Baby's First Christmas
That's a fairly fitting word to describe our Christmas this year. Perhaps we're not very good at getting into the Christmas spirit. Planning and organising are evidently not my strong points. As usual, we didn't really have any plans and left things to the last minute. Then there were things that no amount of planning could have prevented. We were almost without water on Christmas Eve - luckily my husband fixed the problem, at least temporarily. Then we had a powercut on Christmas Day for three hours, just as it was getting dark - could there be any worse timing? We thought we wouldn't get electricity back til the next day so we were really happy and relieved when the lights came back on!
Perhaps it wasn't what I might have hoped or imagined for my daughter's first Christmas.
She didn't mind, though.
She was fascinated by the little toy ornaments on the Christmas tree, finally decorated a few days earlier by my mother-in-law with her collection of decorations accumulated over many years. She is especially fond of the little furry squirrel that grips the branch with its paws and is easily pulled off the tree.
She loved her new toys and particularly enjoyed playing with the wrappings, labels and packaging they came in (initially more interesting than the actual toys, in fact!). It was a little unclear exactly which presents Santa had brought, since none of them actually fit in the stocking (another example of non-planning) which, a bit of an afterthought, was draped over the presents under the tree. That's not even a Mexican tradition anyway, so there was also a tiny red shoe daintily placed among the presents.
She revelled in all the attention she received from us on Christmas Day, unusually all three - mummy, daddy and grandmother - at home together all day, as well as seeing her other grandparents in England and two aunties and uncles all together on Skype.
That was all that mattered to her.
She didn't mind that her mummy didn't make any festive handcrafts or do any baking, or that most of the Christmas dinner was ready-made shop-bought (except for my spaghetti with creamy spinach sauce). She didn't mind that there was no huge noisy lively family gathering and that it was rather quiet with just the four of us. She didn't mind that she missed Christmas dinner altogether (celebrated on the night of the 24th here) because she was already in bed fast asleep.
My little girl had no expectations, no pre-conceived ideas of what Christmas should be. She just lives each moment as it comes.
She didn't care that there were no mince pies (serious omission, impossible to get here), but that there was a Christmas pudding (the first I've had in several years), thanks to my parents who brought it over when they came to visit in September. It didn't matter to her that there were no brussels sprouts, no lumpy mishapen stocking to awaken to on Christmas morning, no advent calendar to open. Those are my memories of Christmas from my childhood and as much as I could try to recreate those experiences, they won't be the same. My daughter lives in a different time and a different country from the one I grew up in, with another culture and another language. Her Christmases will be very different from the ones I feel nostalgic for.
It is our job to create new experiences for her, include what we can of both worlds; a mix of both British and Mexican traditions, and maybe some new ones of our own. Next year she will start to be a little more aware of things so, with a little more preparation on our part, we have to make sure she has her own Christmas magic to remember.