Gargantuan tree? Check. Volume of buttery, powdered-sugary pecan melt-in-your-mouth cookies we made? Over 1,200. Taunting and good-natured teasing? Aplenty.
At the heart of our holiday season is a focus on family and spending time with one another. My husband and I foster a number of activities and traditions involving any one of our three sons, assorted girlfriends, and my mom.
There would be no Christmas cheer without family, and I’m more aware of just how important they are after the challenging year I’ve had. I’m unsure how I would have made it through 2014 without their love and support.
If there were no stockings, presents, tree, decorations, roast beef or goodies, it would still be Christmas as long as we had each other. It’s the love that makes it all worthwhile.
I recently came across a “Holiday To Do List” on social media that got my attention.
Buy Presents was changed to Be Present.
Wrap Gifts was rewritten to Wrap Someone in a Hug.
Send Gifts morphed into Send Peace.
Shop for Food became Donate Food.
Make Cookies was scratched out to form Make Love.
And See the Lights was changed to Be the Light.
This is a beautiful summation of holiday spirit. I need the reminder this time of year because I always get a little cuckoo about the gift part. In my mind, there are never enough gifts. I want to spend more than I have, and more than I should, and always more than I budget, because I have a touch of Christmas Crazy in me.
I understand I come by it honestly as my father allegedly had the same affliction. He and my mother would discuss a budget for Christmas, and then he’d run out in the eleventh hour and blow the lid off the plan to make sure we all had enough.
If I can remind myself it’s not about the gifts, then I can stay calm. If I can quell the rushing around buying, preparing, and planning, I can keep my holiday mojo. And if I can stay reasonable, I won’t experience massive guilt and buyer’s remorse syndrome.
That said, gifts are one of the most pleasurable components of the holiday. Finding the perfect gift for someone requires thought, effort, and a little ingenuity.
At Casa Cobb, gift-wrapping is also an art form. We’ll have an assortment of stunning, traditional, funny and intriguing packages and of course, the kind devoid of tags so the recipient is a bit unclear. We love ambiguity.
On the big day, we’ll make our gift exchanging last until dinner. There will be no Olympic record 30-minute or less unwrapping frenzy happening here.
This year, I decided to add in another fun component to the day: contests. We will do family related personality quizzes, imitations and other shenanigans for cash prizes. No one’s going to get rich, mind you, except possibly in merriment.
The time our family has spent together has already been grand. And lucky me, all three sons (plus one longtime significant other) will be home for Christmas this year, a rarity nowadays.
It’s been an interesting year, so having all of us together means something more poignant than usual. Mine was full of medical travails, the most recent which could have unwittingly killed me. My husband has traveled extensively, so I don’t take his presence for granted. My sons and their girlfriends have also experienced their own fair share of struggles and successes.
I am reminded of a quote from “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: “Every man wants life to be a fine thing and easy. And it is fine, powerful fine. But it ain’t easy.”
In the end, we’ve weathered what life has brought us, and we will celebrate our time together on this Earth for yet another Christmas.
We will Be Present, Wrap Someone in a Hug, Send Peace, Donate Food, Make Love and Be the Light.
When coming from a place of gratefulness, such as I am, doing these deeds are a cinch, and there’s no need to be a Grinch.
Peace and blessings to all this holiday season.