I was in the craft store the other day and came across a display of those ceramic, table top, light-up Christmas trees. I almost had a nostalgic meltdown right there in the holiday decor aisle. Those little trees took me back to Christmas past when I was a kid, and it was a wonderful place to go.
But you…you, my loves, are my Christmas present and future. As your mom, I’ve been able to once again unwrap all the gifts of the holidays I loved most when I was growing up. You remind me of what I loved most about Christmas as a child and you offer me the chance not only to love it all again but to love it even more this time around.
We have new Christmas traditions
The gifts of the season have been wrapped a little differently as you’ve gotten older. The packaging has changed. We’ve put our own family bows on top.
As a child I loved the anticipation and expectation of Christmas…counting down to the big day. But now, I love the excitement and hope of spending extra time with you—a rare and valuable treat. And as a bonus gift, it’s usually for more than just one day.
I loved going to get the Christmas tree as a kid. We’d drive to the tree farm on a Saturday, because that’s when your grandpa had the day off. We’d all cast our vote for the best tree, and then grandpa would cut it down.
But now, we usually have to work around your tight schedule and so if your dad can’t get away from his office, we go with his blessing but without him. I cut the tree down myself while you stand nearby taking seasonal selfies and then tell me, “Way to defy gender stereotypes, mom.”
I loved making Christmas cookies as a kid, especially the thin-mint brownies no holiday season is complete without. But now, I get to bake the cookies you most want while you’re home on break. And when I go to the grocery store to buy ingredients, sometimes I run into someone I know and get to tell them what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. And I get to watch your joy as you eat what I have made.
I loved Christmas Eve as a kid, but I also love it now
I loved Christmas Eve as a kid: the big extended family gathering with everyone talking at once and tables loaded with potluck food and gifts exchange with my closest cousin. But now, Christmas Eve is spaghetti and meatballs at our kitchen table with just our little family, reminiscing about the year that’s nearly done. And later, you indulge me and let me tuck you into bed while you listen to that talking bear that recites “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
I loved waking up as a kid on Christmas and remembering it was finally, really Christmas. But now, I have the thrill of waking up on Christmas morning and remembering that my big kid is finally, really home.
I loved opening my gifts but I love watching you open your gifts even more
I loved opening gifts on Christmas day and getting the thing I’d been hoping would be under the tree. But now, I love to watch you open the boxes and bags that, when I can remember what’s in them, I know contain the thing you’ve been trying not to act too much like you’re hoping you’ll get. (And thanks, by the way, for being a good sport about the boxes of your favorite cereal I wrap to beef up the present pile.)
I loved how wonderfully the same Christmas was every year when I was growing up. I don’t remember a single year that was different from any other. Its predictability was one of the best things about it.
But now, Christmas has been changed in some necessary ways. We have created our own traditions. And even though Christmases are different than they were because you’re part of it, it’s better than ever.
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