The weeks before the baby came Mike and I spent trying to prepare for Christmas as much as possible before she came. My hope is that this Christmas can be a nice, relaxing Christmas where we can just hunker down in our house and be together and enjoy the holiday.
When I asked the boys what they were worried about when the baby arrived one of Will's concerns was that I don't get to spend as much time with them when we have a new baby. He's right and we explained that along with the joy of a new baby comes some sacrifices as well--my time would not be as free as it otherwise would be.
Thinking about Will's comment and my desire to have a nice, quiet Christmas with the kids, Mike and I decided on some things that we could do to find a good compromise. One of our traditions is wrapping Christmas books and letting the boys unwrap one to read at night. This year we decided to do something a little more with this tradition. (I should note that I do not have 25 books. I have about 17 though) Mike and I sat down with the calendar, a notebook, and the Christmas books. We decided on activities that could go with each book and then scheduled them on the calendar.
I was worried that doing this was just going to add more stress to an already stressful time with a new baby. But I also wanted this Christmas to be one where we all spent time together as a family. So we tried to find activities that could be fun but not too much work. Also, Mike has to work still (he can't really take time off until finals are over in a week) so I didn't want to be stressing about getting an activity together when I have to be on my own already with all the kids and the baby.
Some of the activities are really simple and take very little time while others require a little preparation on my part. I tried to schedule those activities on weekends or for the days after finals when I know Mike will be around to help me. Some of the activities go directly with the book and others don't.
Anyway, we've done three days so far and things have gone pretty well.
Here is a rundown of the first three activities we've done to help us get in the Christmas mood:
1. We read the book Christmas Magic. It's just a fun book about a girl and a neighbor boy who each make a snowman/woman only to discover the snowman/woman come alive. Trees and presents dance, mice make cookies, etc. The activity we chose doesn't really have much to do with the book but we picked the boys up from school and then drove to the cemetery where we decorated Laila's Christmas tree. We thought we would start out our celebrations by including Laila in the festivities.
Those are the three activities we've done so far. Like I said, some of the activities really don't have a lot to do with the book but others fit a lot more. Also, I have a good mixture of purely fun Christmas books and then some of a more spiritual nature.
I'm hoping these activities can be fun and memorable. I really want to celebrate this year because last year was our first Christmas without Laila and we were so sad that had we not gone to Utah, we probably wouldn't have celebrated at all. I really want this year to be different. I want us to celebrate as a family doing meaningful things. As we open more books and do more activities, I'll post them on here.