New Traditions

Ever since my wife and I started dating back so many years ago, we would split our time at each other’s families celebrating the Christmas holiday.  We would rush from one family event to the next trying to make sure to spend enough time with everyone to make it feel worth the visit.  Those years were tough and I won’t lie, there were times I wanted to just forget about Christmas because of the anxiety I felt trying to make sure no one was left off our visit.  I looked forward to it all being over and wanting to get back to my own place away from the hustle that was Christmas.  I also told my wife once we had a child we wouldn’t be doing the usual things we did in the past for the holidays because I wanted to start enjoying them again and didn’t want my son to regret Christmas like I was starting to.

024This Christmas we decided we could start new traditions.  We were still going to visit both of our families, but instead of rushing back and forth between the parties we were going to visit the weekend before to make sure we could be home for Christmas.  We wanted to start traditions we could enjoy for years to come with our son and wanted to start them early so he could never think back to when Christmas was different.

We began with me and my son getting sick by the time we arrived back home on Christmas Eve.  My wife had to drive with me slumped in the passenger seat and the boy coughing in the back.  This is a bit of a tradition for me because growing up there are so few Christmases where I wasn’t sick that I could count those times on one hand.  However, being sick wasn’t going to stop me from trying to set our traditions in place.


He didn’t understand why he couldn’t eat the cookies after decorating them.

Once the car was unloaded and our travel bags were put away I began prepping the kitchen for the baking of cookies and cinnamon rolls.  The cookies were for Santa the cinnamon rolls were for breakfast.  Simple sugar cookies were what we decided on and we would decorate them after enjoying Polar Express hot chocolate and the Polar Express movie.  Now the boy didn’t exactly sit and enjoy the whole movie, but it’s more trying to start the traditions so they stick rather than fighting a toddler to sit still for almost 3 hours.

081After the movie was done and the cookies decorated, off to bed went my son so me and my wife could finish getting the gifts under the tree and prepping for an early morning.  We stuffed his stocking with little last minute gifts we picked up and enjoyed a little quiet time together before heading to bed ourselves.

084Christmas morning of course didn’t go as I had hoped.  It was the worst day for our colds and I didn’t get a great night of sleep.  We were cranky and not in the best of moods, but I wanted to try my best to make sure he would enjoy the day.  A smile spread across his face when he saw the tree lit up and the gifts sitting under it.  He ran straight to the bike sitting behind the tree and was ready to ride.

088His Thomas the Train set was a big hit as well.  He sat for hours on Christmas day pushing the engines around the figure eight and across the floor.  He didn’t want to stop playing with his new gifts long enough to enjoy the fresh cinnamon rolls, but was finally convinced to take a break so he would have enough energy to go all day.

The day started rough and we struggled to keep ourselves together, but once we sat back and enjoyed the moment it all seemed so much better.  Knowing we didn’t have to pack up and rush off to the next party or drive across the state of Michigan to make sure we got to the other family soon made this day all that much better.  Sitting in our pajamas, playing with our new gifts, eating sugary food and enjoying the day with just the three of us was, after all, what I was going for when I wanted to start our new traditions.  From here on out, until my son starts a family of his own, we will enjoy Christmas morning at home.  Just the three of us, still in our pajamas sipping on coffee and juice, enjoying the time we have together on a holiday meant for family.


About jharbottle7

I'm a husband, a father, want-to-be writer, struggling blogger and cyclist. Starting a family has changed my life and made me want to become a better person.
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