It's really fun and exciting to have this new little person to celebrate with and give things to, but the truth of the matter is that they are just too little to really "get" what's going on, even in the most basic sense. Really I think it should be called "Parent's First Christmas" because this is when you, as a parent, get to figure out what your new normal is for the holidays now that baby is in the picture. And as a parent, you are so excited about having baby with you to celebrate and experience all that you love about Christmas.
It is still pretty fun to watch their little reaction to all of the decorations and activities. Of course, our family likes to watch Ford do anything-
The world stops when this boy chews on his toes.
We'll pause a movie to watch him play with a toy.
Everyone around the supper table will let their food get cold listening and provoking him to talk.
And if he sneezes?...Please. We die. (In our defense his sneezes are really cute. Like a puppy sneeze times 5 on the cuteness scale.)
So with that being the norm, Christmas was really just another opportunity for more of the same.
Anyway, since he really wasn't able to actively participate much in the yuletide celebration this year, we decided to keep Christmas pretty simple while we can still get away with it! And as Ford grows, it's easy to add to our traditions and festivities but it's quite hard to scale down what you've already started. We're not trying to be grinch-y. We just want to make decisions that make our celebrations more meaningful and less busy.
Here are 3 things that we did for "Parent's First Christmas":
First, we picked a few activities that Ford would enjoy or would be fun memories for our family but left out those things that didn't seem worth the hassle. For example, we took Ford to see Christmas lights and meet Santa but we didn't pay to go to an elaborate light display because to Ford, lights are lights. We didn't bake cookies because it would probably end in me being frustrated and tired rather than full of yuletide cheer.
Second, rather than giving Ford lots of little gifts from us, we decided to give him one special gift that would be a keepsake. This wouldn't go over so well when he's older and understands the concept of Christmas gifts, but this year it's perfect. And he'll always be able to say what he got for his first Christmas present. And don't worry... the grandparents had Ford covered in the present department!
Lastly, I love hosting and going to holiday parties but this year that all seemed a little daunting. It would be really difficult to plan something elaborate at our stage of life right now and going to parties is a little more difficult since Fordycakes crashes around 8 pm. In light of all this, we decided to host a neighborhood 5k! We called it the Hot Cocoa 5k and invited our neighbors, friends, and family to come run or walk a 5k route that David mapped out and then hang out at our house to drink hot chocolate and eat snacks. We supplied the hot cocoa and planned the race and everyone brought a snack to share. It was a easy, family friendly, low key get together with a fun twist that made it special. The race was also a really great way to get to know people in our neighborhood that we usually only speak to in passing. We hope to make the Hot Cocoa 5k a yearly tradition. It was a perfect fit for us.
And this is what our Christmas looked like-
We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with David's parents and in the little town where they live there's a huge Christmas season kickoff called "Light Up Mount Dora." They have tons of Christmas lights everywhere throughout the town square park. This was Ford's first Christmas activity and he LOVED it. He couldn't get enough of the lights.
That same night, Ford also met Santa! Ford was unsure of both Santa and the outfit Mommy picked out for him. You can't say he wasn't festive!
Back at home, we went to pick out a Christmas tree- our first as a family of three! David and I have a tradition of going to get Starbucks and then going on a fairly extensive hunt to find the perfect tree. Our perfect tree used to come from a swanky tree farm...now it comes from Lowe's because we discovered the joys of the bargain tree.
Do you ever ask strangers to take your picture? It almost always turns out like this- drunk eyed dad or some equally non-frameable result. I know I'm imposing on their Lowe's trip, but come on! Look at us! Baby's first Christmas!
Then you inevitably resort to the phone self portrait. Sigh.
And yes, Ford is wearing shorts whilst picking out our Christmas tree. Welcome to Georgia.
Fordy liked the Christmas lights in Mount Dora so much that we decided to add a little exterior illumination to our own Christmas decor. The chicken coop got the full Griswold treatment!
We spent the week of Christmas at my parent's house. (Many of you have asked and yes, the farm house is done! I'll have to give you the full tour some time.) It was nice to be home with our whole family.
Look at Papa and Mema...happier than pigs in mud.
We went to the Christmas Eve candle light service with our whole family at the church that I grew up in and where David and I were married. It's funny to take Ford there now.
On Christmas morning we woke up bright and early to open gifts! Here's our little family on our first Christmas morning. This is the present that we gave Ford...more on that later!
Everyone watched Ford open all of his gifts first. Babies are very entertaining.
Here he is after opening all of his gifts! (See, I told you that the grandparents had him covered!)
After watching Ford open all of his gifts, we put him in this box while the rest of us opened ours! Just kidding...kind of.
We spend the rest of the day playing, eating, napping, and hanging out together.
Happy New Year!