Christmas Through the Years: Ages & Stages

December 1, 2019 | by rebecca stewart

I was reminded on Halloween that if you look at something through the eyes of a child, you will be instantly transported to all of the wonder, excitement, and big feelings about those days. Christmas, at each season of our lives, has its own unique vibe and flavor. As children, we're overflowing with excitement; as teenagers, we're still excited, but we're more willing to sleep in on Christmas morning. Then we're adults, and we experience the holidays from a whole new perspective…

Newlyweds – First comes love, then comes marriage… Or so the little ditty goes. When two become one, figuring out how to mesh two sets of traditions can be a Whole Thing. There might be tears, maybe some arguing along the way, but in the end, there is always laughter.   

Infant – Adding a baby into the family equation brings a fresh resurgence of excitement to the holidays. Kinda. Reality Check: Infants, they don’t so much have an awareness for these things, but we will be REALLY excited on their behalf. We are all in on the Santa photos and the joy of the season. Probably they will be showered with gifts in such a way that doesn’t totally make sense, but it’s fine. Odds are, they will just be gleefully tickled over the ripping of the wrapping paper. True story. 

Toddlers – Now this is where the fun truly begins. Their awareness is growing, but full disclosure, the boxes tend to be where it’s at, rather than the toys that came in said boxes for these little loves. Also, prepare yourself…those Santa photos, they might not go so smoothly anymore. Fair warning.

Preschool-Gradeschool – Four words: Elf on the Shelf. If you’re so inclined, here is where the games begin. You will do what it takes to keep behaviors in check and the gimmies at bay. You will start off strong, full of ideas and inspiration…It will dwindle. You will forget. But excitement for the season is at its peak, this is the last phase of gift-giving that will almost be laughably easy. This is an entirely precious phase. Enjoy it. Relish in it. Because what comes next…

Tweens/Teens – Gift giving is some kind of a challenging experience at this stage of the game. They are at once not helpful in sharing what they want for Christmas and developing increasingly expensive tastes. Decorating the tree together, drawing them into family baking day, it’s all the sweeter. The days and the years when the nest is full are dwindling, these holiday seasons are all the more dear because…

We will come full circle. When our little birds fly the coop and start their own cycle through adulthood with their own families. Suddenly, we find our own traditions once again undergoing transformations as our family grows in new ways, adding more into the fold.

No matter the phase or stage of life you’re in, do yourself a favor and look at this season through the eyes of a child, with all the joy and wonder that brings. 

Originally printed in the December 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine

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