For the first time in many years our family has found ourselves with more free time. Less sports tournaments and structured activities also means a lot less stress around here this busy time of year. For the first holiday season in a long time we have TIME. Time is such a treasured commodity because no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more of it. Which means the most PRECIOUS GIFT you give anyone is the gift of your time.
With all my “extra” time I have found myself frequently reflecting on holidays that have come and gone. With exception of a couple special gifts I can’t remember the over abundance of gifts I received throughout my 36 Christmases. But you know what I DO remember? I remember taking my dad’s old pick-up truck out to cut down our tree and then decorating it as a family with our mismatched collection of ornaments collected throughout the years. I remember my sisters and I taking turns running through our big old house plugging the candles in the windows every stinking night! I remember fun shopping trips and lunch dates with my mom. I remember our kitchen filled with baking supplies and delicious aromas throughout the month. I remember the big sledding hill across the street from Grandpa and Grandma’s. I remember all the time I had with my family. Just “being.” In my memories it was truly a magical time.
I do remember the excitement of seeing the beautiful packages under the tree….but what was in the packages I can no longer recall. The memories I have, however, still fill my heart and occasionally give me a lump in my throat. A few tears may even flow when my mind wanders back to the fun times and Christmas traditions shared with Dad.
I always feel closer to him this time of year especially when the Christmas music fills my home and I hang the lighted Santa face that was always on the living room wall of my childhood home. Memories of both my grandpas, and the countless holidays we spent in their little homes with family chaos surrounding us. Memories of a simpler time where it was a 14 day celebration from my birthday to New Year’s. These memories are a gift, a priceless gift that reminds me how blessed I have been.
I love Christmas and all it represents. I love the spirit of giving to those we know and those we have never met. I do love shopping and making my kids’ wishes come true. But the biggest smiles I see from our boys are not from the gifts they unwrap…they’re from our time spent together. I see them most when we’re decorating, baking, driving around to look at lights, sipping unlimited hot chocolate, doing random acts of kindness, shopping, putting together puzzles, doing holiday crafts…or even just snuggling in with a Christmas movie and some popcorn (my favorite!)
The twinkles in their eyes (even the teenager’s) tells me THIS IS THE GIFT THEY NEED AND WANT MOST OF ALL.
Sure, the gifts look gorgeous under the tree and the excitement in their eyes Christmas morning is priceless. I can’t promise I won’t still indulge them a little too much again this year. BUT as I become older and hopefully wiser I am fully aware the greatest gifts are the ones money can’t buy. Most of our kids will forget what they received by New Years….but they will talk about the traditions started and memories made for years.
My Christmas wish is that someday my boys will look back on their childhood holidays with their hearts full, countless memories that bring them joy. I hope they never lose their desire to be back home every year for the holidays.
I hope they never forget that our house was not only filled with gifts under the tree but also filled with love, fun, laughter, holiday aromas, music, and the magic of Christmas. I hope they never forget that our spirits were full and the true meaning of Christmas abounded.
My wish for all of the amazing readers of the Quad City Mom’s Blog is that you too find time to truly enjoy this beautiful season with those that you love and cherish the most. Merry Christmas!