A few Decembers ago, Joe and I were wandering around Long Beach on our very first date. We had indulged in the typical small talk over dinner, and normally, I would have just gone home. But there was clearly something different about this date for both us. Neither of us wanted to end it just yet. So, talks of family Christmas traditions turned into a playful argument about where the best Christmas lights were, and that turned into a quest to find the lights we both faintly recalled from our childhoods. After a couple of dead-ends and wrong turns, we finally found the neighborhood we both remembered in a nearby city, so we parked our car, got out, and admired the lights hand-in-hand. It was the best (and last) first date I’ve ever been on. Clearly.
Every Christmas since then (as our relationship evolved to engaged, married and then pregnant), we’ve returned to look at the lights. It’s become our own tradition. And of course, now that our little girl is here, we got her bundled up and took her to look at the same lights, walking hand-in-hand just like we’ve always done. Seeing her face taking everything in and seeing the man that Joe has become since that very first night…well, it was magical.
I’ve been thinking about tradition a lot this Christmas season, mostly because it’s Lula’s first Christmas and I really feel like I slacked off on creating traditions for our new family. (I’m pretty hard on myself, if you haven’t noticed already). I’m trying to give myself a little bit of a break, though, because Lula won’t remember much about this year. And even if I never get my act together to make an advent calendar or put up Martha Stewart-worthy decorations or hide an elf on a shelf, Lula will always be surrounded by a family that loves her on Christmas. And that’s the foundation of good childhood memories.
Lula woke us up bright and early Christmas morning, so we inspected Santa’s offerings and opened presents when it was still dark outside, just like I used to do growing up. Of course, Lula was probably more in the mood for milk than books and new blabla dolls, but once she realized there was crinkly paper involved, she got in the spirit pretty quickly.
I got lots of great gifts from Joe and family, but by far, the best thing I received this year was this sweet baby girl.
And you know what? I feel pretty lucky.
Our Christmas card from Minted. I somehow managed to get these out in time this year!
We just got back from our trip (WAY more on that later), and all of a sudden, it’s Christmas. I have to admit that I’m incredibly unprepared this year, and I feel like such a failure because it’s Lula’s first Christmas. I should have a commemorative ornament and special pajamas and all of those sorts of details that good moms remember. That just didn’t happen this year, but Joe and I have tried to sprinkle little bits of Christmas around the house, even if it’ll only be up for a couple of days. Next year, though, I will get it right…I hope.
Joe and I are staying up late prepping for the Christmas brunch we’re hosting tomorrow, and there are still presents to wrap (and find…I have no idea where I hid Joe’s presents in November) and all sorts of things to be done. It’s going to be a long night. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!
Please excuse our absence. At this very moment, we’re in our bathing suits, soaking up the sun (or more likely, in bed reading and eating chocolate) on the beautiful island of St. Kitts. This vacation is exactly what we needed. Be back soon!