This is a BIG year for the Bennetts. We are expecting our second child in April of next year, both my husband and I have started new personal projects/businesses, AND we put up a Christmas tree for the first time!!!
Yep, you read that correctly. In the 13 years that my husband and I have been married, this is the VERY first year we’ve put up a Christmas tree.
Now before you think I’m the Grinch or Scrooge, let me explain why . . .
Why We Didn’t Put Up a Tree
For the first seven years of our marriage, my husband traveled a lot for his job over the holidays. So it was just me at home to do the decorating until we left town for at least a week right around Christmas Day.
I worked fulltime. And for two of those years, I worked fulltime AND did graduate school, so let’s just say I was “not feeling it” when it came to the idea of putting up a tree and decorating it only to spend maybe two weeks enjoying it to have to take it down again.
On top of that, we had a cat. MY cat. He was a one-person cat and that one person was me.
Anyway, that cat was my fur-child (God rest his furry little soul). I didn’t want him to eat anything on the tree and then vomit all over the house – more work for me and potential vet bills to pay.
I also didn’t want him climbing the tree, bringing it crashing down – again with the cleanup and additional work for me.
All that to say, we didn’t put up a Christmas tree. I have always put up other decorations and baked cookies and binge-watched all the Christmas movies I possibly can. After all, I absolutely LOVE Christmas. I did NOT love the work I viewed it to be to put up a tree.
What Changed This Year
Some things changed this year though. I changed this year.
Unfortunately, my cat passed over the rainbow bridge in July of this year to go to “kitty heaven”.
My daughter is almost four years old and much more aware of what happens around Christmas. Even though my husband and I have never mentioned Santa or that he brings gifts, she keeps telling us that Santa is going to come down the chimney with gifts.
Oh, and that the Grinch is going to steal the gifts. So we’re constantly reassuring her that the Grinch is NOT real and is NOT going to come in our house to steal her gifts. In retrospect, maybe it was a little too early to introduce that holiday classic, but I can’t undo it now! #parenting
And this Christmas, I am pregnant with our second child! We’re excited to be expecting a baby boy in April of 2020.
If you are a mom, and if you are here reading this, you very likely ARE, then you know just how much your priorities shift and change with the birth of each child. Things that weren’t important before, suddenly become important. And things that seemed SO important, get pushed to the bottom of the list of your priorities.
You Are Allowed to Change Your Mind
Here’s the thing – what we did in the past doesn’t matter. I am allowed to change and to change my mind about what’s important to me. Just like YOU are allowed to change your mind about what you want.
People grow and change. That is part of the beautiful journey of life. You are NOT stuck in your past choices. You and I can decide today to make new choices. To shift priorities.
I’m a mom of two now. After over five years in the same house in the same community, I feel settled and connected.
I want my children to experience the same joy and magic of a home decorated with the twinkling lights and shiny ornaments of a family Christmas tree.
When I was young, the Christmas tree going up signaled that Christmas celebrating could officially begin.
With my birthday in early December, my sweet parents tried to make my birthday celebration and Christmas festivities as separate as possible. So the tree didn’t’ go up until AFTER my birthday.
But when that tree went up, oh man, it was GAME ON! Christmas everything!!
I remember the Christmas tree as an important Christmas tradition for me growing up. I want my kids to enjoy the beauty and magic in the same way.
Of course, we’ll explain the real meaning of Christmas to our kids. And that Christmas trees are NOT what Christmas is about. That we give gifts to each other in recognition of the BEST gift of all given to us – A baby born in a dirty manger in Bethlehem who came to save the world.
Make It A First
Life as a parent with young kids brings new adventures, decisions, and new challenges to navigate all the time. I want to encourage you to be confident in your decisions to do things or not do things. It took me a while to get comfortable with that myself. But now, I’ve found new freedom in focusing more on what’s best for me and my family.
START a tradition that is meaningful to you and your family.
STOP doing things just because people expect you to do them. Or worse, just because you’ve been doing them for a while. Ask yourself WHY you’re doing it.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind! Be confident in your choice, knowing that it’s based firmly on what is important and valuable to YOU and your family.
Enjoy Your Choices
I am loving my First Bennett Family Christmas Tree! Is it Pinterest worthy? Um, not even close. But does it make me happy and grateful when I see it? ABSOLUTELY!
I’m SO glad I changed my mind this year and decided to make buying and decorating a Christmas tree a priority.
I still don’t do a lot of decorating for the holidays. I don’t want it to feel like work. That’s me though. I know what I can handle without feeling too overwhelmed. You do what you feel is doable and enjoyable though!
We have framily (friends who are more like family) who decorate EVERY room in their very large house for Christmas. It literally takes months to get it all up. And that makes them SO happy. I like to go to their house and enjoy looking at it and then be able to leave and not have to deal with taking it all down:)
Don’t feel guilty for changing your mind or shifting your energy to something else either. Whether that be putting up a Christmas tree, starting a new tradition, starting a new career path, or starting to homeschool your children.
Nobody else can make those decisions for you – nor should they. And nobody else will enjoy them for you either.
Here’s to ‘Firsts’. And to joyfully and confidently changing your mind.
Merry Christmas, friend!