As parents, we all want to provide our children with a wonderful Christmas, while teaching tradition and the spirit of giving. So the question is, how do you balance the struggle between your Christmas past with Christmas present, without losing her sanity?
Remembering Christmas past always brings a special kind of magic to my mind. Parenting in Christmas present is difficult when trying to compare the two.
I grew up in Tampa before the city grew exponentially! It is hard to believe, but there was a time when Tampa was a mid-size city with very few celebrations and Gasparilla was on a Monday. Although some of Tampa’s growth and changes have been exciting, I miss my small town too.
It is natural to want to give your child the holiday season you had. I dreamed of giving my child special Christmases filled with holiday events, gifts from Santa, and baking cookies. However, today trying to recreate a Christmas past holiday season in Christmas present seems impossible. The situation creates anxiety for parents and leads to feeling like a failure.
Past Christmas events in Tampa were mostly centered around the downtown area. First, a huge, beautiful tree at Mass Brothers’ downtown store. Second, attending a parade and tree lighting ceremony downtown. Another day checking out 7th Avenue decorated with bells and green garland on every light post was always fun. Finally, taking Santa pictures at Tampa Bay Center was a must! And, of course, if you or your parents grew up in West Tampa, Christmas was not Christmas without a trip to the Braddock Street Christmas House.
As Tampa natives, my parents or grandparents took my cousins, brothers, and me to each of these events. Sometimes it felt like Tampa’s Christmas scene was created just for our little Village.
Today there is so much to do through the Tampa Bay area. Event planners plan their celebrations in early November to ensure attendance. This year there are more than six tree lighting ceremonies within the City of Tampa limits alone. This does not begin to discuss tree lighting ceremonies outside of the City of Tampa in Hillsborough County as well as Pasco and Pinellas Counties.
On top of that, there are various events, including Winter Village with ice skating and the Santa Fest Parade, and Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. There are also events that continue throughout the month of December, such as Busch Gardens Christmas Town, Zoo Tampa Christmas in the Wild, the Enchanted Christmas Market, and Christmas on the Farm. And, let’s not discuss adult-only events (company holiday parties) or magical experiences in the Orlando area.
Staying Calm and Present
The sheer number of events can leave a parent frazzled and find they are not present in their child’s Christmas! This year I am turning over a new leaf. My plan is to choose one type of event and only this. I will hopefully save money, time, and my sanity–and give my child a magical Christmas present. This past weekend we celebrated the tree lighting ceremony at Armature Works and took Santa photos. Next weekend we will plan something else and decide on events as they come up.
My greatest hope is that when my child has children of her own (I can’t wait to be a grandma!) and uses her Christmas past to create special Christmas presents for her children who in turn will create special Christmas futures for my great-grandchildren.