Well, we have finally made it through our first Christmas with our baby. We had Christmas celebrations from the weekend before Christmas until Monday night. It was not until my son's fourth or fifth Christmas celebration that he began to be at all interested in the whole process. I am hoping that next year proves a little more exciting, but I did learn a lot in case I have more babies in the future.
My in-laws brought Christmas dinner to our house on the 17th. We have spent the last few Christmases with them, so they were a little upset that we were not going to be there. Since we could not make it this year, they decided that they would come up with spiral ham, scalloped potatoes, and green bean salad. We ate and enjoyed the time with them. They brought our son a gift, but it was not wrapped. He played under our feet while we ate and snatched bites of food from our mouths.
My husband and I staged our family Christmas on the 21st. We decided to start a new tradition and have a seafood Christmas. The only problem is that we got everything going and then snacked on some pieces of crab dipped in butter. Our son ate some cereal while we ate, but he was so tired (no nap!) that he fell asleep in his chair. When my husband tried to film him for posterity, he woke up. We quickly opened gifts, but he was completely disinterested! He did not even like to rip the paper.
Our next Christmases were with my step-father's family and then with my mom and step-dad alone. My son enjoyed the first because he had a little friend - a cousin who is two years old. My son is an only child and does not go to daycare, so he does not have a lot of interaction with any other children. He enjoyed chasing his big cousin around. She is an only child, too, and was not happy to have an 11-month-old chasing her down.
Christmas with my parents was a bit easier. There were fewer people - only my parents, myself, my husband, my son, and my brother and sister. My son was able to play with each of his toys. I have decided that in the future with him, or in the future with other babies, I will try to take the gifts out of the original box and wrap it in another box. The baby toys are enclosed so tightly and have so much to remove before he can play that my son gets bored before you can get the present out of the box.
When we had Christmas at my grandparents' house, my son finally really started to get the hang of it. First, there are five children and 12 grandchildren as well as some other assorted people and spouses. So we are talking about 30 plus people. When everyone started opening, my son went wild. He was screaming, but my husband and I were the only ones who could understand him over the roar of everyone. He did begin opening my cousin's gifts. Fortunately, she did not mind. He tore into all of the boxes, pulling everything from them and moving on. By the end, he had made a path to the other side of the room. The lesson learned there was that I needed to pack more in his boxes. I held off on tissue paper and gift bags because I thought that he would not appreciate them. Seeing my son with the gifts made me see that he was excited about the tissue paper because it crinkles, so I will use it in the future.
My son's final Christmas was with my father's family on the day after Christmas. The lesson there was to learn the schedule before going. We went at 5:00, which was the we were given. By the time we opened gifts at 8:00, my son was ready to go. He had a long time to play and get acquainted, and he was not prepared for the gift-giving. It was too much. My son's Christmas was wonderful but exhausting. He crashed before we even left the driveway.
By Julia Mercer