Hello again, friends. I swear I haven’t forgotten or abandoned the blog. I’ve been incredibly busy. First there was Halloween, then my son’s fifth birthday, then I was a bridesmaid in a wedding (and host of the coordinating bachelorette party), then Thanksgiving. And in between the wedding and Thanksgiving, I happened to contract a nine-day plague that had me researching pine boxes to throw my carcass in and then letting Jesus take the wheel. Even now, as I write this, I have a box of Kleenexes within reach. The thought of pine boxes has pretty much passed. But it remains an option. Oh, and the third season of the Crown dropped.
And yet again, December has slammed into us with great force, like a toddler jumping onto the body of a sleeping parent. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love donning ridiculous leggings adorned with festive Christmas llamas, and bringing in tub after tub of decorations to deck the halls – both of them. In addition to (or better yet – in spite of) tuberculosis, or whatever this never-ending malady is, I’ve got the Christmas spirit. Just last night, when I went to put gas in my Jeep and I looked across the river and down upon our little city’s downtown, I teared up. I’m a crier. I cry at the high school marching bands during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “Look how far they’ve come!” I sob, clutching my coffee-filled snowman mug between palms.
I love our downtown at Christmas. There’s a sense of magic as all the holiday lights twinkle and sparkle in the darkness. The little Santa house is my favorite. A few years ago, as my family, bundled against the cold, stood outside waiting our turn, I noticed the family ahead of us had one very happy little boy. They tried to subdue his bouncing excitement, but with little success. Suddenly, the little boy jumped into his dad’s arms, and exclaimed, “Happy Christmas Day, Daddy!”
The little boy’s mother, turned to me, her eyes brimming with tears, and said: “We just adopted him.”
I never learned their names. The line shuffled forward at that moment, and I was only able to yell, “Merry Christmas!” to them, as they disappeared around the corner. But, I assure you, I will never forget that family. To this day, every time we pass by the Santa house, my husband says, “Happy Christmas Day!” And the tears well up in my eyes.
Being a mom, it’s up to me to create the Christmas magic. I follow some of the traditions we had when I was a kid. We set up Teddy’s little Christmas tree in his room. I get him special Christmas pjs to wear on Christmas Eve. And then there’s the Reindeer Food. Every morning of December 24rd, one of Santa’s little elves stealthily leaves a small pouch of Reindeer Food on our front stoop. Included are instructions to attract the reindeer so we know that our house will be visited by Santa that night. In all reality, it’s simply oatmeal and glitter. But it’s honestly one of my favorite holiday traditions. And it’s worth it to see my son’s face light up when that special Christmas Eve darkness falls, and he tramples out of the house, clad in just his pj’s and snow boots, flinging the Reindeer Food into the air.
Jared and I have our own little traditions. In continuation with something my family has always done, we watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve. And there’s a lot of Mexican food involved. Why Mexican food? Because guacamole and margaritas are life. Feliz Navidad!
Not all Christmases have been idyllic. Just with the normalcy of life, the happiness of the holidays each year ebbs and flows. There have been times in the past that I sent myself into an anxietal tizzy, sweeping up crumbs of holiday cheer from every corner, in hopes of creating the perfect Christmas. I’ve finally learned that there is no joy in that. The wonderful feeling of a perfect Christmas cannot be fearfully thrown together. A happy holiday just happens. A truly perfect Christmas happens organically. No matter how by the book you follow a tradition, or if you decorated the tree just right; the magic of a perfect Christmas is only conjured when you sit back, relax, and let the joy of the season envelop you.