It’s the most wonderful time of the year… a really crazy year.
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are here. The end of 2019 feels like yesterday and at the same time feels too good to have happened. The carefree life we all lived before this pandemic feels so out of reach, I’m struggling to grasp my mind around it. It’s not that this state of the world will ever feel normal, but COVID has impacted so many parts of our lives that going back to the way things were seems unattainable. I mean, imagine booking concert tickets, hugging a friend you randomly run into, or having a dinner party where you share a plate of appetizers with people not in your household. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Maybe that’s why this time of year feels extra special to me.
Despite the complete shitshow this year has been, I’m really looking forward to Christmas. My immediate family hasn’t been under the same roof in almost a year, and I am ecstatic to have them here. Jude is still young, but he’s really enjoying everything that comes with the holidays and it’s Heath’s first Christmas, which is always special. My brother hasn’t seen Jude since he was 11 months old and I can’t wait for them to see each other outside of FaceTime, and he has yet to be able to meet Heath. We won’t be spending much time out of the house due to the fact that we want to be as safe as possible, but to be able to play board games together and keep our Christmas traditions going sounds like a dream after being a part for so long.
I’ve talked about this before but Christmas Eve is much more of a celebration for my family than Christmas. My mom makes stuffed shells while my dad makes a big antipasto dish. We open one gift on Christmas Eve night – a tradition my husband brought into our family, and then on Christmas day my mom makes waffles after we open gifts. Typically we eat something non-traditional that night (tacos has been a popular dish in the past) so this year my husband will be making dumplings.
My husband and I are SO excited for Jude to open his gifts! I try and take a more minimalist approach when it comes to toys (my husband on the other hand is a big kid himself and loves toy shopping) but we picked up some things for Jude we knew he would love. He’s been on a real Toy Story kick, so we picked up a Woody Doll for him – we’re calling this the “big gift” because we know he’s going to absolutely lose it when he sees it. Outside of a few other things, we also got him a Melissa & Doug cleaning set since he loves to help us “clean” the house. Another gift I can’t wait for him to open is his Slumberkins doll from my parents. Not only are they incredibly soft, but I love the meaning behind each one. We purchased Heath more practical items since he’s too young to open gifts, but I’m so excited to create memories as a family of four. And if you didn’t think I was that type of mom to buy us matching pajamas for Christmas morning, you were wrong.
In the past, I always thought that decorating too early for the holidays was rushing time, but I’m a full-blown believer now in getting a Christmas tree as early as possible. It’s so nice to have the magic of the holidays in the house earlier, and especially now that we’re all stuck at home, it’s nice to enjoy it longer. (Side note: I’ve still yet to find a tree topper I like. Hopefully in 2021 I’ll find “the one”) This is also the first year that we’ve lit the menorah. We always had ours out this time of year, but now that we have children, we’re putting more effort into celebrating Hannukah as well since we want the boys to know both holidays. They’re lucky kids!
I understand that a lot of people feel completely burned out from 2020. So many people have experienced unbelievable heartbreak from losing loved ones to COVID and it has put so many things in perspective for me. I am so grateful for the health of my family and for the birth of my son this year, and although Thanksgiving was the first holiday we weren’t able to spend together, I know how lucky I am to see my family for Christmas. This year’s celebration will be that much sweeter.