A little part of me can’t quite believe that Christmas is over already, after all the build up it’s done in a flash ins’t it. For me Christmas lasts for 3 days; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. These are the three most important days as I’m normally working in between and have never been too fussed about New Year.
Last year Christmas was a whole new experience, Amelia was only 10 weeks old and I had to break a lot of my festive traditions to make Christmas work around her. I wrote a post about it, a whole year ago and you can read it here. After surviving Christmas with a newborn I had high hopes for this year; Amelia was going to be older and she was going to be able to enjoy it or at least get excited by it all even if she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on.
The build up
Oh I was so excited to put the tree up this year, last year it took me a whole day to do it between feeds and naps and changes and needing to rest myself. This year I was able to put it up and decorate it whilst Amelia took a nap. Her face was a picture when she came back downstairs and suddenly there was a huge tree in the house, covered in sparkling lights and “bubbles”. Amelia is obsessed with bubbles and anything circular in shape is a bubble as far as she is concerned so our tree was covered in shiny bubbles that she wanted to pop. After a few minutes of hesitation she approached the tree and gave it a smack; just to check it was real maybe, after that she spent most of the day just pointing and shouting at it.
She loves the tree, eventually getting used to it and very much enjoying the baubles and lights, one thing she’s not so keen on though is a light up dancing and singing penguin that I’ve had for years. Last year she didn’t bat an eyelid at it but this year…terrified! So terrified that she ran for the first time when it played. She’s been walking pretty well recently but she full on ran across the room screaming. I felt so bad but it was also hilarious.
I have enlisted said penguin as a Christmas tree guard, when I leave the room and don’t want her to hurt herself by pulling the tree over or breaking baubles, I simply place the penguin at the base of the tree and voila she won’t go near the tree until I come back and take it away. A little mean? Maybe, but I would never forgive myself if she pulled the tree down on herself or cut herself on a broken decoration so it’s the lesser of two evils.
Christmas shopping didn’t quite return to normal this year as I had hoped, last year I did most of it online because I couldn’t face the crowds and this year hasn’t been much different. Crowded shopping centres and a pram just don’t mix well. It’s too stressful and quite frankly I don’t care for it so I actually did most of my shopping on my lunch breaks at work. Using my breaks to look around and decide what I wanted and then grabbing as much as I could carry home on the train each day.
It wasn’t glamorous or particularly festive but it did get the job done and I was able to put my shopping to bed in early December, don’t need that last minute stress, no thanks! Wrapping was easier this year too, Amelia is so good with her bedtime routine that she would be asleep by 7.30pm each evening meaning I could sit at the table again with my Christmas songs and get properly into wrapping up gifts which I love.
This year I decided to start a new tradition with a Christmas Eve box for Amelia, I just love the idea of her having a little something the night before to get her started. This year I over did it a little and her box wouldn’t close (see what I included here) but I loved everything I put it in so I don’t think I would have changed anything.
We also decided to enlisted my mum and dad to look after her for the afternoon so that hubby and I could go to the cinema together for a little alone time before the chaos that is Christmas Day. It was so lovely dropping her off at their house and seeing the balloons they had made for her to play with, which she never put down by the way, balloons are popular with a one year old it turns out.
We had a lovely time at the cinema however when we got back to my parents it turned out Amelia had refused to sleep in their travel cot and had worked herself into such a hysterical state that we had to take her clothes off and take her outside to cool her down because she was so hot and flustered. She was exhausted from too much fun with her grandparents that she feel asleep in the car home and only woke up for about 20 minutes in the evening for some milk and a nappy change. I took the chance to quickly give her the Christmas Eve box but she just wanted to go back to bed.
Lesson for next year; do the Christmas Eve box earlier in the day in case she sleeps through it.
The magic of Christmas Day still gets me excited, at nearly 30 years old I was the first one up in the morning too excited to show Amelia her gifts to sleep in and isn’t it just typical that she would be so tired that she slept til 8.30am.
I am going to say Christmas Day was a day of two halves; the morning at home and the afternoon at my parents. It was gone 10.30am before we got around to look at her gifts and I knew we weren’t going to be able to open them all with her before we left to visit my parents so we prioritised the gifts bought for her my our friends and family and she was so spoilt.
Whilst she took her morning nap we decided to open one of her big gifts from us (that we bought for her birthday but she had too much stuff) it was the Vtech Toot Toot Animals Pet Hotel and assemble it for her. Blimey that was enough to test our marriage, a bit like Ikea furniture but with more coloured plastic. We got there eventually, and then also assembled her Toot Toot Stables and MegaBloks School.
I had saved a special dress for Amelia for Christmas Day and she looked so bloody cute in it that I couldn’t wait to get to Mum & Dad’s and show them. Waiting for her were more presents and she was having the best time. She was so well behaved and played with everything in turn as we opened them. Lots of books and learning toys which are perfect for her age.
As expected it was all about Amelia, I think us adults opened our first gifts around 6pm but Christmas really is all about children so we didn’t mind. Unlike last year though, she did NOT sleep. Just like Christmas Eve she had a screaming fit every time we took her upstairs for a nap and even though she was exhausted she just wouldn’t sleep.
She enjoyed Christmas dinner with us and played happily in her high chair when the food was finished, even playing with the string from our party poppers which didn’t scare her one little bit but as the afternoon went on she became more and more fractious. Eventually we went for a walk in the pram at about 5pm in an attempt to get her to fall asleep, it worked…for the duration of the walk but as soon as got home and carefully lifted the pram into the house, she woke up screaming again.
I’m not going to lie, there were times on Christmas Day that I really didn’t enjoy, I just wanted her to go to sleep, for her but also for me. I wanted a break from her tantrums, from her crying, from her throwing everything in frustration. So that I could sit down for 5 minutes and open a gift, or eat a mince pie.
We managed to stay until about 8pm when we took her home to bed and honestly I’ve not felt so stressed and exhausted in a long time. I thought Christmas with a new born was hard work, Christmas with a one year old who won’t nap is a nightmare. I’m trying really hard not to let those last few hours of the day taint my memory because the majority of the day was wonderful and magical and everything I wanted it to be and those are the moments I’ve tried to capture and remember.
We might have to rethink things next year though…
One thing I love about going to Mum & Dad’s for Christmas Day is that I don’t really have any reason to buy naughty food for Christmas which means that when I’m feeling bloated and gross from too much food the day before I don’t have any reason to keep over indulging. I was actually able to get back on track with my calorie counting on Boxing Day and whilst I am NOT one of those women who immediately resumes a diet (I’ve not been on plan for almost all of December) I just needed a break from eating so much and I felt so much better for it.
In the afternoon my parents came over to see us, we usually have a buffet on Boxing Day but switched things up a little this year (watch out). As expected we still had loads of gifts for Amelia to open, from us and from my parents but she was too busy playing with her new pet hotel and by playing I mean she just threw things around and made a LOT of noise.
We did eventually get all her gifts opened and she got pretty good as tearing the paper off. Each tear of paper she would walk over to one of us and give us the piece then go back to the gift, tear off some more and give it to us until she could pull the gift out. She would put the gift on the floor, gather up the rest of the paper and bring it to us and then forget all about the gift on the floor. Typical eh?
Being at home made Boxing Day so much easier, we were able to put her down for an afternoon nap, give her a bath in the evening and put her to bed at her usual time which meant the tantrums of the day before became a distant memory, thank the Lord.
My highlights of Christmas this year have definitely been seeing Amelia so much more excited, about the tree and the lights and the gifts. Even when we have been out and about she points at decorations in shops windows with excitement. Seeing her actually play with her toys (when there’s no paper to distract her) is so lovely, she’s interested in them this year and so good at learning what she needs to do. She’s been so spoilt by friends and family and we’re so grateful.
On a personal level; I’ve enjoyed Christmas more this year because I feel more like myself. Last year I was still recovering (6 weeks recovery is bull sh*t) and I felt sore, tired, uncomfortable, my boobs hurt, I felt fat, just generally rubbish in myself but this year I’ve lost the baby weight and a little more, I feel healed and I felt festive. I had the Christmas spirit and didn’t let anxiety get the better of me (other than the non nap stress at the end of the day) and whilst I have definitely over eaten for the duration of December I’ve been able to put a lid on it and get back to eating well which always makes me feel better.
I also got our second Christmas family photo, which I love!