Mom-of-four Gena Lee Nolin is inviting Celebrity Baby Scoop readers along as she shares her life experiences – and asks for advice – as she juggles her busy life with husband Cale Hulse and their four children: Spencer, 16, Caia, 11, Hudson, 6, and Stella, 4.
In her latest blog post, Gena shares her thoughts on what the holidays are all about. She discusses why “we tend to put harsh expectations on the holidays” and shares her family’s holiday traditions. Continue reading the former Baywatch star’s words of wisdom, and share your thoughts, questions and advice in the comments. For more information on Gena Lee Nolin, please check out her official website.
“Yes, it’s that time of year again. People rush throughout the stores, bumping, growling, grabbing trinkets, and charging towards the deals. Parents grip their children’s hands in line for hours so their little girl or boy can sit on Santa’s lap. Eyes shine in the hopes of telling him word-for-word what they’ve rehearsed a million times. However, when they finally get their turn, they look up at his cheery expression and stare at him in complete shock, until that dreaded emotional break down. Exactly what us parents were waiting for—two hours in line to meet Santa, all to get the traditional photo of our children crying on his lap!
We tend to put harsh expectations on the holidays, whether it’s cooking for eight glorious nights during Hanukkah or gearing up for the Twelve Days of Christmas. I get mixed feelings from all my friends. I have some with five kids and in-laws, and some with none at all. I feel that many people suffer from depression around this time of year because of the pressure placed on giving material gifts when some can barely get by. ‘Another year has passed,’ you may wonder. ‘Did I do enough? Did I cook the turkey just right? Will I be alone without family again?’
Luckily, for me, dating back to four years old, I still remember the sound of my dad’s large feet stomping through the snow, pretending to be Santa leaving after delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. We celebrated the traditional Scandinavian Christmas– we attended church, ate a scrumptious dinner with all the fixings, and then had our gift exchange later that evening under the multi-colored tree, pine candles burning a fresh scent throughout the air. I still feel the warmth and love from those childhood memories and have now incorporated them into my children’s lives. However, my husband grew up under the tradition that Santa comes on Christmas morning each year with heaping stockings filled to the brim. We had to meet somewhere in the middle. He embraces my Swedish evening traditions and actually loves it, and I enjoy the 5 a.m. wake-up call from my kids, shouting,’“Mommy, can you get up, NOW!’ I couldn’t be happier and am even more so when my husband hands me a hot cup of coffee. Sweet chaos!
It’s a short-lived time that our children will believe in Santa, so I treasure every moment I have with them. Elf on the Shelf? If you’ve got little ones, you’ve got the Elf book! Oh, the fun I’ve had with Jack (our Elf!) We’ve had many discussions over my Crown Royal hot toddy’s on politics, healthcare, and, of course, the North Pole! (Maybe it wasn’t Jack talking…it could’ve easily been an overly tired mom, but it’s in the spirit, so shush!)
We’re gearing up for another family Christmas at our home this year: food, friends, the Polar Express movie, and of course Santa. I find that as I get older, I realize what this time of year is really about; I get so much more out of giving than I’ll ever get from receiving. It’s not that I’m not appreciative of what I have, but knowing I’ve helped someone or given a child a gift they didn’t think they’d receive, such as through Toys for Tots, is very rewarding. It’s those simple moments that truly mean everything!
I believe true happiness comes from within and this time of year rings true to that. Breathe and relax, it’s just a turkey! Be thankful for everything, especially your health and the health of your spouse and kids. Hold on to the magic with your little ones as long as you can, because they’ll be asking to go to the ole girlfriend’s house on Christmas day in no time! (Ugh!) Actually, in a blink!
I always try to remember that life is one big circle, bringing in your memories and making new ones for the next generation!
Whatever faith you may believe in, don’t forget to wave and smile when driving past a neighbor or say ‘Happy Holidays!’ to a stranger on the street! You’ll be surprised at their reaction, leaving your own heart bursting with pure joy.
‘Tis the Season, Merry Christmas, and Cheers to 2014!”