Last Christmas, I wrote about there being “No price to the holidays.” This year, it felt like all I saw leading up to Christmas was dollar signs… the cost of living had me down in the dumps and stressed. It seemed like we were on this strange teeter-totter; once I’d be up, something would come out of no where to bring me back down.
Then… we began our trip towards family and a much-needed reprieve from everyday life. And, frankly, our bad luck followed us. In little ways — slamming my finger in a car door, my husband spilling hot coffee on himself — bad luck began to become funny. My attitude began to change, and I began to see the humor in almost every situation.
I also began reminiscing.
See, I’ve started this Christmas blog entry at least ten times in my mind over the course of the last two weeks. A dozen different angles. Hundreds of little stories and memories. All of which so precious. All of which deserve an entry to themselves.
My nephew made a video for a class project, and he gave us all a copy of it. “What Christmas means to me” is a gift I’m going to cherish forever… he did a great job on it, and as I sit here it makes me think… what would I say if I did such a project.
At around his age (ok, maybe more around my niece’s age), my answer would consist of stories about going to Grandma’s house with the whole family. It would talk about our “Christmas Program” in which the family gathered in the living room to sing songs, recite poems and read Christmas stories. I’d talk about Happy Birthday Baby Jesus cake, family photos, and lighting candles on the tree in order of grandchild’s age.
I’d talk about Children’s mass at church on Christmas Eve, where I’d sing in the children’s choir and Mom and my brother would be in the adult choir — complete with songs in Czech! I’d talk about how I never got to carry any of the main pieces of the nativity in during procession. Always either a donkey or a cow… no offense to the animals, but as a child you want Jesus, Mary or Joseph… or an angel… or at least a shepherd!
Finally, I would talk about Christmas morning and the wide-eyed wonder of Santa having come leave gifts over night. There were Barbies and Baby-Sitter’s Club Books. Board games and new jeans. Living in Texas, it wasn’t unusual to be warm enough to go outside and play in the afternoon. Or perhaps we’d go visit my Grandpa in Bryan.
Christmas would mean to me family, church, good food, and presents.
Today, my entry would look slightly different. So far, my husband and I have alternated Christmases with each other’s families. One year in Oregon, the next year in Texas. While both families have their own traditions, some things remain the same no matter where you are or how old you are… Christmas is still all about family, celebrating Jesus’ birth, good food, and presents — though today I am more into giving than receiving… Not that I don’t like receiving (new camera and an A&M Snuggie for the WIN!)… haha!
Ultimately, we should keep Christmas in our hearts year around. Its simply a magical time of year if only you’ll let it be so. Its a time of peace. Its a time of joy. Its a time of love. Its a time of hope. Its a time of faith…
Christmas means all these things to me.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate)… May the joy of this season carry us into the new year.