When I was growing up, our Christmas decorations stayed up well into January. But now that I have a family of my own, things are definitely different. I still decorate at the beginning of December, but I can expect the inevitable question on December 26th from my husband, "When are you going to take the tree down?" And my answer is also unchanging, "Before the family party on the 31st."
Where I live, Christmas is a quiet holiday, while New Year's Eve is widely celebrated. On December 31st, we traditionally hold an all-family gathering at our house, which means 35+ adults, teens and children all squished into one medium-size space. Although not huge, our house is by far the largest in the family and therefore the default location. This means that we need every available inch, especially in the living/dining area, for our traditional midnight meal.
All of this is to explain why I have such strong motivation each year to take down my Christmas things before the New Year. I like to think of it as packing away the year, and it gives me a few quiet moments for reflection. This year I wonder what 2013 will hold for us. We plan on being in the U.S. for Christmas next year, and any time we make a country move, we can never be truly sure of our return date. When will I next unpack these Christmas ornaments?
Laughing at Chaos wrote a post today in response to a challenge - what did you do right in 2012? This thought intrigues me as well because I spend far more time dwelling on all of the things I do wrong, daily.
So with one day left to the year, here is my list:
1) Kept Raccoon home. I was seriously considering sending him to preschool this year and even went so far as to visit three different ones at different points in the year. But I could never quite commit to the decision, and looking back, it was best for him to be home. Will I feel the same in 2013? We'll see.
2) Baby Robin. Of course, this won't really be complete until she's home with us in 2013, but I'm glad that my second (and last, I think!) pregnancy is almost over. I hoped that we'd all be in a much better place by the time she was born (mostly in the sleeping department), but we'll just have to figure out this crazy family life together. Regardless, I wouldn't take back the decision to go for #2 no matter what.
3) Had my first regular alone time since Raccoon was born, three years ago. It started out more as an accident, I needed to do some tedious paperwork, so my husband offered to stay home with Raccoon for the first time ever. Raccoon had SEVERE separation anxiety, the kind that made the regular clingy-toddler-phase look fun. Add to this his exceptional memory, freak-out meltdowns, and ability to hold a grudge, and I don't blame my husband for not trying before. The first few times were hard (and short), but my paperwork dragged on and on, and eventually, week after week, Raccoon started to have fun. Today was the first time I ever left him under non-family adult supervision with some other kids at a neighborhood party for a few minutes and he didn't even miss me.
4) Decided to let go and choose to be open to new possibilities in 2013.