Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Christmas was so much easier when all the kids were young. The holidays were hardly over and they were counting down again. Now three of our kids are adults and the other two are tweens with ‘tudes. I don’t want a house full of holiday scrooges, and I’ll do anything I can to keep the magic alive – you know, the magic that used to envelope the entire family but is now “lame” to your teens and tweens. Last year, I didn’t even feel like putting up all my trees (there’s usually 11 or 12 of them). Keeping the holiday spirit alive takes more than just tradition these days.

With five kids, the budget is never as big as we’d like it to be at Christmas, but we’ve hopefully made the point by now with our kids that it’s not about the gifts. While we always end up feeling like we bought too much when all is said and done, we do try to focus on the family time. Most years, Derek is able to get leave from the military and be with us (including coming once from Iraq and once all the way from Japan), so if nothing else, Christmas is ALWAYS family portrait time.

So what do you do when you live in a frozen tundra, travel is usually out of the question, and the same old holiday routine isn’t going to cut it anymore? We’ve started making changes. First, the traditional ham or turkey dinner got tossed out, around the year that Thanksgiving and Christmas were as close together as they’ve been in a while. Now, we have lasagna and crusty, garlicky Italian bread. A few years ago, we started going to the movies on Christmas day. With the kids old enough that we’re no longer spending the day putting together toys and installing batteries, we needed something to do with our time. Luckily, Alvin has a third installment hitting theaters this Christmas, and the kids are ready!

Things will change again IF AND WHEN (hint, hint) we ever get grandkids. Until then, we’ll keep looking for new ways to create memories together.

Has Christmas changed for you over the years? How?