Every year I make a promise to myself that NEXT year Christmastime will be different. NEXT year at Christmas I won’t over-schedule myself or leave things until last minute. NEXT year I will simplify and have more time to really enjoy the holidays. NEXT year my shopping will be done early. NEXT year I will leave more time for serving those in need. But then next year comes and nothing has changed. THIS year I am overwhelmed! I looked at my calendar and I have something almost every day AND night until Christmas. Realizing that made my panic mode set in. I hate the feeling of anxiety that comes when I realize I just might not be able to get everything done, when all I really want to do is put my feet up and sip hot chocolate while listening to Christmas music.
So through the chaos, how can we find joy during the holidays? How can I be a happy mom when I am being pulled in so many different directions?
I think the answer is simple and right in front of me. I need to start seeing Christmas through my children’s eyes.
Seeing Christmas Through the Eyes of My Children
To children, Christmas is magical and Christmas is simple. As I watch my boys and their excitement I realize that it goes deeper than just an excitement to see what Santa brings. Yes, that is a BIG deal, but Christmas is more than things to them. Christmas is the feeling that is in the air. As parents I think it is very easy to think that our kids can’t have a good Christmas without a lot of toys and constant activities and so we overload our schedule with events and we overload our budget with gifts. I know I do it EVERY year! And then in the end it really is the simple things that mean the most to them. Last year my boys’ favorite Christmas gift was a book of The Night Before Christmas that my parents sent them that has my dad’s voice recorded reading them the story. Since we aren’t able to be there with them on Christmas Eve anymore they sent that tradition of Grandpa reading that story to us. My boys didn’t want to go to bed because they wanted to hear the story “one more time.”
My boys have taught me that simple gifts can have the most meaning. They love to make me presents and every year I get boxes of snowflakes, clay pots or macaroni or cereal jewelry. And looking at the smiles on their faces makes me realize that the simple, most inexpensive gifts really do mean the most.
To my boys, especially my 3-year-old, even the smallest things are magical yet I’m often in such a hurry that I forget to even notice them. For example, last week I ran into the mall for one quick thing and I didn’t even realize the HUGE Christmas tree they had until I heard a little voice say “WOW!”. This year, since it is not possible for me to cross everything off of my calendar, I need to make a conscious effort to enjoy the events that are scheduled, instead of focusing on where I have to be or what I have to do next. Like my boys, I can really be present and take in the sights and sounds around me.
And through the hustle and bustle, I can be more aware of people around me who I can serve. My boys never let us walk by a Salvation Army bell ringer without dropping money in. It is sad that sometimes I am in too big of a hurry to take an extra 30 seconds to help someone less fortunate than I am. My boys have taught me to remember to serve and to love others.
Christmas is the feeling of love and joy that comes this time of year as we focus on the good that this Earth holds and as we turn our hearts to serving others. Christmas is the feeling of peace that we feel as we turn our thoughts to a little baby who was born long ago, whose simple birth would bring hope to a world full of despair.
When we stop and see Christmas through the eyes of our children, we can be reminded of the peace and goodwill that this season is all about and we can begin to feel that peace and joy within ourselves. Even as I write this I’m a little sad as I realize that THIS year I haven’t been doing so great at finding that peace and joy. I really have been too busy and I don’t want to wait until NEXT year to enjoy my Christmas. So, today, right now, I’m going to start to really focus on seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children and hopefully the next few weeks, though still busy, will be filled with more peace, more joy and more love.