It’s the Hap-Happiest Season of All…

Yesterday wasn’t the best of days overall. I hate to say that because, really, it had some GREAT stuff in it. I got to spend a huge chunk of the day hanging out with my brother, Steve. I also got to end the day with our annual Family sing-a-long in the which we all laughed our brains out and sang a little too.

But somewhere in the cracks: I didn’t cook anything. I was too busy working on Christmas presents (crocheted hats and homemade pajama pants). The kids were starving, and thank goodness for goody plates! That’s right! We ALL ate sugar… all day. Because I was so occupied with stitchery, I insisted that the kids watch movies pretty much all day.
I realize there’s nothing too terribly wrong with what I did, especially since it’s the holidays. It isn’t like I feed my kids junk food and let them sit on their hind ends every living day.
But no one feels good after a full day of sugar and couch sitting.

They were cranky.
I felt like a terrible mom.

And so it goes, every year. Now I’m not going to make myself a promise that next year will be different. I’m not even going to get up on a soap box and tell you THIS ISN’T WHAT CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE ABOUT.
Because, guess what?
It is!

Christmas is about eating goody plates given to us by loving friends and neighbors. Christmas is about being mindful enough of our friends and neighbors to send them a little something if we can -whether it’s a card or a plate of snacks… or just a phone call! Is it easy? No. Will it test you? Probably. Will you have to go out of your way and OUT of your comfy zone to do it? Well, yeah! But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? It’s easy to give when we have the money to do it. But what about when we don’t? Are we somehow EXEMPT from giving? Absolutely not! Giving, it may surprise you, has very little to do with money and very much to do with personality.
Give a smile.
Give a hug.
Give a hoot, for crying out loud.

Don’t fill my ears with thoughts of a Santa-less Christmas… Santa is the very spirit of giving! Santa is the man who lets us SPOIL our children! He’s the medium that makes it okay. Is it okay for ME to buy my children real birds and guitars and fishing poles all at once? I’d hardly recommend it. Spoiling a child just isn’t my idea of good parenting. But Santa? He’s a grandpa figure, and grandpas -as we know -have full spoiling reign. And thank GOODNESS because there’s a huge part of me that constantly has to FIGHT the urge to spoil my children absolutely rotten. I love them to death. I want to give them what they want.
There has to be a line, you know. Luckily, Santa gets to cross that line once a year. What’s more: he’s absolutely magic, which fictional characters can sometimes be. There’s nothing wrong with Santa at our house. He’s a right jolly old elf.

Of course we keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Of course we teach our children WHY we have Christmas and of course we teach them WHY we give. I keep a Nativity out for the kids to use, and I pull out our Nativity hand puppets every year.
Santa and Christ rather compliment one another around here. It gets hairy, sure. And sometimes we spend a day eating junk and watching Christmas movies and by the end of the day we FEEL like we did just that…

But is it worth it? OF COURSE it is. Of course it is! If Christmas came with ease, I might be worried. Christmas should have some extent of hard work attached to it… when we’re in the spirit of giving we SHOULD apply ourselves. This doesn’t mean we need to be grudging about the idea. It can be loads of fun, really.
Yesterday just wasn’t.
And that’s okay too.

Because, like I said: it is worth it. To prove my point, I’m going to share with you a picture you’ve probably seen before. It is the girl on Christmas morning 2010. She’s wearing new PJ’s and getting ready to open her first Christmas present.
Oh the MAGIC that seeps from this picture…

Thank you, Lord, for my children.
Thank you, Santa, for teaching my children about the joy of giving.
Thank you, children, for watching movies and eating cookies all day -you really make me feel a little sorry for other parents because they don’t have you.
No offence, other parents, I’m sure your kids are grand and dandy too.

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