Celebrating A New Christmas

I have a new love for Christmas this year. This is the first year for us to celebrate Christmas in our new house! I can’t wait to decorate all the rooms for the first time and for us to start making new memories in our house together. I am a traditions girl and I love to decorate, bake Christmas cookies, and drive through the Christmas lights. Last Christmas, we were living in apartment while we looked for a house, but this year we are settled. The mantle and the fireplace in our home are just right for hanging stockings. This year, Christmas is new in a joyful way, and I love it.

This has gotten me thinking about other Christmases as an adult where there were big events for the first time. There was the first Christmas when we were engaged, and we were putting things on our list to build our life together. There was the first Christmas that we had a baby, and he was mesmerized by all the lights and music. Our baby was in the hospital in the beginning of December, and all I wanted that year was for him to be home and healthy. Thankfully he was better by Christmas, and I felt like my heart would explode from relief. There was the Christmas I had just miscarried, and the love of our family and friends reminded me there is hope, even when I couldn’t see it. There was the Christmas we had our second baby, and our family felt complete, and my heart was full.

What do you do when Christmas is new for you? What do you do when it is so different that you hardly recognize it? Maybe it is new in a wonderful way, such as a the birth of a new family member, a new job, or new relationships. Maybe it is new in a heartbreaking way because it is the first Christmas without a loved family member, and you’re not even sure how to get through it. 

There was one Christmas many years ago when we had just moved to a new town, and I was trying to get my bearings. Everything was so new that I couldn’t even put words to it. I was trying to celebrate with our traditions, but it was hard to do with a new schedule and in a new place. I wanted so much to make it magical and beautiful for my family, but I felt like I was failing. I was in church one Sunday that December when we started singing Christmas carols, and I started crying silently. I was completely surprised to feel so emotional, but in those songs I knew that all I really wanted for Christmas that year was the music. I wanted the Christmas carols that I love and have loved ever since I was a little girl, because those were the same. In those moments, I realized that while almost everything about that year was different, the music and the meaning of Christmas would sustain me.

This year, Christmas is new in a wonderful way. It is a new opportunity to build memories in a home full of love, with two excited little boys, a wonderful husband, and plans I’m already looking forward to with friends and family. This year, I am also challenging myself to keep my eyes open for others who are having a new Christmas. Whether it is because of joy or pain, the new Christmases become more meaningful when we walk through and celebrate them together. 

Stephanie grew up with her family in Kirkwood, Missouri. She earned a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and then a Montessori degree in Atlanta, Georgia.  She also lived in Oklahoma for several years, and now calls Baton Rouge home. She taught PreK and Elementary school part time, full time, and had some stay-at home mom time when her babies were little. She teaches PreK four at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, and she loves being a teacher mom. In her free time, she enjoys going to Barre class, cooking, traveling, singing, girls' nights, trips to the beach, and spending time with friends and family. She and her husband have two adventurous, adorable boys, ages seven and thirteen, who keep life exciting and hilarious. 

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