This is the week that some of us are feeling a little stress about bringing the magic on Christmas morning. Maybe we didn’t buy socks and underwear, but we aren’t wrapping iPhones or hiding Christmas puppies, either. Sometimes, the gifts just don’t feel as special as the love we want to express. The pressure mounts with every Hallmark commercial. After one assault, I actually Googled “German Wirehair puppies in my area.”
If you have a tinge of my trouble, here is some good news for both of us: It won’t matter. None of it. I mean, your kiddos may give you the stink eye when their friends show up wearing The-Shoes-Santa-Didn’t-Bring. But this will not last. (My husband will certainly be fine without a puppy to train in January blizzards.) With more than sixty Christmases in my mostly-clear memory, I promise you, I barely remember the gifts.
Disclaimer: I do remember the pony. She was the stuff of Christmas dreams. Long, flowing mane. Swishy tail. Totally magic. Then, she reared straight up over our little heads and pawed the air with sharp hooves. I was terrified of her the rest of her untamed life. Take note.
I also remember baby dolls like the one pictured here. Mostly their delicious Christmas-morning-smell. You can’t get that smell anymore, because evidently it causes cancer here on earth. I’m convinced it will be part of the incense in Heaven, though.
Of course, I remember some failures as a parent. Like the time we bought our son a tiny, remote control tank because it cost as much as the big dolls we got his sisters. Never. Again. Go big, even if you go cheap.
The things I truly recall, though – the things that make me love Christmas with the zeal of Will Ferrell as Elf – are not things.
They are people.
- My dad, driving us through the fancy neighborhoods so we could see lights and displays straight from the North pole. Or dragging a tree in from the back pasture after dark.
- My mom, finding secret hours to make the pajamas we opened on Christmas Eve. The ones that surprised me every year until I was almost old enough to drive. Then hanging tinsel on our father’s tree and pronouncing it the Prettiest One We Ever Had
- My siblings, shivering together in the dark bedroom, waiting for the signal to begin
- Our four grandparents, whose arrival started the day and whose presence we totally took for granted.
- Big groups of extended family members crowded into small homes, laughing, talking, playing cards, and creating food better than anything I’ve paid money for since.
- Friends who shared the costumes and the carols of our school Christmas plays.
- Jesus, the Person I always felt smiling over every aspect of the celebration – even when we temporarily forgot that He was the Star.
The list goes on, of course. Please feel free to add your own memories. Then, wrap that last football or sign the gift card and call it Good.