Sunday, December 5, 2010

Taking Back Christmas

I've "written" this post in my head so many times over the past month. It always sounds good until I sit down and then I'm speechless. But I feel it so much in my heart, I've got to write about it.

I haven't enjoyed Christmas the past few years. Yes, I said it. I've been a Grinch. I've stressed and stressed, tried to cram too much in, tried too hard to find all the "perfect" gifts, and probably made Christmas less fun for my family. This year I was bound and determined to take Christmas back. Take it back to the time where it was magical to me, where I could enjoy it, revel in it, find meaning in it.

I remember Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house, sitting on the landing at the top of the stairs with my cousins. We'd be looking out the windows just watching for a glimpse of Santa's sleigh. THAT was magic!

Sleeping in my brothers' bunk beds with him so we could talk about Christmas morning and wake up together the next day to peek out in the living room before waking mom and dad. Magic.

Going downtown to the old JCPenney store building to see Santa, Christmas programs at school, live nativities, Christmas carols, making handmade ornaments, giving to others, baking cookies, the list goes on. I want my kids to grow up and look back at their childhood Christmases with fondness and love.

I've made some changes this year. I hope everyone is ok with them. I'm spending less, buying less and focusing on things more important than gifts. Honestly sometimes I wish gifts weren't even in the equation. We do not want for much, our kids have too much, our house is full in every aspect of the word. My kids aren't even asking for much this year, they don't want anything. The focus is on the other aspects of the season.

Do you know what? It's working. With the exception of a few things breaking down around the house, I've been calm, relaxed, and loving this Christmas season. My family is too. We are slowing down and savoring time together. Christmas movies, hot chocolate, game nights, decorating, family and friends, GIVING, taking time to appreciate the beauty of it all. Amazingly my Christmas shopping is almost done, cards are in the mail. The rest will get done in due time, I will NOT stress over it. I'm going to enjoy all of the fun things we have planned this month. It will all fly by as it always does but this time I will be taking it all in and not be stressing over all the non-important stuff. We are so incredibly blessed. Todd and I have seen things this year that reiterate that over and over to us. We try so hard not to take what we have for granted. We have love, laughter, and health in our lives. What more do we need? There are too many people out there lacking in all 3 of those things. I want my kids to know and appreciate what they have. I want them to see the true meaning of Christmas.....Jesus' birth, giving to those less fortunate, and of course Santa. I know the Santa days are dwindling for us. I want to keep that alive as long as possible also.

I hope everyone else can enjoy this Christmas season also. Find the beauty, find the magic, spend time with family and friends, go to Church, focus on others, listen to Christmas music, watch the classic movies of the season, enjoy the lights, anything that puts you in the Spirit.

What makes Christmas "magical" for you?


JeffBoz said...

Great post Kel!

What makes Christmas special for me is this. My King and my God sends His only Son to be born on a shivering cold night to be born in a manger. That is no way for the Son of God to be born. But this is the only way for us to realize that He was born for us. Kings were supposed to be privelidged. Why oh why would the Son of God share a stable with animals? For me to realize that He loves me so much and this humble beginning is the start of a beautiful love story.

I love my family so much. CHRISTmas time is a great time to show the same love that God showed so many years ago. Unselfish love.

This post was really needed by everyone. Love you so much.

kristi said...

I also love the simple things. They are what matter!

Jer said...

Excellent post, Kelly. After living away from Quincy for such a long time I appreciate my family so very much.

Mom said...

Love that post-and I agree the giving this year has made my season better-ANgel tree gifts, Toys for Tots, Blessing child and gifts for the Giving tree at church....but I still loving giving back to my kids/grandkids too. Only point I disagree with was the Santa remark-I still believe in Santa-all the magic and wonder and love in this season and that Ho Ho can you not keep believing?

Deb said...

Loved it! We too are taking things in stride this year...last year I was scurrying around trying to get every last part of the house done! This year we are decorating when we feel like decorating...Riley has pretty much done the entire tree, except the too high to reach spots...and boy has she done an excellent job! Looking forward to spending time with our loved ones and enjoying the season! Jesus is the reason for it all! Have a great day Kel! :)

Beth said...

I think a lot of people could have written this post. Seems to be catching on with many, & I, for one, am glad to see so many remembering the real reason to celebrate!

We have been scaling back and giving more to those that really need it for the last couple years and have really noticed a difference. This year has been the best so far...and I am looking forward to much more Christmas Spirit!

Jan said...

Veautiful post Kelly. We certainly agree. Sometimes we have to slow down to really appreciate the little things. Christmas is such a beautiful time of the year and passes much too quickly. Thanks for reminding us to slow down and really enjoy it.

leslie said...

Kelly...just wanted to tell you that we started doing this two years ago for the same reasons. My kiddos get 4 presents from us...something to do, something they need, something they want, and something to read. And of course one big thing from Santa. We also started making donations to charities in other's names as their gift. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote. CHRISTMAS HAS BECOME TOO COMMERCIALIZED IN THIS COUNTRY! Gifts from the heart or gifts of time should be what Christmas is about. Thanks for your post! Leslie!!

Amy said...

Awwww! Good for you Kel!

Kat said...

Yay! I love this post. I feel the same way. I'm having a harder time of it lately. So much has happened that has caused me stress, but I'm trying not to let it creep into Christmas.
Way to go Kelly!