Here we are once again….the stockings are hung, the Pinterest inspired cookies have been made, ugly sweaters have been donned, the elf has been “shelved” just about 873 times, and you have officially sung aloud to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, one time too many. Christmas Day is here at last, along with all of the tradition and fanfare that come with it. Some adore every aspect of the holiday, while others struggle with the commercial/retail hype that has been attached to the day over the past few decades.
Personally, I have had a Love, Hate, Love relationship with the day and all of the events that surround it.
As a child…..no doubt, LOVED everything to do with Christmas. While my home far from resembled that in a Norman Rockwell winter painting, it was a home in which Christmas was a big deal. Lots of gifts, spritz cookies, toy trains around the tree, a ham on the table, and the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas. We did Christmas well.
At the age of 17, my family suffered a great personal loss right around Christmas day, and for the next decade or so, I really struggled to find the magic that I was told I was “supposed” to experience from Thanksgiving through New Years Day. It just wasn’t that easy anymore.
But then….THEN…..I became a mama. My oldest was born in May, so when Christmas rolled around, she was still in the can’t walk, can’t say anything discernable yet, has no teeth, and randomly spits up stage. But I was certain, CERTAIN, that she would absolutely 100% remember her first Christmas. And, by golly, I was DETERMINED to make it memorable. I baked cookies that she couldn’t yet eat, tied bows on gifts that she couldn’t yet open, and took countless photos of her propped awkwardly in front of the tree with the lights on, just hoping to catch THAT PHOTO that she would always remember.
Her reaction to my efforts that year? Mediocre at best. But my heart was starting to let the MAGIC back in once again. It felt good.
The next Christmas, we hung the ornaments a little higher on the tree, had to re-wrap a few gifts that were discovered by curious little hands before the big day, and took candid, unposed pictures of her as she gazed at the lights on the tree with wonder in her eyes. Her first visit with the jolly man in the red suit went wonderfully wrong in that way that is JUST RIGHT. You know what I mean….the red, tear stained face with the red velvet dress up around her neck as she slithers out of Santa’s lap….No? Just me? Well…..it is one of my favorites. I would even dare to call it MAGICAL.
Christmas #3 as a mama found me with one more name on my “Nice” list. My little dude was here now too, and Big Sis was excited to share the whole experience with him. The reindeer most certainly needed to fuel up on some carrots and oats when they stopped at our house on Christmas Eve and Santa was sure to enjoy those cookies we left out for him on the pool-table. The crumbs that were left over, were proof that he existed (as if there were any doubt). The little peanut snuggled into my shoulder that morning? Well, I knew this time around that he would never remember the day, but my heart darn near burst with joy as I imagined the joy they would share and the memories they would make in future years.
The next two years I actually started to get excited for Christmas when I saw those first retail displays in my favorite stores. The years of sighs and groans had started to turn to smiles and joy. The anticipation of the big day almost too much to handle.
This year, I must say is the best so far….perhaps almost as magic as when I myself, was a child. My kiddos are 3 and 5 this year and Christmas is not just a day, it is a frame of mind. For about a month now, the primary topic of our conversations is Christmas, Santa, or Reindeer. Recently learned Christmas carols are sung clumsily (and loudly) in the car as we drive from place to place. The cookies for Santa now look just a little less perfect (OK…a LOT less perfect), because we made them together. Some of the gifts beneath the tree appear to have been “wrapped” by Edward Scissorhands, but they were wrapped by teeny tiny hands. I won’t lie, it is all a bit exhausting. I mean, making magic and memories your offspring will remember for a lifetime….no pressure mama. Good thing there is Pinterest.
But this year, is officially MAGIC. This year, Santa (and Timmy The Elf) is real to them….very real. And consequently, he is beautifully real to me once again as well. Because of my kiddos, the magic of the holidays has returned to my heart, my home, my memories. And I am pretty certain THAT is the best Christmas gift I have ever received.
May the magic of the season fill your hearts and homes this season. Cheers!