A lot of people have mentioned that this is Baby’s First Christmas. Indeed, we have gotten several ornaments and one outfit commemorating the occasion. It didn’t occur to Ted and me to make a big fuss this year, though; indeed, we didn’t even buy Frances any presents. Frances doesn’t get presents. That is to say, although her grandparents made sure there was a big pile under the tree with her name on them, she’s a little too young to understand that or get excited about it. As for the more abstract elements of Christmas—Jesus, Santa, goodwill towards men—forget about it.
Thus, it was a modest yuletide in the Jernigan-Clayton household. Last year, after we drove through a blizzard to get to my parents’ house in Ohio, we said that we would not be making a similar journey with a baby. We told my family that we would go to Ohio for the holidays if the weather was clear, but not if the roads were horrible. In protest, my mom decided to spend Christmas in Las Vegas, which meant that, even though the weather has been outrageously clear and warm for the past few weeks, we could not go to Ohio, as my mom would have died had we been there after all while she was not.
So, we stayed home. On Christmas Eve, Ted and I watched The Fellowship of the Ring after we put Frances to bed. On Christmas day, we agreed to not try to get any work done and just spend the day relaxing together. Our friend Greg—who is Jewish and therefore unencumbered by family obligations on Christmas—joined us for a festive dinner of macaroni and cheese. Frances was initially a little overwhelmed by the gift-opening process—there were some tears—but once she settled down, she enjoyed chewing on packaging in which her gifts were encased, no doubt because she wanted to work that new tooth that appeared today.
I missed my extended family a little. I missed the noise and the bustle. I missed the mashed potatoes and gravy. But spending time with my husband, my daughter, and a good friend was more than enough. It was quiet. It was mellow. It was baby’s first Christmas.