Posted on | December 2, 2014 | 3 Comments
I love Christmas.
I love the magic and the candlelight and the love and the full on explosion of good moods across, well, everything. And because I love Christmas so much, last year I started this idea of doing 25 days of Christmas with J. Each day, we’d do something else Christmasy. I’d bake or we’d decorate, or maybe just watch a movie together… but every day would be a celebration of what I love about the season.
Sounds great, right? What could be better than making that magic real and special for my child?
Well… turns out… a lot of things could be better.
Yesterday, I picked J up from school and told him we’d be making a gingerbread house. He was thrilled to say the least. We rushed home where I pulled dinner out of the freezer and then got out the gingerbread kit… because obviously it’s from a kit… and got to work making the icing. J wanted to eat all the candy and the gingerbread but I finally convinced him not to eat THAT gingerbread by promising to make real gingerbread, which I then started making while the frame of the house dried a little. When we finally started putting the candy on the house, it was more of a one on, one in mouth, sort of deal for J, but who am I to judge? I got dinner out of the oven, slid the gingerbread in, and started mixing up a batch of Chex Mix because it’s the best thing since crack, and J finished putting all the candy on the little house.
The Christmas music was playing, the house smelled all cinnamon and ginger, and dammit there was a gingerbread house and it was glorious.
But here’s the thing…. I was still cleaning up the mess while J ate his dinner. I was running a load of laundry and stirring the chex mix and cutting the gingerbread and in general doing ninety things a minute like I usually do… and my kid was sitting alone, eating his dinner. Sure, there was a gingerbread house. And yes, there was chex mix and hot gingerbread with whipped cream, and the house smelled and looked all Christmas-y. But was there magic?
Not a bit.
When I finally sank down beside him on the sofa to watch a Christmas special, he looked at me with a side eye and announced:
“I liked building the gingerbread house. But tomorrow, can you finish all your stuff earlier so we can snuggle on the sofa?”
It was a total gut check. I was trying so hard to make everything perfect that I forgot the best thing about Christmas is spending time with my kid. It’s not about 25 days of Christmas activities. It’s not about the perfect gingerbread house or cookies or even decorations… the magic that was and is so much a part of my childhood Christmases was about believing in Santa, spending time with my sister and brother and mom and dad. It was about trying to stay up to hear sleigh bells, and watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was about being together… not about doing all the things.
So I slid a little closer to my kid, tossed an arm around his shoulders and promised him that tonight? Tonight we will watch a Christmas movie. Just the two of us. With hot chocolate and marshmallows.
And I’ll try a little harder to stop chasing it all the time and just let Christmas magic come to us.