We adopted our two girls in April, so we had a good run into Christmas the first year.
Our girls were three and a half and one and a half at Christmas and while the younger was largely oblivious to what was going on, it was really our eldest who we wanted to make sure had an amazing and special time. It was interesting speaking to her about what she remembered from the previous Christmas when she had been in foster care, and it was obvious that she had had a nice Christmas the year before. We felt a lot of pressure – largely put on ourselves – to try and make Christmas absolutely perfect, complete with spending much of Christmas Eve building things and getting the presents under the tree just right. We also felt it was really important to start talking about our traditions, and what we planned to do not only this Christmas – but for all Christmases in the future.
The first Christmas morning was amazing. We had decided to do stockings in the bedroom, so they were able to open Stockings straight away and when we came downstairs, and they looked under the tree at what Santa had brought them – you could see they didn’t know where to look or what to look at. Especially the eldest, she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing, and the look of wonder and amazement on her face was absolutely magical.
Our Experience before we were parents was obviously very different. We had no time to open our own presents this first year for obvious reasons – it really was all about the children. Prior to this, we had always loved Christmas, and had our traditions as a couple which as the kids get older, will be much easier to continue (and develop!). A niece had arrived a couple years before – so after we were finished at our house, we had gone to ‘Grandma’s’ to continue the gift opening – and it was just starting to change to be more kid-focused as she was growing up. The bonus now is that our eldest is the same age as her cousin and they both have such a wonderful bond.
The most distinct memory is seeing our eldest face and not knowing where to look first. Also, our youngest trying desperately to open presents but not quite managing yet based on her age. Obviously, this will continue to progress going forward.
I think the only thing that was unexpected was how disappointed we ended up being that the girls didn’t have much of a chance to play with their new toys on Christmas day as it was full of opening presents at our house, then to Grandma’s, then there was eating in there and by the time all was said and done, it was bedtime! Certainly learned we needed to plan our day a bit better!