Christmas, you are not my favorite. In fact, you are low on the list.
But this year, oh this year, you have moved up and may have even topped the 2018 holidays. If you were a sentient being rather than a Pagan/Christian Holiday, you would be so proud.
My personal problem with Christmas is the same as most cranky nay-sayer’s problem with Christmas. It’s the stress, and the money, the endless shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, running around and general exhaustion. Sounds awesome right?
Every single year, I plaster on that smile, I decorate the house, and I help to pack up the car, I try to choose thoughtful gifts and spoil the kids, but my heart is just not in it.
But this year, even though I still did all the running around, spending money, shopping, etc etc, I somehow took a step back into the background. I saw all of the literal holiday joy that all of that effort brings. And I’ve got to say that it was beautiful.
I saw the happiness and sparkle in the eyes of our friends (and had some myself) as we exchanged small tokens of appreciation and Merry Christmas greetings, not as an after effect of greed, but as an expression of love.
I noticed the teamwork and the efforts of my family, both close and extended. I watched the kids love their new toys, and loved just as much the looks on the faces of those I love when a gift touched their hearts.
I took so much pride passing out bottles of the handcrafted wine that we had hoped would turn out over the last several months. I almost cried with happiness, finding out that not only did our project succeed, but that people actually liked it.
And to think that all of that was just over gifts given. And just like everybody always says, it turns out that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts. For Real.
Christmas is cousins and aunts and generations just hanging out together.
Christmas is the next generation taking control of the kitchen.
Christmas is my Grandmother choosing a bottle of homemade wine, over a jar of garden salsa (even though I would have given her both). It is my new favorite memory between her and I. I offered her the choice and she responded that she would like the wine, because even though she doesn’t really drink at all anymore, she would love sharing it with her lady group friends, so that she can brag to them that her granddaughter made it. It is such a nice feeling to know she looks forward to sharing me with them.
Christmas is taking a family photo around the tree, of all of us wearing Oregon Beavers shirts from my niece Olivia. We are so proud that she will be going to school there next year, on a full scholarship none the less. It was an awesome show of unity, even Chucky sat still for the picture and everybody’s shirts fit. I’m a Beaver Believer!
Christmas is two little girl cousins five months apart, who see each other maybe twice a year, playing together all day after they somehow showed up in matching purple sequin Christmas dresses, and being given matching rainbow tutus.
Christmas is finally sitting down and opening presents late Christmas night with my beloved Rooster. The gifts didn’t matter, it was the glow and the laughs. It was watching the Grinch and eating homemade candied nuts.
Christmas is a little one playing tops for the first time with his great aunt and both of them loving it.
Christmas will always be Christmas morning, everyone arriving to Mom and Dad’s in pajamas for gifts, silliness and the girls making breakfast.
Christmas is coal delivered to siblings who never turned in their Christmas lists this year.
Christmas is Roast Beast (aka Side of Cow), egg nog and hugging Mom and Dad.
Christmas is handmade paintings from my super artsy 11 year old niece.
Christmas is sharing stories, and oh so many laughs.
Christmas is glitter and sparkles and tears in your eyes.
Christmas is Love, and the sudden realization that I’ve missed that lesson the last 43 years in a row. For someone named JOY, a Christmas word in itself, I am literally ashamed.
Yes people, I am the Grinch, and my heart has grown to three times it’s size.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I just couldn’t resist throwing a little of my favorite holiday in as well.