While I have always enjoyed Christmas, there is something that makes it so much more fun after having kids. Their excitement, their joy, their anticipation all add to the season. Each year since our kids were born has been more and more fun.
Mark was eight months old for his first Christmas. I loved that age! He was crawling and pulling up and very happy. Being a first child, I went totally overboard on presents and he didn’t stay interested for all of them, but he did have a really good time. My parents live near-by, and we have been so blessed to spend almost all of our holidays plus so much of everyday life with them. With only one child in tow, we went to more events that year including parties with groups and to other people’s homes. I remember at the time thinking that it was a little challenging to take a baby somewhere. If I had only known!
Our quintuplets were two months old and Mark was 20 months the next year. Mark was even more excited! He knew the manger scene characters, made animal noises, passed out presents to everyone and was all aglow with every present, even simple ones like bubbles. I was determined not to overdo it that year and had asked him frequently what he wanted for Christmas so we could get less but make sure it was what he was hoping for. Every single time, he told me that he wanted a candy cane. I loved the simplicity of that age! He got a huge candy cane along with a few other things. Two of the babies had rolled over, and all of them were starting to be more aware of toys and people.
For our next Christmas, our quintuplets were 14 months, and Mark was 2.5 years old. For this one, everyone was walking and excited about presents! We put a gate around the tree so our quints couldn’t knock it down or get to the ornaments, but they loved standing at the gate looking at it! This was the first year where we traveled at all. It was just about an hour drive to see Bill’s family, but it took a lot of packing! Pack-n-plays for naps, booster seats for eating, sippy cups for our quintuplets, etc. Definitely worth it! The kids had a blast, and the family enjoyed seeing them.
Last year, our quintuplets were 2, and Mark was 3.5 years old. Being a very hands-on development stage, we left the gate down and let them help decorate the tree. The kids made a bunch of ornaments (with my help) which covered the bottom half of the tree. They loved taking them off and putting them back on. We drove about four hours to spend some time with Bill’s family. While that still took a lot of work and packing, it was much easier than the year before. They were all much more flexible with things.
Now that our quints are 3 and Mark is 4.5 years old, I think we had our best Christmas yet this year. The kids all knew the Christmas story and loved playing with their manger scenes. They all had ideas of what presents they wanted for Christmas, and everyone was excited to open them! We decorated cookies, made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, lit the third candle of Advent at our church as a family, and took the kids to their first Christmas Eve church service. They are still so excited playing with new presents.
We have been so blessed, and 2011 has been a particularly good year. We are grateful for all that God has given us, especially at Christmastime and look forward to seeing what is in store in 2012. Have a happy New Year!