4, we still had lots of things to haul and lug around. Unfortunatly Kim, the stress and chaos won’t get better as the years pass, but you will get used to it and it will get easier to deal with. 🙂

    • Kim

      Thanks for giving me hope, Lindsay! I can’t expect things to get more simple as my family grows, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to strategy and organization, so hopefully I will get better at planning these things! BTW – thank you so much for the toy phone for Micah – he really enjoys playing with it!

  4. Yikes! That’s a busy Christmas! But how great to be able to do that and spend that time with family…especially when you get to share that sweet baby boy’s 1st Christmas with everyone :o) I recall our first years as a couple and then as parents. I can relate…we actually used to spend Christmas Eve at 2 different places and then Christmas Day at 2 different places. It was hectic for sure. But I think it’s just the natural flow of growing into being your own “immediate family”. I found that over time things changed and we changed and eventually, we took our separate traditions and worked out new ones and someday our kids will want to carry them on forever just because it will be what they always remember…but then they’ll become their own “immediate families” too and will have to go through this phase just like we did :o) Unless Jesus comes back first!

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