Ten Ways Christmas is Lovelier than Last Year

1. Naughty and Nice! Communication.20171208_200422

Do not misunderstand me. Babies are beautiful and sweet. I loved their snuggly need for me. Their tiny fragility. I cannot help however but appreciate my little ones’ ability to express their feelings, both of love and frustration, to me now. I look at a video from last Christmas and my one year old was squealing at me. Trying to talk. She then pulled the hair of my then two year old and I know now that was because she could talk. In the mayhem of two under two last year, that meant a confused and pained toddler and a baby who was too small to see what she had done wrong. Harrassed, exhausted Mam. Now, there are verbal wars but there is naughty and nice behaviour and we all know what it means! It makes life easier to live.

2. Decorating. 

The thought of putting up the tree last year gave me palpitations. I couldn’t get my head around throwing colouredy clutter into an already panic-inducing living space. I actually told my husband I didn’t want to. I am Mrs Christmas! I will wear a selection of festive jumpers over the next three to four weeks, eat gingerbread men and love every snowy, flaky, Christmas cakey moment. Yet I couldn’t find the joy.  Last year I was in the throws of anxiety. We did put up the tree and Gigi remembers it so I am delighted we did. This year however it was  lovely. A world of difference. The girls could help and did. 20171206_205437They adored decorating the tree. We dug out the Euro Disney purchases and each girl selected their princess baubles to hang. Betsy is holding onto her ones tightly ever since. She has even brought a Tinkerbell one to bed. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy this tradition with the ladies this year.

3 Tolerance and Coping. Keeping it Cool.20171207_203741

Last year all dirt scared me. All I did see were piles of laundry. Dust. Clutter. It was like having gremlins lurking in their own hidey holes, lairs, making my own home an unsafe place. An unpeaceful place. A threatening place. I see it all still. Now I can deal with it better. The daily grind hasn’t changed. I have.

4. The Cuteness that Cannot be Bettered.20171207_220029

Staring at the girls in wonder is pretty amazing. Betsy adores the lights. Just simple colourful glass. Entranced. Ireland has fostered Christmas markets this decade much to my joy, and now we can bring the girls to an event that will be family friendly and atmospheric. There is nothing to beat the wooden decoration and face painting sweetness of a community event.

The oddities of a village life that can be eccentrically charming portrayed through a festive eye. We went to Moate in Co. Westmeath this year. Check out the retro merry go round. I like the Abba Arrival helicopter.20171203_143842

6. Something like a Routine. 20171207_203939

The knowledge of when day begins, thrives, relaxed and ends is a powerful tool for an anxious parent.

7. Singing like No One is Listening.

Both girls sing all day. Particularly Gigi. She often makes the lyrics up. As a doting parent, I do believe she is better than Adele. I could listen to these tunes all day. She also has an eccentric repertoire, ranging from the expected Disney classics such as Let it Go to the more traditional tunes of I’ll Tell me Ma’. Mr Paper is to take credit here. Not limiting his bedtime crooning to nursery rhymes, he has Betsy chirping along to The Rare Auld Times. 

8. Retirement of the Sterilizer. 20171207_203902

What is it about this device? It takes control of our world. There is nothing more liberating than clearing that counter space and bagging up that bottle washer. I can now fill it with pretty (but useless) porcelain fripperies that took my fancy!

9. That Elf.20171207_203816

Stealing/ adopting Scandinavian tradition once again, our elf came to live with us two years ago. See (How to Hygge with Ophelia and Children).We have a  small Christmas visitor watching out for behaviour. Oddly named Squiggles by Gigi, he is on high alert and is a mischievous, moving and mouthful minx. I love him. Betsy won’t look him in the eye. Gigi just wants to give him a cuggle. That conversation was ended in a squabble. Things are better this Christmas but they are still real! Angels and devils.20171208_191624

10. Santa Comes to Life.20171207_203922

Santa becomes very alive again. I always felt close to this Christmas magician but now I get to let him visit our home. We get to see magic in action. Wonder. Joy. These emotions cannot be bought.


Let us leave it with another look at the merry go round. Vintage eighties. I think I actually want one for Christmas. A Truly Lovely Christmas.20171208_181723.jpg


67 thoughts on “Ten Ways Christmas is Lovelier than Last Year

  1. It gets better every year until they get too old for the magic and then you make different memories just as special but different…Like the time my youngest son presented his nan with a bag of marbles …” for the ones she had lost” Did we laugh or did we laugh and my mum the loudest after she had playfully clipped his ears..lol

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  2. Oh my, that took me back to the days when mine were more interested in the boxes gifts came in that the actual gifts. Yours are at the best ages for this season too, as Carol said it gets better until they get old enough to let the magic go. Not that that is stopping me put up a forest of trees, although I am living in a house full of boxes containing things that need to be out of boxes and creating a festive feast on the eyes.

    Great post Orla 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely reflection/comparison to the last year! That is awesome that you’re encouraging your girls to sing haha I think my parents and husband got annoyed with my creative liberties with songs. You guys have captured the spirit of the Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christmas is so much more magical and fun (mostly!) with toddlers and young children. My nieces will be 5 and almost 2 this Christmas and they get so excited with all the lights and festivities.
    Any tips for telling a 22 month old that an advent calendar is just 1 chocolate a day?!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is heartwarming. I think Christmas is different every year. And I’ve learned that even though it may be a little tough one year, it doesn’t mean that the next one will be the same.
    Glad to hear this is a lovely one for you Orla. Enjoy making more memories!

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  6. Thank you for this post. All those Christmas traditions are so important because we carry them with us for the rest of our lives, and they become part of our identity. My daughter and son age 23 and 20 still want an advent calendar, and I do try to keep up the traditions, with the exception of leaving a carrot and glass of sherry out on Christmas Eve….

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  7. This is sooo sweet!
    I don’t have kids, but I thought the same thing about Christmas getting more and more fun as I’ve watched my nephew and niece grow up. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know I’m late to the party but you are so right, the season is brighter when they are old enough to communicate and still believe! I can remember his first Christmas and the thought of writing all those Christmas cards… I think I cried. My son was 10 months so you think I’d be okay at that point but I was so very tired and overwhelmed!

    Your Christmas traditions seem have found a good rhythm! I hope ours does too!

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  9. I don’t have kiddos of my own, but we celebrate the holidays in my classroom and at my school. The last two years, Toys For Tots donated a brand new toy to every single student! The joy in their eyes! That’s what it’s all about ❤️❤️

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  10. I had a wee anxious moment there – but then twigged that this was written the year before. Hope you are feeling the love this year too! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks Orla, I’m currently trying to get kids to write cards, we have had an argument, and no I’m not writing the cards for all their school friends. Then they want the tree up, that’s not going up yet. Then I’m waiting for the postman to deliver a parcel.. I’m sure Christmas day will be lovely and kids add to the magic, but right this minute I’m stressed… lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved this post last time I read it, Orla – I do miss having little ones in the house! We still go to town on the decorations and my girl loves Christmas, even if the boys are grinches!! I have shared this on my PainPals blog regular feature “Monday Magic”, Happy Christmas, Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

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