I am by nature an over the top person. If one oatmeal cookie is good, then I should make 100, and have them shaped like Christmas trees. I like to go big. The same applies to Christmas, and every year it nearly gives me a nervous breakdown. I am compelled to make Christmas wonderful and magical, and it nearly kills me every year. Every year I sit sobbing about four days before Christmas realizing I have not got the right gifts, or enough gifts. Christmas morning I am buried in wrapping paper, the hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars of toys and gifts are scattered around the living room. All of that stress and financial hardship for one day. Last year was the year that I decided it was time to scale back, and the kids didn't even notice... if you're wondering, that's a good thing!
This year Christopher and I decided to make Christmas about the experience instead of about the "gifts". I want Christmas to be magical ... spiritual (not to be confused with religious). I don't think that the kids will look back when they are parents themselves and remember the gifts that they received, I know that I don't. I want them to look back and remember the feeling of Christmas. I want them to remember the Christmas's of their past and look off to the side and have a wistful smile cover their faces (who am I kidding, I want them to be blinded by tears of love for their father and I. I want them to thank their lucky stars to have had such a privileged childhood). I want to give them the gift of beautiful memories.
This year we will be giving the kids the physical gifts, but more than that we will give them the gift of "us", of a family. We are going to try to do beautiful things as a family. We started last Saturday when we spent the day at the movie theatre watching Christmas movies.
Instead of springing the surprise of "less" gifts on the kids, we asked them. I sat them all down and asked "What would you think about having less presents, but have a little family holiday instead?" They all gave me an overwhelming "YES". They love staying in hotels, that is a gift to them. Originally we had decided to surprise the kids with the mini-vacation, but I can't keep a secret, well, at least I can't contain my excitement. Originally we told the kids that "Daddy and I were going to go on a romantic get away to the Adirondack Mountains". They begged to come, just as we knew that they would. We should have received Oscar awards, we told them that they could come, even though it was "special". I had booked our hotel months before. Two days before we left, I couldn't keep it in any longer I told them we were going to The Six Flags Great Adventure Lodge in Lake George, New York.
Saturday night Christopher and I snuck out to the car, bags of decorations in hand. I thought that my hands were going to fall off with the cold. We hung tinsel (not an easy task). I put up Christmas balls. I hung little jingle bell Christmas ornaments with suction cups on the windows (they were wonderful and jingled the whole car ride). We also put Christmas window clings on the kids windows. I placed a pair of reindeer antlers on each seat, as well as an bag full of colouring books and fun car activities in between each seat. The kids were delighted when they climbed into the car at 7 a.m.
More to follow tomorrow.