The other day we headed up to a mall to wander around for a while. Each of us was looking for something we needed, so it seemed like a good way to have a lazy Sunday. My son looked at me as we wandered around amidst all of the early Christmas decorations and said “I’m really excited for Christmas this year!”. I turned, admittedly thrilled to hear him say it, because let’s be honest, he’s 13 and, well, occasionally unimpressed by things as 13 years old are sometimes. I asked what it was in particular he was excited about. “It’s that feeling you get, you know, that buzz of excitement once you start seeing all the decorations go up. It’s that buzz of things to do.” he responded.
I know it well.
Christmas as a child, for those who celebrate it, always seemed to be a magical day. There is the magic of Santa, presents, food, and festivities. People seem (in theory) to be a little kinder during the holidays. Family comes around.
Christmas for me as a child was my favorite day of the year, especially when we got to celebrate it in England. I always loved it when my parents would take me to “Santa’s Grotto” as it was called. I loved every bit of Christmas. I loved gazing at the ornaments on my grandmother’s little tree. I loved looking out the window hopeful to catch a glimpse of Santa. I loved waking up to presents in a pillowcase ( we did pillowcases in England vs under the tree). While I didn’t get to spend the day with my cousins, we usually saw each other for a little while, and we always spent Boxing Day with each other. That was one of my favorite parts, Christmas with my cousins. When you grow up across the ocean from each other, having that special time together is priceless.
Christmas as an adult can be a bit different. A bit more stressful. Ok, sometimes a lot more stressful. We are the creators of the magic, and each family has their own kind of magic. Every family creates their own traditions. We used to open gifts, get ready, and race out the door. Then one year, all that changed, and we stayed home. I cooked, the kids played with their toys, and my husband got a bit of time to relax. We ate a big homecooked meal, then set out drinks and desserts for family to enjoy in the evening. We always have family over now, and the only recommendation is “come casual! Pajamas encouraged!” The kids really created this tradition, and it’s stuck.
This year, the kids are older and just want a couple of things, which are sort of bigger gifts. My son wanted a gift that is near impossible to find, but I may have found one, so I’m excited. For me, the joy is in the hunt to find the right gift for each person. It’s the care and effort put into the gifts that I enjoy. I love wandering around the mall and seeing the lights and baubles twinkling. I love the buzz of it all, just like my son.
Maybe Christmas can still hold the magic even when we grow up.