Last night, as my family sat around our family room opening presents, laughing and talking, I found myself sitting back and just enjoying the scene – taking true pleasure in simply having everyone together. I know there will be a time when we can’t all be together for Christmas so I want to completely embrace and treasure what it means to have our entire family together and enjoying each other.
This year, as I worked on an ornament project that involved twenty-seven years of Santa photos, I had the opportunity to do a lot of reminiscing. With every photo I worked on, I was reminded of how small our children once were and about how true it is that they do grow up so quickly. However, even as I nostalgically reminisced about their childhoods and Christmases past, I also realized that the more adult Christmases we are now having are also special. Decorating the house is easier with a houseful of grown-up types to help. Grown children shop for Christmas gifts on their own time, with their own money and with their own gift ideas. Christmas Eve dinner isn’t just a mom’s responsibility; it can be prepped and cleaned up by adult children. And yet I believe the childhood joy of Christmas still lingers in each of their hearts. Helping with decorating, they appreciate the work that goes into creating the magic. Planning for and selecting their own gifts is an exercise in noticing and valuing who each of their siblings are. Christmas traditions take on the varied personalities of the people they have become. And last night, when our dinner had been eaten, our Christmas program had been performed and all our gifts had been exchanged, there was no childhood dawdling with the hope of catching a glimpse of Santa, yet I think each of them – each of us, went off to bed with Santa in our hearts.