As Christmas quickly approaches and I battle the over filled parking lots with other shoppers who's anxiety all seems to be tangible and you can feel the "holiday stress" dripping in the air ..... as I buy gifts, contemplate on what to get everyone, try to watch my budget, wait in the line ups and remind myself to NOT wear a jacket cuz I just end up sweating buckets :) ... I remember Christmas's of the past.
I loved Christmas as a child... I loved having my extended family over and the tables that went from one side of the house to the other... I loved playing with my cousins and then loved my baby nephews and niece coming over ( I became an aunty when I was 8 years old! ) I loved seeing my grandparents and having cuddle time with them ... I loved all the food and the way the house was heavy with the mouth watering tastes/smells of turkey and all the goodies that come with Christmas dinner... and of course I loved the presents... I loved shaking the boxes and trying to guess what may lay inside :)
We were never taught to believe in Santa ..... we were not allowed to go sit on his knee in the malls ... we had stockings but we knew that the presents were from our mom and dad .... one time my sister and I went and snuck and sat on santa's knee where we firmly declared him a fraud and may have even pulled at his beard .... I remember that memory with a kind of sick dread in my belly ... we didn't know any better but today I am embarrassed at that behaviour. When it was my turn to be the parent on Christmas I didn't go big on the Santa thing ... I took them to see him and they got their picture taken but they definitely knew that mom and dad bought the presents and Christmas was about Jesus not Santa ... somewhere inside me I felt that I had missed the magic of Christmas in all its commercial glory... that may sound dumb to some but this is just me keeping it real.... I felt that somehow I missed some of the childhood magic that comes from believing in something so outrageous .... some may say believing that Jesus is the Son of God who was born of a virgin died on a cross and then rose again is hard to believe ... we call it FAITH! ok I am not comparing believing in Santa to believing the Bible is literal here but I am saying its not such a stretch to believe in things we don't always have tangible proof of.
My youngest daughter believed in Santa with everything inside of her. None of my other girls really did... it was a whole new experience for me and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. I got to experience some of that magic and wonder that I watched kids in the movies seem to enjoy. She even wanted to sleep on the couch so she could see him.... I don't remember the year her sisters spilled the beans but I was kind of sad the charade was over. Now I see this Elf on a shelf business and am so thankful that wasn't around when my kids were small...what a lot of work and frankly I don't really get the whole thing!
In recent years Christmas has been redefined as I went from married to single and this year is my first Christmas being married to Paul. My last Christmas married to the girls father was horrid.. as things unraveled rapidly the stress and anxiety was high and I don't remember having any Christmas warm and fuzzies ... just a lot of stress.... the first Christmas being single I was stressed out but for different reasons.... I had very little money and was working long hours and doing it all by myself was just a stressful place to stand. I had no idea that my oldest daughter who was 16 at the time had taken it upon herself to make sure her momma bear aka me, would not be forgotten on Christmas Morning.
I don't remember spending a lot of time thinking about how I was going to feel Christmas morning and how traditions that we had kept up for over 15 years would be played out .... I bought the girls their stockings and bought breakfast stuff like I usually did. I bought them all their presents and wrapped them up Christmas Eve by myself in a house by myself....it was quiet it was strange and it was peaceful yet I was very aware of being alone. In the morning when the girls all jumped on my bed and brought me my coffee, 15 years of tradition, and they brought all their stockings to me, again tradition, my oldest brought me one as well... I felt the weirdness of "something is missing" .. there were fleeting feelings of loneliness and just a feeling of this is all so surreal... I quickly rejoined the girls in full Christmas spirit and I was so shocked by the stocking my daughter put together for me... probably the best stocking I had ever received to date... she thought about me and not wanting me to be left out and spoiled me beyond belief!! Basically she blessed the socks off me and chased the lonely feelings away.
She didn't stop with the stocking ... the tree was packed with presents for me and her sisters... not wanting any of us to feel like something might be missing. At 16 years old my daughter gave me a beautiful gift for Christmas... she gave me her thoughtfulness and generosity and made what could have been a very very hard day for me full of Joy. Not because of the gifts..but just because she did it all in the first place.
This year we are looking to make some new traditions while keeping some old ones .... and as we move forward in our lives and have all different experiences and memories I have a solid belief that my girls get what Christmas is about ... it's about giving from the heart, living out the example of the ultimate gift, it's about family and being together, remembering how important family really is, it's about a magic time when we can believe in something that seems bigger then life.
From my family to yours have a very Merry Christmas