I first want to say, Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Christmas, and for those who do not celebrate those...delicious December to you. I felt moved to write about the real meaning of Christmas, that magical Christmas spirit. It sounds cliche to some, but I love a good cliche, with cheesy goodness mixed in, when it fits. This morning, I decided to try to hunt for the elf on the shelf book, which my four year old has been bugging me about. He kept asking me, when the elf was going to come, since he heard about it at school. I had already looked for one at a store, but they didn't have it, so I figured we would have to wait until next year. I told him that maybe there were not enough elves this year. His response, "Mom, there are like twenty-one (like that's an astronomical number) and one might be in my head." LOL. Giving it another try, I called a store in town and they had it. My Mom picked it up for me, cause she's the best. I just love when things are easy. Finn was overjoyed when he saw the elf.
After we read the story, I cleaned up in the kitchen. Finn said, "Mom don't listen, I have to tell the elf something." And for those without small children, when they whisper, it's either is really loud, or so soft it's like gibberish. I heard him say to the elf, "Please make Christmas special of everyone." That, there, is my Christmas present. My heart is full. I told him that he made Christmas really special for me. And he said I made all the holidays special for him, even the scary one, like Halloween. In that moment, I realized a huge thing. I thought back to when I was in my twenties and felt like I was not a good enough mother, unless I could buy the right things, do traditions like other people did them, and all that crap. My Mom always gave me and my little sisters pins to wear, candy, and cards for every holiday. I thought if I did not do it that way, it would not be special. And some years, I couldn't buy certain things for my kids, or do all the holiday things other people did, like taking them to see Disney on Ice or go skiing. I felt like a failure and that my kids would feel deprived. This, my friends, was all in my mind. My kids always had so many wonderful things, we went to New York to see a holiday show, and went to Disney world several times. It was just me comparing my life to others and wasn't really seeing the beauty that there was. It was seeing what was going wrong and not what was going right.
Today, it really dawned on me, that what I give my kids, in the way of enthusiasm for the holidays means more than any trinket I could buy them. I do not remember all those little pins my Mom gave us for holidays, but I remember the decorations and the feeling. I am so glad she gave me that love for holidays and life. My kids will remember me playing Christmas music all the time, the cookie extravaganza, the Christmas movies, me wearing a Santa hat and being really excited about Christmas. They will remember the magical feeling, that, yes comes with awesome gifts. But they will not remember the gifts when they get older, but rather, that they felt loved and special. My older ones will tell stories of complaining about driving around to see Christmas lights, when they just wanted to go home. They will remember, somehow slowly Dad took over holiday decorating and he enjoys it, and since Mom was no longer a control freak, she let him have free reign. That he also would make foot prints from Santa and knock over stuff so it looked realistic. They will have pictures of all four kids wearing some sort of Christmas pajamas, since I gave up on the matching ones. And we are always starting new traditions. We might even do New Years cards this year, who knows?
Lesson is: Let yourself off the hook, of trying to be perfect, or do it how other people do it. I think every family can have their OWN traditions that are unique to them. Have fun, the holidays are suppose to be a merry time, so if something stresses you out, re-think it. Just because you always did something, doesn't mean you can't change it up. Make it easy and joyful and if you can't change it, change you attitude about it. If you can't stand having to buy gifts for all these people, think about how awesome it is, that you have the money to buy the stuff. Count your blessings, you will truly feel the Christmas spirit then. Love to all!!! I wish I could send you all a cookie. I make the BEST chocolate chip cookies. I am calling them Jennylicious Joy cookies. Carry on with the merriment, my friends. :)