By Breanna Callahan, Marketing Coordinator
I love Christmas. The traditions. The music. The feeling you get being immersed in Christmas cheer. But, I will admit when my mom passed away in 2013, things changed. They changed in many ways, but especially for Christmas. She was the one who taught me what Christmas is. She was the Christmas fanatic, watching all of the Christmas shows, going all out decorating, listening to Christmas music (year round), and making gifts for everyone. Her craft talent was amazing.
The meaning of Christmas wasn’t lost on me. I was lucky, extremely lucky and blessed, to have a husband who was just as much of a Christmas-song-listener, Christmas-movie-watcher as she was. I just missed her terribly. Like that take-my-breath-away, heart aching feeling. But we went on, making the most of each Christmas. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, will Christmas ever feel as magical and wonderful as it did before?
Enter our miracle of a daughter roughly five and one-half years ago. I had heard children carry the magic of Christmas with them effortlessly. They are the magic. I can now see that. As I am thinking about our present-day Christmases, I can’t help but notice what she has taught us, or reminded us, about Christmas.
- Homemade gifts are the best gifts. There is nothing I love more than when she brings home a gift or craft project she is so proud of and put so much thought into making and proudly gives it to us. Despite what we as adults may think, my first thought is not, “How much did this cost?” It is instead, “Look at the time, effort, and heart involved in creating this for us.” The worth of a gift is not equivalent to the amount of money it cost; it’s equivalent to the amount of thought it took.
- While we are talking about gifts, giving is just as fun (if not even more) than receiving! The way she runs into the house with her wrapped gift. She wants to bypass putting it under the tree until Christmas and wants us to tear it open right that moment! It is so much fun watching someone open a gift that you have put thought into for them.
- Have faith. Believe with your heart, not your head. Sometimes you need to defy logic. Sometimes, even when things shouldn’t make sense logically, we just have to wing it. Santa is a symbol of giving. Selfless giving. Believing in magic. Sometimes when we don’t have all the answers, we just need to believe. This is a hard one for me, as I am very much a realist. I am a planner. I need the answers before I start anything. But, sometimes things are better if you just have faith. Just believe that it works out and is the way it should be.
- Yes, gifts are fun, but family is where it’s at. We have a “countdown to Christmas tree.” We put an ornament on it every day to countdown how many days until Christmas. Every morning she wakes up, we put an ornament on the tree, and she counts how many days until Christmas. And do you know why? Because she knows the days are getting closer to spend extra time with family. The excitement she shows to spend time with family is WAY more than the excitement of gifts.
- Holiday fun doesn’t need to cost money. There are so many fun activities you can do for free! Thanks to local community organizations and groups, a weekend in December doesn’t go by that we don’t experience special family time together. From visiting our local library where we decorate cookies and make an ornament, visiting Santa at local businesses and landmarks, and one of my favorites, taking Christmas light walks through our neighborhood. These are the memories and traditions that will last, and they don’t cost a thing.
- Christmas is about kindness. I love our kid. She is amazing. I was especially amazed one night when we were in the car and she was telling me how she was loving looking at the Christmas lights and that Christmas is about being kind. So wise. Yes, we should be kind all year; Christmas is a good time to be reminded that we are here to be kind to one another.
So, as I go through the holiday season, experiencing the magic, I have our daughter to thank. Thank you for reigniting the spirit of the holiday in us. Thank you for letting us experience the delight and wonder we see in your eyes along with you. Your faith and innocence is a reminder of what is important not only during Christmas but year ‘round.