Thursday 27 December 2012

Ebony's First Christmas

This was Ebony's first Christmas, she's 11 months old. Too young to understand about Santa Claus, too young to know the nativity story, too young in fact to understand why we have brought the outside into our living room and adorned it with bells and lights.

She didn’t go to bed excited on Christmas Eve, and she didn’t wake up in a flurry of amazement at Santa's work tomorrow morning (how does he do it?!).

I thought she would be too young to open presents, but I was wrong. After spending weeks unsuccessfully clawing at and dragging around wrapped presents from under the tree, by the day itself she had got the hang of unwrapping. Good thing too, because there were plenty of presents to be opened.

She is too young to understand Christmas, but she did understand that it was an exciting day. She woke up in a good mood and stayed that way until she (finally) went to bed that night (after three hours of failed bedtimes). I think she could tell that we were in a particularly good mood and so she was happy too.

This year was a practice run. Our chance to iron out any kinks in, what will soon be, our family's Christmas traditions. I want to get Christmas right. I always loved Christmas as a child. The decorations, the celebrations and the build up; it was all just so magical. I'm not religious, Christmas isn't about Jesus for me. It's about the magic, the togetherness and the traditions.

My Mum always got us new pyjamas for Christmas Eve. They'd be waiting for us, neatly folded on the top stair, when we got out of our bath. I loved this tradition, especially the year we got matching glow in the dark Aladdin pyjamas, we looked so cool. I'm carrying this tradition on for Ebony, so she got some brand new pyjamas (which had to be folded at the knee and elbow because I bought them in the next size up due to my constant fear that she is about to have a growth spurt and become a full grown adult). And, because I need to add to the tradition in order to claim it as my own, I got her a book. I found a brand new copy of Dr Seuss's Oh the places you'll go for 25p in the local charity shop. The plan was to read it to her before bed on Christmas Eve, but poor Ebony was so exhausted she was fast asleep by the time I said “It’s opener there, in the wide open air”.

We invented our own tradition too; sushi on Christmas Eve. I’ll admit, it’s not a particularly festive tradition. But my husband makes really good sushi, and he very rarely makes it, so this way it’s an official tradition and he has to make it at least once a year. Plus it meant that Ebony got to have her first taste of sushi which she seemed to enjoy.

Ebony opened her presents throughout the day, and spent a lot of time exploring each new toy. We didn’t spend a lot this Christmas, I’ve been picking up presents for her from charity shops over the past couple of months so all of her presents were second hand. There didn’t seem much point buying things full price in shops when I could get like-new second hand toys for a fraction of the price. I managed to get a selection of wooden toys that look as though they’ve never been played with for £3 and brand new they would have cost over £40. I’m quite proud of my thrifty Christmas, and Ebony loves each and every toy. Especially the noisy ones.

Ebony was treated to lots of lovely presents from friends and family too. She received quite a few traditional wooden toys which I love, mostly because they are quiet, and lots of instruments which she loves, mostly because they are not quiet.

Her main present this year was a rocking horse her Papa made for her. She keeps crawling over to it and saying “Please can you put me on the rocking horse?” (which she communicates by way of grunts and pointing) and then insists on being rocked for ages. When I was little, my Dad made a rocking horse for me and my sister. We loved him (the horse, not our Dad. Although we loved him too, obviously. But that was nothing to do with the horse, Santa brought us the rocking horse) and I’m really glad Ebony has one of her very own. I love handmade presents, I think it’s really special to know that someone spent time lovingly creating something for you. Ebony’s horse, who is as yet unnamed, is made out of the offcuts of wood that my Dad used to make my wendy house when I was little too, just in case it wasn’t already special enough.

Ebony really enjoyed her Christmas dinner too, even eating some of the vegan haggis I made, which was a relief because she hasn’t been eating great recently. I didn’t manage to try out any nut roast or haggis recipes in the run up to Christmas, so we just used a haggis recipe from the internet. It was nice, but I don’t think it’s special enough to be our annual Christmas dinner so I think I’ll try something new for next year.

In the run up to Christmas, I read an article saying that the average family has their first Christmas argument by 10:13am, and I wondered how long it would take us. I’m pleased to report that not only did we not argue once, but it was a stress-free and very enjoyable day. Everything went really well and Ebony seemed to have a really good day.

I can’t wait till next year.
I hope you all had a good Christmas too.

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