Christmas has changed in recent years in my house. It is still one of my favorite times of the year, but I started noticing a sense of sadness and a little nostalgia as my kids got older. I believed I was losing Christmas.
I focused on the things that were slipping away:
No more trips to the mall to see Santa
No more letters to Santa (well, at least this year–so far…)
No more handmade Christmas gifts from school (ok, I admit, that one isn’t high on my “miss list”, but still…)
No more going out and finding that one thing you know will get “that look” on Christmas morning.
I felt the “magic of Christmas” fading away.
As the calendar raced closer to the 2014 holiday season, I felt that pang of missing something starting to creep into my mind and my heart.
And then something happened. Actually, a lot of things started happening:
I saw my 16 DD genuinely interested in giving to others this year and not worry so much about her list. She is planning how to buy presents with the money from her new job. She’s starting to have holiday secrets of her own, instead of me keeping them from her.
My 12DD is wrapped up in her dream performance of playing Clara in her dance studio’s annual Nutcracker ballet. For seven years, we’ve watched first my oldest, then both girls and now only my youngest in this amazing production. Miss E. is focused on giving the performance of her life and making presents for her fellow cast members. She actually “forgot” to make a list this year until I asked her for on. She wants books and DVDs.
At dinner in mid-November, the kids sat down with their father and me to plan out which holiday movies we were going to watch together. For the first time, we have a Christmas movie/special countdown we plan enjoy throughout the month.
They both asked us if we’d be driving around to see the lights around our community–both the big organized displays and the simple ones on our neighbor’s homes.
They had to know if we were going out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve “like we do every year.” Do they like Chinese food? Nope. But, years ago, when the only place we could find something to eat after we got out late from a Christmas Eve service was a Chinese restaurant (the pizza place closed at 6), the kids decided that it was to be our family tradition to go out for Chinese every Christmas Eve.
My 16DD presented a case and compromise the United Nations could only dream about regarding why SHE was the only one who puts down the tree skirt. In exchange, she offered to let her younger sister set up and control the Nativity–which is usually another topic for debate.
I started to figure out that I wasn’t losing Christmas; in fact, my family is gaining so much more now that the girls are older. They are truly understanding the reason behind the season. We spent years trying to get them to see a deeper meaning and not just the materialistic side of the holiday and then, suddenly, when they start showing they get it, it turns out i’m the one who’s blinded by the colors and lights and other things.
They are growing up and, in my mind, I just don’t want that to happen.
But, as Christmas draws closer, I admit that what I’ve been witnessing over the past couple of weeks has brought the magic of Christmas back into my heart. These are times I’ll treasure with my family because I know in just a few short years, my girls will be on their way to creating their own traditions (or maybe reliving some of ours).
Traditions are not born. They are made.
I once thought Christmas was lost, but now I know it is found. I truly was blind and now do see the wonders of this special season. It’s family and it’s faith.
Have a blessed holiday season!