Growing up, I thought Christmas at our house just happened. I guess in my childish mind I thought as easily as my mom flipped the thin, slick calendar page from November to December, the house transformed into Christmas.
The tree was up and decorated. Sometimes lights were strung around the roof. Wrapped gifts would begin to appear under the tree magically. And somewhere in between, cookies were baked and then decorated, a family affair. But there was also the Christmas Sunday School parties and classroom celebrations and choir Christmas concerts for which my mother made our dresses. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from Christmas. My mom made it seem so simple, so effortless and yet so special.
Now, I'm an adult. A wife. A mother. And guess what? Christmas doesn't just happen. "Making Christmas" is a big job and, at times, overwhelming. It isn't as cut and dry as the toy instructions you fail to read at midnight on Christmas Eve. No, it's much more than that.
As Moms, we are responsible for making it magical, beautiful, rememberable, spiritual and sentimental. No pressure. And that's in the midst of two nights of basketball games a week, weekend tournaments, pedaling chocolate bars at the concession stand, Christmas parties, shopping, caroling, school programs, a Christmas pageant at church and working fulltime. Oh, and we can't forget the laundry! (It's unfortunate that Elf on the Shelf character doesn't cook or wash dishes.)
To more than just survive the greatest celebration of the year, I had my farmer and son drag my Christmas tree up from the basement Nov. 1. Yes, Nov. 1. Don't judge. My Little had no more than dumped her Halloween candy onto the carpet to survey her loot, and I was hollering for the tree. So, accompanying my pumpkins and fall décor were Christmas decorations. Baby Jesus created pumpkins, so it works. Right?
As I put up my pre-lit tree, discovering that some of the lights didn't work (which doesn't bring out the best in me) for those lights still burning, I was captivated. I added lights to my tiered mantle and lighted garland above two sets of French doors. I haphazardly wrapped strands around my no-burning pre-lit porch trees. And my Little wrapped the light post at the end of the walkway. What is it about light that brings so much joy? How is it that tiny lights can generate so much beauty in the darkness?
It's Christmas! Let's celebrate! Merry Christmas!