Sadly Christmas 2015 came and went like the wind. 🙁 The 70 degree weather and plethora of rain made it harder than usual to get into the Christmas spirit, but we still had a grand time remembering the reason for the season! It was also eventful as the first Christmas with our first child! Though it may have been unseasonably warm, I (& my wife) still realized this Christmas was a little different than Christmases past.
Now that the gifts have been opened and the treats have been eaten, I will digress how, as a dad, I felt this Christmas was different now that we have a little one to celebrate it with.
It's No Longer All About Me
There are 10 presents for our family to open and 7 of them are for the 6-month old? Something has to be wrong with that scenario. It's real and I'm sure you parents reading this can relate when remembering back to your baby's first Christmas.
It took some acclimating to see the various toys & outfits our daughter received & realize for not everything under the tree was solely for me and my wife. Indirectly I suppose you could say these presents were for us. If our daughter hadn't received these gifts, we would have needed to take the time and money to buy some bigger clothes & age-appropriate toys when the time came.
My wife and I are happy with the items we received. Like every year, we were given more gifts from our families than we expected, but would have been happy just exchanging the gifts we bought each other.
Parenthood quickly teaches you the principle of unselfish love. Your schedule adapts to baby's nap & feeding times and you find yourself packing as much, or more, into the car just for your baby (i.e. stroller, diaper bag, blankets, toys, pacifier) than you might pack for yourself. The days of just hopping in the car with just my wallet and keys is only a memory during this season of life. But it is a great and rewarding alternative to be living.
I have two distinctive thoughts on this topic. Both are good thoughts.
Thought #1: My wife & I have joined the “club.” The parent's/”old” people club. I was excited to see what was wrapped in all the boxes under the tree, but it was more exciting to watch our 6 month old daughter try to unwrap presents. More like watching her try to eat the wrapping paper and flail the box ribbon around like it was a streamer for a gymnastic floor dance routine in the Olympics. I remember wanting to shake and peek into every wrapped gifts days before Christmas. I probably still would if I had the time, but now I was most excited seeing what our little one was given by our families.
Thought #2: We are about to embark on a trip to visit my family that lives 7 hours away. Our family vehicle's transmission went on the fritz and it cannot be repaired until after the New Year. 🙁 So we are left with the joyous opportunity to rent a car for the week. Then my wife's family offers us one of their cars that we can borrow. 🙂 It is handy to live next to relatives in these instances, especially as we were fully prepared to rent the car and were not expecting somebody to give up their “good” car for a week. They didn't just offer to lend us their vehicle because it was Christmas.
Car troubles aside, Christmas was different this year because we started our own family this year. That process will keep evolving each year as our own children increase in quantity and age so that we begin our own Christmas day traditions. Prior to this Christmas, my wife & I had spent two Christmases together so the family dynamic had already begun to change but it happened at “warp speed” this year.
By having our own child, I can also relate more with everybody else in the room when all the extended family got together. I'm no longer in that in-between stage of not being a child yet not a “full” adult. It was another way of realizing that the parenthood makes you less selfish & self-centered than ever before and more joy is found by vicariously witnessing the joy of others.
3. Less Is More
Perhaps my greatest takeaway from this Christmas is the expression, “Less is More.” I feel it is the underlying tone of my first two takeaways too.
We probably received more material goods this year because of our daughter than if it was just my wife & I. For some reason, people love babies. But I was happy with getting some items I needed (but didn't necessarily want to buy for myself) and some fun items that my wife gave me.
I'm probably most thankful for the memories of our firstborn's first Christmas & the time spent with family. It's always been great being with family over the years, but as I mentioned in takeaway #2, a switch flips in your mind when you gain membership to the “Parent's Club.”
Why I Had A Merry Christmas
As I have mentioned earlier, I realized how selfish I (& every other human being) naturally is and how we create certain expectations. When things don't exactly occur as you expect, you realize this shortcoming. I don't mean to come across as altruistic, but after 28 Christmases only have to essentially worry for myself, I wasn't expecting my 29th Christmas to be as different as it was.
I didn't know quite how different or special this Christmas would be until I experienced it. I knew it would be different than the other 28 Christmases, but I can tell you I'm looking forward to my 30th Christmas.
You can't measure the greatness of Christmas by how many presents are under the tree or how many different desserts are available for the family feast on Christmas Day.
For me, this Christmas was great & humbling at the same time. Humbling in the fact that this day recognizes the birth of a baby some 2,000 years ago that changed the lives of His parents and the entire world for that matter. This Christmas is also great because my wife & I have our own special memories for each year going forward, just like the countless families that have also celebrated Christmas on the Earth.
What are your favorite Christmas memories? Do you do anything special to remember Christmas with your children or family?
Thanks For Reading.
Have A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year,
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.