I've thought and thought about the many things that I hope The Webbman, and eventually Murphy and Mae will know about Christmas. Every year, I think about all the little things that make Christmas "Christmas". So here I go:
- Growing up in the Murphy household, my Mom never let us forget the significance of Jesus in the equation. After all, to coin that phrase that grates on my nerves every time I hear it . . . "Jesus is, indeed, the reason for the Season". If you keep him out front and center, everything else just falls into place!
- I know that this seems insignificant, but "DON'T", as in DO NOT, walk past the Salvation Army person ringing the bell at the store. Don't drop your eyes like they are going to accost you. People, THANK THEM! If you can't give or don't believe it's a worthy cause, simply smile and thank them for working in your community. Yeah, I know, my own husband cringes when I do this because he is indeed an "eye dropper", a "walk past the bell ringer like they have the plague person", an "I bet they pocket half that money person", but regardless of your thoughts on this, you will feel better if you a) gather change the minute you see them (whatever you have, no amount is too small), or b) simply, make eye contact and say "Merry Christmas". Folks, they understand. They get it!
- Work hard at establishing the amazement and wonder in the lil people in your family. Children bring joy and you have to nurture their sense of wonder. Establish traditions. Read the same story every year to them. Make the same candy for them. Heck, eat the same candy with them!
- Smile. Smile all through the Season. Smile at the sales persons. Smile at the other shoppers, smile at the annoying woman who hogs the aisle with her buggy in WalMart. Smile. You will feel better for it! You will make someone else feel better for it!
- Always remember that during the holidays, our place is with our family. Yep, family, complete with all the crazies, all the people we eye roll about the following day, all the people who tell the same stories every year at the Christmas dinner table, all the people who you know darn good and well re gifted the gift they gave you. Remember, its not about what you get, or the number of things you get. Christmas is about family and getting to be with them. If you can't be with them, let them know you want to! They matter. Make an investment in them. Be present for them.
- Don 't psych yourself into imagining the perfect Christmas. Think about Christmas last year and understand that Aunt Sally isn't going to automatically be sane, Uncle Joe isn't going to reincarnate if you lost him last year. Accepting what IS always makes enjoying the holiday much easier. I should say, accepting and appreciating what you have (and even what you don't have)! Life isn't perfect. Christmas won't be perfect, but it can certainly be filled with joy.
- Bake! Bake in excess. Take every cookie sheet out of the cabinet and make sure you get them dirty. Get flour all over your counter and then EAT the cookies. Bake with your friends, your family, and even by yourself. You will feel better. It creates memories and I can't think of a bad one I have, even when I burned the cookies!
- Go a little slower and listen to what others say. This is good advise no matter the time of year. Soak up other people's happy memories and let them talk about them. Ask them about their Christmas traditions and let them savor in their moments.
- My Mom always had us write a Christmas List. She didn't write our Christmas List. If we wanted Santa to know what we wanted, we had to take some initiative. She would, however, assist us in the spelling of said items on our lists! Besides writing the list, she would keep our lists in a shoe box in her closet. When my Mom passed away, I found all my lists right next to an awful pair of navy blue pumps!
- Listen to Christmas Music. Listen to it all. Sing Out Loud. You will feel better for it. Your children and family may ask you to "hush", but DON'T DO IT! Sing and enjoy the things that are free. Usher in Baby Jesus with song! As long as HE doesn't ask you to "hush", DON'T STOP!
That's enough for now! I've got baking to do and Christmas Music to listen to, but before I go . . . Look at the JOY in this lil guy's face! Think he is crazy about "his" babies???? I know I AM!