Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Magic

Well, our stockings are hung with care and the tree is decked out to the nines.  I cannot believe Christmas is almost here!  Although stressful with the many projects I have been working on, this has been one of the most laid back holiday seasons.  So nice!  This year we sort of mapped out what we were going to get everyone, and did a lot of shopping online (Amazon, Snapfish, etc.)  Only one trip to the mall and that was for just one item I wanted to get for Todd.  I just did not have the desire to wait in long lines surrounded by cranky shoppers and disgruntled employees.  Of course there have been several trips to Target and Michael's, but that is nothing unusual for us.  Costco, Target, and Michael's are our playgrounds.  Although the closer it gets to the 25th the more I try to avoid these places. 
I am not sure if I am getting more jaded as I get older, if it's the economy, or what, but I just don't like the superficial aspect of this time of year (stores displaying Christmas stuff before it is even Halloween?  Really?!)  Yes, I love to give and receive presents (who doesn't?!)  Giving is what this season is about - goodwill toward others.  But I don't like the mob mentality, self-absorption that people fall into, the constant pushing of retail purchases, people buying crap just for the sake of giving something with little thought into the gift itself.  Gifts should come from the heart, have some meaning behind them, or be something the recipient genuinely wants or could use.
Not looking to throw money down the drain, this year we really challenged ourselves to find gifts that measured up.  It took some serious thought, but it was fun.  Working hard to hard gifts with meaning and purpose.  I will admit, there are some family members who are very challenging!
In addition to our quest for thoughtful gifts, we have also spent a lot of time decorating the house.  It is so fun to watch the kids' reaction when their home is turned into a Christmas wonderland.  Maddie gets so excited and Lucas is just in awe.  Despite our objections he loves to play with the ornaments on the tree.  I think at this point it has become a game for him.  Maddie gets so happy she glows when she sees how we have incorporated her projects into our Christmas decorations.  She made some paper houses with Grandma this year that I added to my chipboard village.  Watching the two of them reminds me of how magical Christmas was as a child.  Everything was so spectacular, the world around me seemed to sparkle!  Nothing was tainted with the hustle and bustle of shopping, or the overall grumpy attitude people seem to have.
That magic is my goal.  Remembering the actual spirit of the season.  Don't let the other stuff get in the way.  It is so hard not to get caught up cesspool of holiday worries.  Projects to finish, class parties to attend, gifts to wrap, etc.  But we need to remember, is it the end of the world if the store is out of boxes?  Is it really necessary to berate the employee when the store is out of the size/color you want?  Five years from now is your child going to be scarred for life because they did not get the must-have toy (that will more than likely end up collecting dust by March)? 
As we dive headfirst into Christmas tomorrow stop and take a breath.  Take a moment to remember how magical it all used to be.  The surge of excitement December brought.  The importance of kindness towards others.  And let's all try to recapture some of that, because that is what meaning of Christmas is all about.  

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