As Christmas day nears, we’re pouring over lists of loved ones to send cards to, planning extravagant, memorable feasts, listening to the classic Christmas jingles, and looking upon glistening evergreens as we nod off to dreams of yesteryear. It’s the season of giving, of thanks, of humility. As children, the magic is all too real. We studied our family’s traditions while excitedly pouring over catalogues of toys and games we simply had to have. And it all culminated into a morning filled with gifts of some of those very things, and perhaps a pair of socks from mom. As life goes on, and the years go by, this desire for receiving seems to slowly dissolve, giving way to an indescribable peace and sense of nostalgia that makes it all worth the effort, the sweat, tears and dollars.

I read a quote recently that stuck with me, it went like this:

“I think as you grow older your Christmas list gets shorter because the things you want can’t be bought.”

How true, I thought. Each year, that long list got shorter and shorter, until eventually it gave way to something far greater than we ever imagined. As children, we were being taught a lesson we, likely nor our parents, didn’t even realize. We all know what it is, even if we can’t put it into words. It’s the absolute joy on our guests faces as they enter our home to celebrate with us, it’s the bright-eyed children opening a gift we knew they’d love, honest to goodness love and friendship, it’s the sole feeling this season evokes. These feelings and moments become the real gift, far more valuable than toys or games or candy.

And so, as we pass down these traditions, our children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren or even our neighbors children, receive this small seed that over time will grow, eventually subsisting off the sheer brilliance age, experience, wisdom and nostalgia of its early days provide. For adults, it’s a beautiful thing. So, as your little ones are writing to St. Nicholas, asking for this and that, you’ll remember the same magic you felt when you were their age. And that, more than any gift you might receive this year, will be the greatest gift you could have asked for.

This year, your list will have gotten shorter again. We might curl up with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa, reminiscing on our own childhoods and thinking about the days ahead. It won’t be about getting that gift we always wanted, it will be about remembering that the greatest gifts are those that cannot be bought at a store, but forged from the power of family, love, community and togetherness.

What is your favorite part of the Christmas holiday? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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