Let me take you back to Christmas in the early 90s. My brother and I have just shaken each present under the tree in hopes of confirming our Christmas wishes. All I really wanted was Girl Talk the board game, my brother was expecting some sort of sports equipment. Home Alone is playing in the VCR as we sip our hot chocolate. Mom’s locked herself in the bedroom to wrap gifts. She yells out to not to come in there as we think of every possible excuse to “accidentally” go in in hopes of seeing just one gift. Dad’s outside staking all 27 wooden character cut outs of Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer, and personalized presents with our names on them. We had already taken our picture with Santa, along with our dog, and cat at the local Pet’s Mart pet store. Our Christmas countdown started on the first of December.
The anticipation of Christmas morning grew more and more each day until, finally, it was the night before Christmas. Our stockings were hung and the milk and cookies sat by the fireplace. Every Christmas Eve my brother and I would beg our parents to let us open just one present and every year our parents said, “no”.
The anticipation of Christmas morning grew more and more each day until, finally, it was the night before Christmas.
I can still remember the thrill of laying in bed those nights hoping to stay awake to get a glimpse of Santa. I would practice laying awake, still with my eyes closed so I would remember the kiss that Santa gave me each year. I never remember waking up to catch Santa but I always remember waking up and trying. Santa must have always come to our house in the early mornings just before the sun rose. I imagine that was when my mom was just drifting off to sleep. She always saw to it that our Christmas was just perfect, most often at her own expense. And it was! Christmas was always priceless and my fondest memories involve holidays with my family.
These memories of Christmas lasted for as long as I lived at home. In our house, we always believed in the magic of the holiday regardless of anyone’s age. Sure at some point, I learned the truth about who really ate our cookies but it wasn’t ever worthy of talking about. My parents provided a place for us to grow up innocently.
As a mom, I still get excited, but for different reasons now. I get to see Christmas through the pure eyes of my children. The magic of the season and Santa fill our house from the moment we deck the halls and trim the tree. My childrens’ sweet little hearts remind me that this season is so much more than the Black Friday deals I got or who has the most festive table settings.
This will be my twin boys’ 4th Christmas. Both boys were excited to see Santa this year and sit on his lap and tell them about the train set and blue monster truck they have their hearts set on. They recognize that our community, their school, and stores look a little more like a winter wonderland this time of year. The jingling of bells make them squeal with excitement in the hopes that Santa is near. And while the gifts under the tree are tempting my children, it gives us a chance to practice patience.
My kids are learning the same traditions that I had as a child. I’m most looking forward to seeing their reaction to the magic of it all. Seeing a half-eaten plate of cookies and an empty glass of milk and their reaction to the newly-added Santa gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. If my children are anything like my brother and I were, they won’t be able to wait for breakfast to be cooked before they open gifts.
We’ll spend the morning still in our pjs having breakfast and playing with toys as a family before heading over to their Nana’s house to enjoy the company of our extended family.
I imagine I will be exhausted but thankful. Thankful that I have three beautiful children whom I can carry my family’s traditions on to. I’ll hug my mom a little differently on this day as I’m grateful for the memories she provided me. I will see the same look of excitement on my brother’s face that I saw as a child, but this time, it won’t have anything to do with a gift with his name on it. I’ll get to see him watch his girls experience the same magic we did as children.
My first Christmas as a mom changed everything. I got to share my love for the holiday with my tiny humans who make my world go round. For me, there’s nothing greater than hearing laughter from my children and seeing them happy.
Here’s to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas filled with whatever brings you happiness.