Christmas 2016 went by in a blur. It went so fast, and we were so rushed, it didn’t even feel like it happened. I got an awful gastro bug on December 22nd, which left me feeling very weak and lethargic the next day when we were supposed to head north to Edmonton for my family’s Christmas Eve celebrations. That, along with the white Christmas I was wishing for, gave us not-so-favourable road conditions which pushed our trip back a little more so we couldn’t leave first thing on the 24th like I hoped.
We arrived at my brother’s around 2:00 (if I’m remembering correctly!) and had an early supper at about 4:45. It’s tradition in my family to open presents on Christmas Eve together, so we wanted to eat early so the kids wouldn’t be falling apart and on the brink of their bedtimes. Unfortunately my nephew wasn’t feeling well and was in bed by 5:30 and missed gift opening altogether. Jonathan opened a few of his presents, went down for a late nap, and then we continued on in our celebrations.
I don’t mind spoiling our kids and my nieces and nephews with actual presents; but we really missed the ball this year about being present. We weren’t present with our family, hardly at all. It was a revolving door type Christmas and rushing from point A to point B. We missed Christmas morning as a family and our traditional cousins in their matching jammies photo, because my nephew that wasn’t feeling well needed to be seen by a doctor. Health comes first and we were all struggling to be healthy before and during Christmas.
When we were back home, Jonathan needed a nap during Christmas present opening at the farm, and he and I walked in just as supper was being served. I didn’t get to enjoy seeing Jay’s family open the presents I thought so carefully to purchase for them. I truly, honestly, love giving gifts vs. receiving them. I try really hard to make every gift personal and I want to see the joy on that person’s face when they open a gift. It felt empty and distant to not be there.
I really hope things can slow down and change for the better in years to come. We didn’t make it to church at all, but made it intentional to talk with our boys about why we do celebrate Christmas and what happened in that manger all those years ago. Jesus needs to be the focal point for our little family, and we really failed our boys on that this year; I deeply regret it.
We didn’t get to sit down and visit, and enjoy each other’s company like we could in years past. Christmas will be more flexible the older the kids get so we aren’t rushing anything in lieu of naps and bedtimes, but Christmas left me feeling a bit empty this year. Where did it go?
I have to say, with how excited Ethan was for Christmas since his birthday, his reactions didn’t disappoint when he finally got to open his presents. He was so into Christmas this year at 4, that it was the most special part for me. I wanted Jonathan’s first Christmas to be as special as Braden and Ethan’s was, and I think it was! He was definitely into opening presents…mostly trying to eat the paper, but he loved seeing all of our family and enjoyed his first turkey dinner too!
I did get my Christmas photo with my family in front of the tree. I’m so thankful for our family’s health and our wonderful access to health care in this great province and country that we live in. This year, we are reminded of that far too often, but I’m still all the more grateful.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have a nice Christmas, was spoiled with my beautiful new Pioneer Woman kitchen goodies and so much more; and I certainly don’t want to come off as typing from a judgmental soap box. These are just my wishes for Christmases to come: to be more present with our families. To be able to sit down, relax, talk, laugh, play games, watch the kids play with their new toys, and so much more.
I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!