This is my favorite holiday song this year. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
Henry is my child who is most excited about holidays and birthdays!
He is pure joy and excitement. He loves to remember and remind where things go and how we did things. He is my reminder that this holiday for children is about tradition, anticipation, magic and joy. The simple task of making a paper chain can be SO much fun. So we made time for it.
The magic of coming up with a Christmas list. Circling things in catalogs, scrolling through the Amazon toy pages, and writing down his list. This is what Christmas is about for children. And we parents worry about greed and too much stuff. BUT, with a heavy sigh, I also embrace the magic of making their little wishes, this one time of year come true.
Charley's first big wish when he was a little tot was for this big red rocket. And even though I knew it would probably sit not played with...it was what came out of his little heart when people asked him what he wanted. And he got it. And I was right, it did sit. But the magic of watching him open it was part of this season and this stage in life. So Henry got the big plastic dinosaur toy...and I am sure Syd will get her big plastic toy that won't get played with.
This stage when dreams are dreams and wishes are wishes and they don't think about the expense or the logic. They are just in the moment. And I now embrace it. Because in the grand scheme of life, you are only little and able to dream at Christmas so freely for just a wee bit. And then the magic becomes a little less magical and the logic of what one should expect for holiday gifts and how silly or extravagant or less magical it all becomes happens so quickly.
So this Christmas Henry is busy making his list and it is just so much fun to hear what he wants...whether it is this big truck that can pull 2000 pounds, a robotic dog, or a globe. These wishes come from his little heart. And they are precious.
The entire month of December isn't spent unwrapping gifts, shopping, or making lists. The month of December is an experience of learning and growing as a giver and a receiver. We speak of being grateful, appreciating what we have, giving to those who can't make their wishes or even their daily needs come true. We celebrate family, tradition, and work to continue to instill an appreciation for all that this season gifts us.
My children are now experiencing traditions that were part of my childhood. The crazy "Santa gift" party with my extended family that can at times feel so ridiculous. But they help me shop, fill out the fun and creative tags, they learn to give without being given credit because the gifts are given anonymously. They learn to pass gives out and to wait. They learn that this holiday tradition doesn't happen when we go to Ed's house. It is a Grandma Barb and Grandpa Bob holiday memory. Along with game playing, cousin time, holiday decorations at Grandma Barb's and more.
Our Up North holiday with Ed's family offers other traditions that they learn don't happen at our own home or Grandma Barb's. The Christmas tree that towers to the tip top of their A frame family room, a quiet gift exchange, the homemade egg nog, party mix, polish sausage on Christmas morning, and sledding in the woods.
At home it's our tradition of decorating our Christmas tree with wild abandon. They excitedly get their box of ornaments that grows each year. They open it and talk about each ornament. They amazingly remember who they got them from and when. They excitedly load branches too heavy, the bottom to thick, and the top awaits the late hour when mama takes a moment to adjust things a wee bit. Henry has been watching so closely these last two years hoping his box catches Charley's...even though we talk about how the boxes grow and that he will always be 3 years younger.
And much of this just happens and becomes a part of them. I used to stress about the traditions I wanted to have and start and I am realizing that a lot of it just happens. The children remind us what we did the year before and slowly traditions are built.
A child's Christmas is not about what the parents always want but, rather a respect of allowing our children to dream, wish, and believe in the magic balanced with instilling the life lessons of the season and an appreciation for family. As a parent there is nothing more incredible than making their holiday wishes come true, seeing them excited for the simple little traditions, and teaching them how special and magical all of it is. Because, when it all comes down to this month.... It doesn't really matter what we eat, give, receive, or do with our time and money. What matters is that we can gather with those we love, fill our hearts and other people's hearts with the things that make life happy, and celebrate our ability to help make this time of year just a little more joyful for others in big and/or small ways. And to do this without judging how other's choose to celebrate and live this season is the gift we can give each other. Because whether you Pinterest it up, spend enough time at Church, donate your time or money, travel to see everyone, choose to skip holiday celebrations with friends or family, etc...the most important thing is that you do what is right for your family.
Love Is Christmas by Sarah Bareilles
"I don’t care if the house is packed,Or the strings of light are broken.
I don’t care if the gifts are wrapped,
Or there’s nothing here to open.
Love is simply joy that I’m home.
I don’t care if it’s gonna rain, our little room is warm and stable.
Love would never fall for that.
All we need is your best my love, that’s all anyone ever wanted.
Love I look to you, and I sing.
Let love lead us, love is Christmas." - Sarah Bareilles