Now that I’m a parent, the holiday season always seems to stress me out. I don’t remember being stressed out about the holidays during my childhood. Christmastime was a time of high anticipation and expectation, where presents magically appeared, special food was available for the eating, colorful decorations showed up, and beautiful music floated through the air. I realize now how much extra work the adults in my life put in to make Christmas such a special time for me and the other children in my family.
Our local edition of “Parenting on the Peninsula” had an article from the editor where she wrote:
“December was always my favorite month of the year as a child. But my mother always said she hated it. I could never understand her complaining about “the Holidays” until now. I guess it is because the holidays are for the youth of the world. Children are always excited about the possibilities of the season. The parties, the food, the candy, the decorations, the family traditions, the presents, the holiday songs … and the holiday vacation from school! It all sounds great if you are a kid, but how and who makes all these things happen? Now I know – it was our parents. Now I know why they didn’t get so excited about the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
I completely agree – the holidays do make for a lot of extra work. But, at the same time, children love it. So, as I continue to slog through the extra work that a celebration of Christmas brings, I am trying to remember that it’s for my children. While the job of “making” Christmas falls mainly on my shoulders, it’s also a priviledge to be able to create a Christmas celebration for my family.
And, really, the kids don’t care if the house is clean or not. When I think back to Christmases from my childhood, I have no idea what other things might have been less than perfect at that Christmastime. It was about the songs! and lights! and presents! and family gatherings! So, if I can get it together enough to provide those experiences for my girls, they will remember Christmases fondly, and all will be well in their worlds.
It’s not to say that “making” Christmas is never any fun for an adult — on the contrary! Case in point: tomorrow a good friend is coming over and we’re having a Christmas Cookie Baking Morning. Yum! Plus, I do enjoy the smell of a fresh pine Christmas tree. And the Christmas music that is playing more frequently in our house these days. And the treats in the fridge. And the yummy-smelling candles that I burn. Yes, it is a mess getting ready for all of these things (right now a large corner of our living room is filled with the boxes of Christmas decorations that I brought downstairs at Lyd’s insistent request), but the end result is beautiful.
“Making” Christmas is a lot of work, but when you view the season through the eyes of your children, then it’s not so bad. If everything’s not exactly perfect, the kids don’t care. It’s the spirit of the holiday, the excitement, as well as the break from the usual — that’s what kids love the most. Plus, kids play off the emotions of their parents, so if I’m excited, my kids will be excited, too, even if things aren’t exactly “perfect” from my adult perspective.
It will be a good, memorable Christmas. I’m excited about it, and I’m looking forward to all the good times ahead!