I look around my house at all the signs of Christmas approaching. The tree in the corner brightly lit. The garland on the mantle with stockings hung with care underneath. The wreaths on the front door and windows. Scattered nativities to remind us of the birth of Christ. Snowmen to remind us there’s rarely any blasted snow in Georgia!! Gosh, that reminds me of the Christmas my #4 kid was three years old. First, we had to wake him up on Christmas morning to run downstairs for present time. What three year old has to be woken up on Christmas morning? And second, he thought we were fooling him that it was Christmas because when he ran to the window he saw no snow! And how could it be Christmas without snow?? Little goof ball actually climbed back into bed!! Oh my! He’s gotten used to brown grassy Christmas time in the 18 years that have passed since that morning! We just live in a big snow-less bubble!!
In spite of the fact that I have seven whimsical stockings hanging, each with their own child appealing design on the front, all five of our kids have grown up and are adulting like bosses these days. Yes, these are the stockings I purchased at Michael’s back in 1998. Yet every year I have this inner debate with myself over whether or not to gift these stockings to their much older owners or just continue the tradition of hanging them in order on our mantle. Each year, “continue the tradition” seems to be the winner. Because as non-traditional as I am sometimes….as much as I attempt to live in each present moment…these stockings are the holder of so many Christmas memories from the childhood of my five. And I hang on to them. Why not? I loved Christmas with my own 5-pack of adorable kidlets at home. I miss it to be honest. Christmas isn’t the same without the pitter patter of their little feet racing to the tree on Christmas morning.
It’s just not. Not whining here. Just stating facts and all!
With that said, while I embrace the memories held in each Santa stocking, I am also learning to embrace each new moment of Christmas-ing with my adult kids. We’ve had to start new traditions. Sometimes each year has been the beginning of a new tradition….no biggie! We’ve had to bend a bit. That’s OK…God made us flexible on purpose! But all this has lead to doing Christmas well with these amazing grown up people!
So I don’t stomp my feet and insist on having Christmas my way!! I cringe at the thought of creating that much stress for my family!! Stress is born when a momma holds on too tightly to wanting all the Christmas things to remain the same year after ever-lovin’ year !!! That would get boring, right? But I’m not gonna lie. If I could have all my babies and their babies under my roof every merry Christmas Eve night , I would be happy as a kid who just found Santa’s workshop! But the last thing I want to do is put pressure on my sweet things who are trying to make more people happy than just me. So come here New Way of Doing Christmas! Let me give you a big old hug!
I’ve also found this year the need to be more flexible with the day and time of our family celebrations. We celebrated Thanksgiving the weekend before Turkey Day because of conflicting work schedules. It felt a bit weird in the planning but when that Sunday came, I found a Macy’s parade on YouTube that we watched , the Cowboys were playing football and nothing about the day felt less than completely Thanksgiving-y! Tiny changes in our Christmas celebration will happen as well because sometimes ya gotta share your people. And that’s OK! Sharing is caring and all that. I think we all learned that when we were kids!
Truth is, though, I’m not certain if I’ll ever stop missing my kids being little at Christmas. Not a Christmas has gone by since my kids started growing up and adulting that I haven’t had at least one “moment” in my darkened living room as I sat basking in the glow of the lights from the tree. A cozy fire roaring in the fireplace. A lone tear escaping my eyes. Memories flooding back of my own childhood Christmases, blurring lines with remembrances of the joy I felt each Christmas with my own small children.
Have you ever done this? If you have, know it’s OK because now you know at least one more person who does the same. We don’t ever want to forget the good memories we made with our young families. But living in the moment as we build new memories is honestly just as amazing. I can look forward to each new Christmas no matter how we “do” it. The other night, my man and I hopped in the car by ourselves with no children buckled in anywhere and toured the neighborhoods in our town so we could ooo and aah at their spectacular light displays.
I also bought Christmas cards for the first time in a bazillion years. Pictured on our” re-entrance to holiday card sharing ” is just me and my man. Just us. None of our kids. None of our grandkids. Felt weird…but also very accepting of our empty-ish nest status.
I’ve known forever that Christmas isn’t about the things we do to bring on the Christmas feels. I’ve known forever that the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus….God sending His Son as an adorable baby with a mission to be our Savior. So part of doing this Christmas season well is letting my focus be more on that and less on what my now vintage stockings remind me I’m missing.
Because even in the memories of “1990’s and 2000’s Christmas” is Jesus. In the “right now Christmas” is Jesus. He’s the only thing with any amount of consistency. He’s always the right answer. Especially when the house is too quiet. And when our row at church, which used to hold all seven of us, feels empty. When we’re singing Christmas carols off key by ourselves. And when those grown up kids we love so much may not even see in person the stockings we hung just for them. Jesus is in it all. Always and forever.
So Merry Christmas to the young and those who will always be young at heart. Happy Holidays to one and all.
Until next time, keep clamoring with all the holly jolly you have!