This is my boys’ 3rd Christmas, but the first that they really have any idea what is going on around here with the tree in the living room and the lights everywhere. They were born at the beginning of November, and as anyone with twins or more babies knows, the first few months are a blur. We didn’t put up a tree their first Christmas, and we didn’t even wrap gifts. There was a big pile of Amazon boxes we just opened up Christmas Eve. I knew when we had kids I wanted to really enjoy the holidays and make it magical for them. That first year, though, was tough. We did dress the boys up in holiday outfits, took the requisite photos, and we did the one thing I knew we couldn’t skip: We took them to see Santa.
It was incredibly cold out, and our local Santa is outdoors (He has a little hut that is heated.) I think Santa was a little surprised when we handed him two one-month-old babies. We snapped our photo, wished him Merry Christmas and left. Easy peasy. Sure, it’s not the best photo, but it was their first Christmas and it was on my must-do list. The rest, the tree, the wrapping, the hoopla, we skipped out of necessity and exhaustion.
The second year we did put up our tree, which interested our not-yet-walking one year olds but not anymore than a cardboard box might. And they opened their presents Christmas Morning (which were wrapped!) However, our must-do photo on Santa’s lap was sort of a fiasco. We went to see the local Santa again, which was a no-go since there was a crazy line and it was snowing sideways. As time ticked by, I realized that I would regret not getting the photo so I went to the mall on the 23rd of December and the three of us waited in line for, and I am not making this up, FOUR HOURS. I had to text my husband and have him bring extra provisions since we had exhausted the milk and snacks I brought along. It was insane, but it was something I knew I wanted to do and would be completely bummed it we didn’t. I wanted my kids to be able to look back and see their visits to Santa every year since they were a month old. So we waited. And they were amazing, they sat in their stroller, waited patiently (I pretty much just kept a steady stream of snacks going in their direction.) and we got the best photo I could have asked for.
So this year, I got smart. We went to visit the man in red even before Thanksgiving. Early? Yes. long lines? No. All day leading up to the visit, my boys were saying, “See Santa?” and were really excited. We talked about how the visit would go, I asked them what they wanted to ask Santa to bring for Christmas and was repeatedly told, “Cheese.” And then the big moment came. And, well, it didn’t go as picture-perfectly as last year. But it’s honest and true and I love it.
I love that we’ve created the tradition of visiting Santa. And now we’re putting up decorations and making cookies and decorating Gingerbread Houses. It took a couple years for us to get our footing with the holidays and start making our traditions with our boys. Now that they are really starting to understand the world around them, the things we do this Christmas may shape all our yearly traditions to come.
But no matter what, they will have their Santa photos, and hopefully memories of the fun things we’ve done together as a family for Christmas.
You can read about our adventures on and off Santa’s lap at goteamwood.com.