I admit it, I used to be a real Grinch at Christmas. Back when I was in my 20s, when the magic of Santa was all but a memory, I would get so annoyed every December. The Christmas music made me angry (how many variations of the same 15 songs must I listen to?!), the decorations before thanksgiving worked my nerves, and everyone was usually so...jolly. Barf. Or they were miserable; that's much worse.
I used to walk around mumbling to myself about The Man, commercialism racket and buying into the hype.
And then I had children and all of my Christmas annoyances got turned upside down.
Now I can't wait for the holiday season. Every year, I buy a few new Christmas decorations to put on display, we decorate a little earlier, and every time I turn around, my husband Troy is putting another string of lights outside. (I call him Clark Griswold.)
Why? Because the look of excitement on my daughters' faces is what Christmas means to me.
It has nothing to do with the amount of money that's spent - it’s so much more than that. It's about setting up the nativity and talking about baby Jesus or watching Rudolph guide Santa's sleigh for the 7th time this week. It's about snuggling underneath the tree and reading special Christmas books - a tree that is filled with ornaments that we have collected as a family or the ones passed down to me from my Nana or the box of (my favorite) orange Shiny Brite's that my parents had on their tree in the ‘70s. It's about a Charlie Brown Christmas and seeing what kind of trouble that dang Elf on a Shelf has gotten herself into overnight and driving all over to look at Christmas lights.
It's sitting around a kitchen table that was handmade by your husband, watching your family stuff their faces with food you made and making that "this is the best thing I ever ate" face, and thinking that this is what love looks like.
I got the opportunity to help out at Maya's shopping spree at school last week; the kids worked so hard picking out the perfect gifts for their family. "My mom works in the dark a lot, so she needs this flashlight!” "My Pop loves his coffee, he needs this mug.” They were so sweet and their excitement was contagious. Have you lost your Christmas magic? Go spend some time with a bunch of children; they'll fix you in no time.
Every day is a gift, but at Christmas time you can actually feel it in the air. I hope that you find a little magic this holiday season, too.
P.S. It's hard to believe it's almost 2016. This past year brought a few bumps in the road, but the wonderful moments far outweighed the not so great ones.
With the help of a wonderful 1st grade teacher, two school nurses that take exceptional care of her, the endocrine team at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and an abundant amount of support and love from our family and friends, we are in a really great spot with Maya's diabetes. She is growing, thriving and reading chapter books at the age of six and always has a smile on her face. Some days are tougher than others, but I think about the truly wonderful people that we have met this past year and I am grateful.
My two-year-old, Charley, has never met a green vegetable she didn't love and is finally using “big girl” words, and maybe someday soon she'll want to stop wearing diapers. Not today, but someday.
I am grateful every day for my hard-working husband who gives me the opportunity to stay home with the girls. He is my rock when times get tough.
Lastly, I am grateful that I've been given the opportunity to get back into writing - I didn't realize how much I had missed it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read it.