Thursday, December 6, 2012

well, that'll never happen again

this christmas season i'm feeling the pressure to get it right like never before.

i want to make sure our sweet baby bud, a couple of days shy of 11 months, has a great first christmas.  i want to start building special family traditions and memories.  i don't want to miss anything   the type-a personality in me just wants to get it right.

but i'm quickly realizing just how easily this season can get out of control and overwhelming.

i've been trying to - 

  • find the perfect first ornament for our bud
  • find the perfect first teddy bear for him
  • decide what to do about a tree - should we go to a tree farm and do that whole thing as our new family tradition or just go up in the woods and cut one down like we've done in years past?  or should we forgo a tree altogether since we'll probably have to gate it off so it doesn't become a hazard? 
  • make sure he has a cute christmas outfit for photos
  • make sure i capture photos of him with the tree, photos of him with christmas lights, capture other various ideas i've seen on pinterest (another reason i have a love/hate relationship with pinterest), etc.
  • research local christmas activities and plan to do some of them
  • make christmas presents
  • decorate the house
  • catch up on photo editing from the beginning of the year so that i can put together a photo book of his first year (this is a MONUMENTAL project, and one i've been putting off for..well, this entire year).  i literally have thousands of RAW photos taken in my crazy new-mom phase that i uploaded and then never sorted/edited/etc.  there's no more putting it off, i just have to DO IT.  cue early mornings and late nights
  • plan his first birthday party, which falls a couple of weeks after christmas.  beside deciding on a loose theme, i have done nothing for this yet
  • decide on christmas (and birthday) gifts for him and other family/friends

AND last but not least...figure out the best local santa to take him to get his picture taken with.  i know, this is silly, but i envisioned taking him to the same place every year, and i wanted a real-bearded santa.  a nice backdrop would be the icing on the cake.  but after realizing that everyone i've asked has a differing opinion on the best local santa, and trying to squeeze in santa time between naps on a week day, yesterday i made a decision.  we would head to the nearest mall and just get it over with.  i had actually heard great things about that santa anyway, and i just wanted to cross this off my to-do list.

well, things didn't quite go according to plan...

  • the christmas outfit i had envisioned him wearing (a cute hanna anderson scandinavian-inspired look i found at a consignment event earlier this year) proved to be quite a bit smaller than i thought.  i still squeezed him into it, but, well, it's obvious.
  • when we arrived at the mall, santa was on a break, and not scheduled to be back for another 45 minutes.  every minute spent waiting is precious when you have an active 10 1/2 month old who does not want to be confined to a stroller.  45 minutes may as well have been 5 hours.
  • when the hubs (who was able to meet us at the mall after work) saw the prices they wanted to charge us for the photo packages, he cried price-gouging.  and he's not even the frugal one in the family!  yes, i told him, it's a total rip-off, but they're going to charge that because they can.  well, it wasn't about the money for him; it was principle.  so he convinced me that if we're going to spend a crazy amount on santa photos, we may as well go to macy's santaland downtown portland, and make a fun family event of it.  well, i couldn't disagree with that.  that's where i had originally wanted to go; i just  figured it would be a whole production to get the bud there alone, and had given up on the idea.

so we decided to walk the mall for a few minutes as to not feel like our trip there was a total bust.  after perusing the christmas displays in macy's and nordstrom, we were headed toward the mall exit, when it happened...

we ran into santa.

well, not literally  but we saw him re-enter the mall, and it appeared he was heading back to his sleigh.  when he walked by and saw us, he knelt down and said hi to our bud.  now, i'm sure not every mall santa would do that when 'off the job', but this santa was awesome!!  he was the real deal (beard and everything).  he seemed genuinely happy to see our little guy, and was soooo sweet to him.

but it gets better.  

we were walking in the same direction he was, a few paces behind, when we saw a mom and her two older kids say hi to santa, and then proceed to take a picture of/with him with their phone.  well, not only did santa not mind, he was looking at the pictures on the woman's phone and appeared to be asking to take more.

in that moment i made a decision.  i pulled out my camera (which i had brought along just in case i could take a picture of santa and bud while in the sleigh - which i found is not allowed) and decided to approach santa.  normally, i would be embarrassed and think it incredibly rude and tacky to do something like that...but after what i witnessed, i didn't over-think it; i just had to do it! 

i asked santa if he would mind taking a couple of quick pics with our bud, and was THRILLED at his warm response.  we got the following...

it started off like this - 

and ended like this-

{am i a bad mom for admitting i'm a teeny bit happy to have gotten the scared baby picture?  i've always found them hilarious.}

i know visiting santa will never happen like this again, and we'll probably still do the macy's santa experience this year, but i will never, ever forget our bud's FIRST and very unique santa experience.  it was special and meant to be.  and i don't think we'll ever meet a santa quite like this one ever again.


but despite all the craziness this christmas season (and maybe because of it), the thing i most want to get right is to not forget the real meaning of christmas.  for our family, that means jesus, the reason this time of year is so important and why we celebrate.  it's not about the presents, and it's definitely not about the perfect first ornament or santa. 

it's about the baby jesus and through who we can experience hope, joy, love and peace.

if we can get that right, i have no doubt everything else will fall into place.  :)


Amber said...

Love this sweet post Tabitha! Such beautiful (and funny) pictures with Santa! Balancing Christmas with kids and all there is to do is a learning process as a mom, for sure, and it took me a few years to figure it all out. Good luck with all those RAW pictures!!

Anonymous said...

Love this! what a cool and memorable first santa meeting for bud :)
And don't stress out too much about getting your list all done... bud will appreciate anything that you do, and the most important thing is that you are not too busy being busy to enjoy the sweet moments that go by so fast.
Wish we could be there to celebrate with you... we should skype for sure!