What is Christmas to you? Is it the hustle and bustle? Is it finding that perfect gift and wrapping it up for under your tree? Is it church and candles and the blessings of God? Is it family and food and gatherings after gatherings? Is it cringing and wishing it was January? Is it loneliness and heartache? Is it cinnamon and pine? Shopping lists and concerts? Is it snowflakes and hot chocolate? Children laughing and counting down till Santa? Is it just another day?
Here’s the thing…This year has given me a rude awakening. I’ve been thrust into a realm of self-analysis. I have been left questioning myself, my worth, my life and my why in ways I haven’t had to in a long time. I cracked, I broke, I cried, I lost some faith, I healed, I grew, I learned, I studied, I laughed, I loved and I changed. With all that change and growth came a new sort of Christmas for me.
This year I’ve really tried to make the moments matter. The day to day events as well as the bigger occasions have brought forth new meaning. We truly are here for such a short amount of time and every second is important. I want to breathe in every last drop of E and his childhood. He grows so fast. Time is always a bit of a villain. I don’t want to waste anything where he is concerned. I want him to grow up with so much love he pukes on it! Memories Matter! They matter so much. I reflect on happy times a lot more these days (perhaps that’s the meds talking but either way I do!) and cherish my own childhood memories even more.
This holiday season, in a world of so much chaos, I especially wanted to put more effort into spreading cheer and kindness and love and less effort on ‘the perfect holiday’ and the commercialism of Christmas. Within this effort I’ve let my house get messy. I’ve danced in the kitchen to jingle bells a million times a day with E. We’ve covered our windows with home-made santas, angels, reindeer and snowflakes. We’ve made snowmen, foraged for greenery, sipped on cider and hot chocolate, made dozens of cookies, visited with friends and loved ones and created crazy chaotic memories. I wanted to spend more time and less money! In an effort to do this I created a tradition I hope to carry forward for many years…Cousin Christmas!
Right now I have 6 nieces and nephews…they range in ages and interests alike…I wanted to have a day with each of them individually to do some sort of Christmas activity so that they’d get to spend more time with E and to give them a bit of a treat. (Little did I know that I would in fact be given the best gift.). We made an array of projects…bath bombs, grinch cookies, birdseed ornaments, Christmas tree sugar cookies decorated with Christmas light sprinkles, tractor track wrapping paper, and apple cinnamon garlands. (The youngest of said cousins will hopefully get to partake in these memories next year once he’s a bit older plus I’ll have a brand new niece or nephew to spoil next year too!!!). E loved these days…having kids over to play with him is always a highlight and he really likes project days! Perhaps the kids got a wee bit spoiled…more sugary treats than normal and less rules than usual…(shh don’t tell) but I hope more than anything they had as much fun as we did. These days were action packed and filled to the brim with a lot of excitement and some chaos. I’m not gonna lie, they definitely tired me out! But they also gave me a serious dose of reality. Of learning what Christmas in fact means to me. It’s the moments. It’s being IN THE MOMENTS. It’s taking time for each other. It’s letting some of that OCD slide and falling into childhood again. It’s family. It’s kids and creations. It’s anticipation. And it’s Love.
I’m encouraging you all to find YOUR meaning of christmas. Get inspired by random acts of friendship and love. Take time for each other. Don’t waste what little moments we have here and now worrying about perfection. Be Christmas. Be Love. And be what you can when you can. Giving memories and giving of yourself is so much more than anything that you can buy and wrap in sparkling paper with ribbons and bows. Once again it has hit me that simple really is the best.