Grandma’s First Christmas

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Child placing ornament on a lighted Christmas treeSearching Etsy for my grandbaby’s First Christmas ornament, I suddenly realized this was Grandma’s First Christmas, too. I had waited what seems like a lifetime to have a grandchild, and now he’s here. And, boy, is he more than I ever dreamed! He’s happy and cuddly and easy going and he loves me already. (I know that last part because at Thanksgiving he cried when anyone but me held him in our large extended family. Baby high fives to him!)

Christmas Memories

My grandfather standing in the doorway watching the wrapping paper fly and my grandmother relaxing in her chair sipping coffee, with cousin chaos swirling around them—My earliest Christmas memories are rooted in large family gatherings at both my mother’s and my father’s parents’ houses in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I grew up. When we moved away to Virginia, my parents decided that Christmas would be at our home, so my memories shifted from cousin chaos to sibling chaos. My grandparents ventured down a couple of times, but we spent Thanksgiving in Wisconsin, so they didn’t come often. My grandparents, though, remain a loving part of my Christmas stories, and I want the same for my grandson.

First Christmas for Cece

My “grandma name” (at least what I have planned) is Cece. My nieces call me Auntie C, and it seems a natural extension. Cece has tried to approach this first Christmas with restraint but it is so hard. Everywhere I turn I see cute Christmas outfits that would look perfect on his chunky little self. I see educational toys that will help him learn new skills. I see walkers with light up wheels and talking keyboards with cute cartoon characters and colorful blocks and trains and puzzles. When I see them, I want to grab all of them just for him–but, for the most part, I have not. However, I do have a trove of items tucked away in my guest bedroom closet just waiting for his first birthday or his first steps or his next anything.

This first Christmas, I know, is not about me. In fact, because of our blended families, I’m just one of several grandparents who all love this little boy and will surely shower him with goodies. I have asked his mom and dad what they would like to have happen at Christmas, and I am doing my very best to follow their guidance. (Boy is it hard!) What is easy, though, is forging trusting and loving relationships with his parents, and following their lead so that he will remember future Christmases as fondly as my childhood holidays.

My Christmas Wish(es)

As our family has grown and flown, I have had to reset my expectations about what Christmas looks like. One son is married with a child, our other son lives in another city and has a serious girlfriend, and our daughter also lives in another city. Trying to find a time to have a family celebration has become increasingly difficult to pin down. On top of that, I don’t want to be the demanding granny who says Christmas has to be at a certain time and place; I want to happily offer the flexibility that avoids creating stress for them.

My wish this first Christmas as a grandma is that our home is a happy landing place whenever our children can be here. If I have them all at once, that will be a wish granted. If I get to see them separately over multiple days, that, too, will be a wish granted. Of course, more than anything, I want to sit on the floor with my happy 9-month-old grandson and play with the wooden blocks and train that I have settled on as gifts for him. I want to read a Christmas storybook with him on my lap. I want to introduce him to the cutout cookies that we made every year with his dad and aunt and their cousins. Mostly, I want to share the joy of the season with this next generation of our family, planting the seeds for our growing family’s togetherness for many years.

Wishing you and your families the most joyous season of togetherness!
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Chris L
Born in Wisconsin, Chris moved South with her family, first to Richmond, Virginia, and then to Birmingham when she was 12. She loves being a girl raised in the South, and her only remaining Midwestern traits are a love for the Packers and a fondness for bratwurst. In 2010, Chris reconnected with Christopher, a former Birmingham-Southern College classmate, after a random meeting in the cereal aisle at Publix. They married in 2011, not realizing that they were bringing together a perfect storm of teenage angst with their three children. Today, Chris is the center support that keeps the seesaw of her family balanced, leading a blended family of three young adults and enjoying an empty nest. Before the pandemic, most days were busy managing client relationships for a corporate event production company, but after six months of unemployment, she has become the parish administrator aka “the church lady” for her church. When she's not working, she loves reading a rich historical novel, volunteering with her sorority, and planning their next wine-tasting excursions.

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