As I sit here writing this, I’m thinking to myself – should I run out and get my husband that one last thing I think he needs? Or how about that toy that all the moms swear by? Should I let Santa know that my daughter would love it?
I’m not going to budge.
This year – our first year as parents – we made a pact not to go overboard with the gift giving tradition. While we mentioned the same expectation to parts of our family who celebrate the tradition, we only hope that they’ll look past their own excitement and respect our wishes. Over the past years, with the sheer number of parents, siblings and cousins in our family, gifts would take up half of the living room and Santa would take nearly an hour handing them out to everyone (… in case you were wondering what took him so long to get to your house…)
We are blessed.
But the start of a family means the start of new traditions. This year, we’re cutting back on things and focusing on truly taking in our time together.
This time last year, I was in my last month of pregnancy. The school shooting in Newtown, Conn., occurred right in the throes of the holiday season. All I kept thinking about was, how could I be bringing a child into such an unsafe world? Over this past year I have realized that, while there are circumstances beyond our control in this world, the best I could do for my daughter was to love her and be a secure presence in her life. The best way for me to find resolve in and to honor the innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School and their families is to celebrate the gift of our daughter.
This year, there will be no last minute run to a packed shopping mall. There will be no rushed shipping order. Our 11-month-old doesn’t expect anything other than for us to hold her hands as she putts around the house for hours while blabbing a very long-winded but exciting story. She'll be surprised to receive something more. We have put thought into what she’ll receive knowing that more boxes doesn't mean a better time. More toys doesn't mean more fun. And nothing is more important for her than our presence and involvement in her life.
Perhaps we will never have a simpler Christmas Day than the one we’ll have this year. We’re going to bask in it.
What new traditions will you start with your new family?
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