#29: Remembering Why I Love Christmas

#29: Remembering Why I Love Christmas

Our awesome church has created a cute advent calendar for couples in the month of December. The daily activities have included things like watching a favorite Christmas movie together and eating Mexican food (Feliz Navidad!), activities I wholeheartedly support.

I have always considered myself a Christmas lover, so it surprised me that one of the first “Talk about Christmas memories” activities had me a bit stumped. Sure, I remember that I was always excited about Christmas – I just can’t remember why. All of the usual reasons a kid would anticipate Christmas don’t really come to mind.

Gifts? Eh – we were a family of six on one income, so I don’t really remember any particularly exciting gifts. (And gifts aren’t really one of my “love languages,” so that may be why I don’t remember them well!) Traditions leading up to Christmas? Not really. These were the days before Pinterest and mommy blogs could make a stay-at-home mom feel guilty for not packing every December moment with Memories! Advent calendars! Bunting galore! My mom was a wonderful, warm, and loving Mommy to us, but we had neither the inclination nor the money for those types of pre-Christmas traditions.

Was it waking up together on Christmas morning? If by “together,” you mean in a sleeping bag on the floor with all of your brothers and male cousins after a 13-hour trek to Indiana, then sure! With four kids in the back and tiny rear seat of a Chevy station wagon, there were imaginary boundaries drawn all over that car. I remember lots of Legos and the blessing of a walkman once I was in high school that allowed me to tune out the melee and disappear into a book.

So why do I love Christmas? From where or what do I get the immediate response of “Oh, I loved Christmas as a kid!”?

Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I think it is this: Christmas was special. Our everyday life was a cacophony of lots of kids, visitors, and activities, and not enough money, perfection, or piety. On special days – and the most special day was Christmas – the din of activity, conflict, and expectations quieted. My mom glowed with excitement. My dad would joke around with his big sister, my sweet Aunt Patty. My brothers had cousins to play with and pester.

I loved hanging out with the adults – I was the oldest grandchild and only girl on Momma’s side of the family, and the second oldest on Dad’s side. I didn’t get to participate much in the conversation, but I didn’t need to. I loved hearing my Mom’s version of all of our family stories from the year. I would learn things I didn’t know about my own life as I heard its retelling through my mother. It was happy and wonderful and magical.

Now I have this sweet little doe-eyed three-year-old. I see her watching me as I tell our stories to friends and family. I worry some that she asks, “Are you happy, Mommy?” when she thinks I’m even a little aggravated. I hear myself say, “Go play with your cousins!” when she tries to crawl into my lap at family gatherings.

And now Christmas is here. I’ve made the requisite advent calendar of fun daily activities, and we’ve already received a few boxes from Amazon containing items we’re sure she’ll go crazy over. And of course we’re teaching her all about the real meaning of Christmas, which is the ultimate reason for the specialness of Christmas.

But I think this year I can do more.

I’ll let her stay close by, even while surrounded by all of our family. I’ll kiss her a few more times and make sure that she knows how happy I am, especially with her and her sister and Daddy. And I’ll make sure that she’s there to hear the retelling of our best stories from the year. Her stories seen through the lens of her mother.

And when she’s an adult, I hope that she’ll remember a little more quickly why she loves Christmas.

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