Some of my favorite childhood memories center around Christmas.
Making Christmas cookies with my Grandma. Seeing the wrapping paper my other Grandma used for YEARS (literally) because she found a ton of it at Goodwill and it lasted FOREVER. Hearing the sound of my Grandpa’s voice singing “Silent Night.” Inhaling the smell of my other Grandpa’s pipe lingering on his clothes as I sat on his lap in front of the Christmas tree.
Waking up all. night. long., over and over, just hoping it would be late enough to wake everyone up for Christmas morning. Feeling the sort of excited anxiety in my stomach that only comes on Christmas morning. FINALLY going into everyone’s rooms and waking them up when the clock struck 7am. Reading the Christmas story (as fast as we could) before we could go open gifts. Hearing, “HO HO HO!” as my Dad went out to “check to make sure Santa was gone.” (And turn on the Christmas tree lights). Lining up in the hallway, waiting for my Dad to say, “GO!” Running out and seeing all the presents under the tree. Taking turns as we opened presents.
That’s not even to mention seeing tears rolling down my Mom’s face at our candlelit Christmas Eve service as we sang together. Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together as a family. I could go on and on.
Because of the way I was raised, Christmas is very important to me. Not only because of what it represents to my faith, but also what it has always represented to my family.
My kids are still very young, and won’t remember these Christmases, but I will. It makes me wonder which traditions they will remember most. It makes me wonder which new traditions we will create together.
And honestly, I can let it stress me out if I’m not careful. I don’t want to be so worried about making everything “perfect”, that I miss all those perfectly unplanned moments. I don’t want my kids to remember a stressed-out mama, trying to hard to make everyone happy that I make everyone miserable in the process. I don’t want my husband to dread Christmas for the same reason. But I know my personality, and I know my striving could end there if I’m not careful.
So this Christmas, I’m going to soak in the moments. The snuggles. The reflection of Christmas lights in the eyes of my kids. I’m going to spend time laughing with my husband. Loving him. Enjoying our time together as a family.
It’s okay if our Christmas doesn’t end up looking like a Norman Rockwell painting. It’s okay if nothing from our holiday ends up on Pinterest. It’s okay if nothing goes “as planned.”
Christmas is all about love. The love of our heavenly Father. The love of His Son. The best way to honor that? Letting this Christmas be one of love. More than traditions, more than events, more than some perceived “perfection”.
Let this be a Christmas defined by love.
After all, when I really think about all those Christmas traditions and memories, I don’t remember details. I remember feelings. I remember excitement. I remember anticipation. But most of all, I remember love.