Since our first engaged Christmas, Husband and I have burned the highways to celebrate with both families. We typically spent the 23rd and 24th in Montgomery with my family, woke up very early Christmas morning, opened presents, loaded the car, and drove four hours to Muscle Shoals to spend the 25th and 26th with Husband's family. Each year got a little harder. Work made it less likely to get the 23rd and 26th off, so we ended up squeezing as much into 48 hours as possible. It wasn't ideal, but we were getting to spend time with everyone and that was all that mattered. Then, C arrived.
She spent her first Christmas on the road, following our usual game plan. We made it work. We were so overloaded with toys (albeit, not the worst problem), that we had to stop at our house in Birmingham to unload on the way. Then, we drove in the snow with our baby to Husband's parents' house.
Don't get me wrong. We love spending the holidays with our families. From the beginning of the split, we tried to be a part of the celebrations that were most important to each of us (Christmas Eve dinner in my family and Christmas Day in his). And, honestly, I consider us lucky to have both families within driving distance. But, knowing we would have an active, busy, almost two year old on our hands this year, we decided to change things up a bit.
We wanted Christmas morning to be in her house. We wanted her to get to sleep in her bed, walk down her stairs, and see her presents in her living room. We wanted Santa to come to our house.
This obviously threw a bit of a curve ball, especially since we both have siblings and their families to consider as well. So, we decided that we would host Christmas Eve dinner at our house for my family. My parents stayed with us so they could be there for Christmas morning and we opened presents Christmas Eve with my sister and brother-in-law so they could be with his family Christmas Day. We took over the traditional dinner that my parents have hosted for 28 years (after I was born and they took it over for the same reason); and, while I was a bit nervous, I was excited that it was working out.
|My family on Christmas Eve|
|Giggles with Aunt Mallory|
Husband's family was a bit more complicated. He is one of four boys. They are all married with children. That's a lot of people with a lot of holiday obligations! So, for this year at least, we decided to go the weekend before Christmas. Luckily, two of his brothers live in the area, so we were able to get in some time with their families too.
|Our sweet nephew, Wesley|
|Our sweet nephew, Major|
|Catherine playing the organ with cousin Lydia|
|Lydia and Pop|
|Bedtime story with Mim|
So, to wrap up this Christmas, was it different? Yes. I would be lying if I didn't say I missed being at my childhood home or missed getting to have everyone there (Grandma and Poppy were in New Jersey this year and Big Daddy wasn't able to travel Christmas Day). I would be lying if I didn't say it was hard work making Christmas Eve dinner; and I would be lying even more if I said I was showered and dressed when my parents and cousin arrived. But, it was definitely worth it all to get to spend my entire Christmas in pajamas, playing with toys and watching movies with my little family.
|Waiting to see her toys on Christmas morning|
|Poppa trying to slow her down for a quick pic|
|Poppa and Cici with both grandchildren|
|Nana on Christmas morning|
This year was the beginning of our tradition. Things will evolve over the years and I'm sure there will be more changes. But, for now, for this year at least, we were home for Christmas - Catherine's home. And it was perfect.