Waiting For the Real Thing

Waiting For the Real Thing

This is my favorite time of the year, as is true for most people I suppose.  The week before Christmas (and just a few more days now, actually) is the best, and the buildup just feels amazing to me!  There's a rush and excitement about it that is unparalleled and it's this anticipation that I look forward to the entire year!

I wish I could say that everything is perfect at this point but it's not. Two days ago, the retail giant, Target, announced their security breach where 40 million card accounts may have been compromised.  Then today Zappos also announced that their system has been hacked.  As if consumers are not anxious and exhausted enough at this point after all the shopping going on, thieves have decided to be the ultimate Grinch and steal a piece of our peace of mind and sense of joy.

But we all know we have to fight this.  Yes it sucks.  Yes we have to practice more vigilance.  And yes it may cause a bit more sleepless nights.  But as cliche as it sounds, we have to force ourselves to focus on the fact that this season---Christmas, to those who celebrate it, like our family does --- should be about focusing on what truly fills us and makes our spirits joyful.  

Now that I'm a parent and have a child who now truly knows how to look forward to this holiday, I find that my excitement stems from my desire to make it as special for him as best I could.  It doesn't revolve so much anymore on my wondering about what gifts I will get but what I could give to my son to surprise him. 

It's about thinking of creative ways to make his sense of wonder last a bit longer.  

For instance this year, I heard that other than Santa sending him his annual video message, he will also be writing him a poem!  

It's focusing on keeping our simple family tradition of making him baked french toast for Christmas morning and the best hot cocoa I can concoct.

It's about doing my best to capture his expression, and hope it be etched in my memory forever, when he breaks a link from the Christmas Countdown Chain he made in school.  The way he looks up and counts the remaining links every night is priceless!

 

It's having our treasured family movie hours watching our own bunch of Christmas classics: The Polar ExpressA Charlie Brown Christmas, and HBO's 'Twas the Night.  Frankly, December won't be the same for us if we didn't watch these films.  Maybe when he gets a little older, we can add Home AloneLove ActuallyWhile You Were Sleeping, andBridget Jones' Diary.  For now, the last four films are just for Mommy when she wants to veg out.  

Oh and of course part of the fun is for my son to suffer through my fixation on Christmas music courtesy of Ray Conniff!  A cherished childhood memory is of my parents playing the vinyl album below during the holiday season, and for some odd reason that I still don't understand, I was extremely fascinated with the album co
ver.  Eventually though, a real favorite surfaced and it's the song 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' in all its possible versions (Johnny Mathis, The Carpenters, Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny Loggins, Kenny G., Judy Garland, the Pretenders, Dianna Krall). Yes, I'm addicted to this song and for me, this is THE ultimate Christmas song.  Noah is still not a convert since he thinks it's far too depressing.  Yes, undeniably this song is melancholic but that's what makes it so perfect for me!  Oh well....
 
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No Christmas will ever be textbook perfect.  Maybe you don't have enough money.  Maybe you haven't perfected a dish you really wanted to serve at your family gathering.  You're not fit enough, skinny enough, pretty enough for a certain outfit.  Your house is not Pinterest worthy.  Maybe you didn't find the perfect gift you wanted to give your significant other.  Or maybe a store's security breach has caused you much financial distress.  These things are not'nothing' but putting them in perspective should make us see that these are peripheral and shouldn't have any real power over our Christmas.  
 
Treasured people weaving treasured memories are all that matter.  It's the little acts of love and generosity, as well as feelings of joy brought on by how much joy we've given others, that should truly define our experience.  People don't remember outfits they wore, and sometimes not even store-bought gifts they received during past Christmases. What we remember are the people we spent them with, the stories shared, games played, dishes lovingly prepared, hands held, hugs and kisses, prayers, loving words and beaming smiles. These are the things that fill the heart to the brim.  These are the REAL things worth anticipating during this season, and always.

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