I truly love the holiday season, but am oh so happy when it’s over. Between the months of November-January we celebrate 8 birthdays on top of holidays, not to mention the 5 other birthdays we celebrate from August-October. Needless to say, come January I’m in major need of a detox from family, friends and the world.
This year though, I found my desire for the holidays to end to be a little less than normal. Mostly, I think this is because I really wanted Henry to know just how awesome the holidays are. Even though he’s only 10 months you could tell that he understood the special meaning of this time of year.
We’ve had our Christmas routine down pat for at least five years. When Ben and I moved to Kansasville, I offered to start hosting Christmas Eve with my family. Before this, Grandma Soetenga still lived in Wisconsin and we spent that time with her. Now that it was just the four of us, it seemed easy enough to host. We used to do Christmas Day with moms side, but that changed too when Grandma Soetenga move. Grandparents Ludwig live in Union Grove, which is only about 7 minutes away, so the drive from my house at night in the winter would be nothing but easy for them. So, for the past five years Ben and I have had Christmas Eve here with my family, Grandparents Ludwig and Ben’s grandparents. Then on Christmas Day we do breakfast at my parents to open presents and lounge before heading to the Zusan’s for a fun filled day.
Christmas Eve was nothing out of the ordinary for us. Both of our grandparents reminisced like usual, the genealogy and the family tree didn’t get brought up this year, but the latest “dead” people did. I spent most of the day cooking which was extremely easy since I pawned Henry off on my parents. We had the house perfectly decorated and the food was delicious. Since it was Henry’s first Christmas there were presents for him to open. He’s not quite that interested in opening the gifts, but he does love eating the paper. My cousin Kasey has a son and Henry sure loves to play with him. As usual, we enjoyed one anothers company. Ben and I were off preparing food for the following day after everyone left. Plus there were the presents we had to exchange to prepare for Henry’s very first Christmas morning.
Christmas morning was fun for us, well maybe just me. I LOVE Christmas so much that my parents had to create a rule where we had to wait at the top of the stairs until a certain time. It killed me to sit there and the stairs would squeak so mom knew if we were taking an early peek.
We knew that Henry wouldn’t be able to open all his presents and wouldn’t have the attention span to do so, but there was still something special about just the three of us enjoying that time together (while it was still dark). I also decided this was the only year that I could legitimately get away with spoiling Henry because he wouldn’t know the difference. In the years to follow I will most likely do something along the lines of something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I was raised that it’s not about the quantity of gifts, it’s about the quality and the gesture. We both want Henry to have those same values, except for this year (hehe). In my shopping addiction defense, the amount of toys he received were to replace the lack of toys he already had.
It was off to my parents after presents with Henry. The morning was definitely fast moving, kind of a blur. Breakfast was delicious as usual (I pat myself on the back) and we did our usual gifts and nap session after.
After breakfast at my parents we head to Ben’s parents. For as long as I can remember we’ve been doing themed Christmas celebrations. Usually we pick a country/culture and embrace their traditions and food. It is a lot of fun and a great twist on the usual Christmas tradition. This year we had Italian, yummy! We also picked names this year, for the second year in a row. It’s nice to focus on purchasing a few awesome gifts instead of the stresses of buying for everyone. My in laws also surprised the grandkids with a trip to Three Bears Lodge in Warrens, the very next day. Here are some pictures from our celebration and trip!
We headed home and get prepared for our trip the very next day. Since Henry is a baby and had no idea what a surprise, trip, vacation or water park is, I was able to pack ahead of time. This meant more time for day after Christmas shopping. Our time away was a lot of fun, but exhausting!
All in all we had an awesome holiday season. I truly feel blessed by all the love our little man received and the precious family time we spent together. Now I’m ready for a vacation and to relax for a little bit.