A palpable happiness fills the air. Family members gather outside their bedrooms, in the communal hallway, exchanging hugs, kisses and “Merry Christmas'”, too.
Downstairs the only visible light is twinkling from the Christmas tree, reflecting off shiny red, green, and gold baubles. Under the tree is a sea of boxes, wrapped with care and adorned with ribbons and bows. Stockings are full and hanging low on the mantelpiece. This is, typically, what we know as Christmas morning.
I’m not entirely sure how Christmas became the largest gift giving holiday of the year, but there are some parallels to the folklore of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas’ parents died when he was very young and left him with quite the inheritance. Saint Nicholas went on to fulfill many good deeds with said money. He was said to have broke into the home of a poor family that could not pay their dowry. He left gold coins in their already hung stockings to save the three young females from a life at the brothel. Explains why you may see chocolate coins in your stockings, but why gifts?
As a young child, I didn’t question why presents were arrayed under the Christmas tree that morning. I was happy to wake to a plethora of presents. I tore wrapping paper from gift after gift like I were trying to uncover a deep secret.
As an adult, the gifts are not the reason I get giddy about Christmas. I love Christmas because I genuinely love spending time with my family. This is the one time of year where they drop their busy schedules and simply visit together. I also get enjoyment from watching people open their gifts. To see their faces light up and their smiles reach maximum stretch causes immense joy to rise up within me.
I’m generally a selfless person, so each year, I dread the question, ‘what do you want for Christmas this year?’. It’s always the same – family and to watch you open the gifts I brought. That answer never pleases anyone. This year, I honestly could not answer that question. Not one person got an answer from me.
It’s because I already have everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m very thankful for how I’m living, my health, my house, and of course, my wonderful husband. But this year, I’m talking more specifically about my son.
Most young girls dream about their wedding day. The white, flowing dress they’ll wear, the sparkly shoes to match, the bundles of flowers, and the extravagant venue, etc. That never appealed to me. As a young girl, my dreams were focused entirely on becoming a mother. There has never been anything I have wanted more. And this is my year. This is the year that my husband and I were ready to settle down and start our family. We made a son and he’s all I’ve ever wanted. No material gift could ever compare to the life I’m incubating.
I’m currently in my seventh month of pregnancy and his arrival into the world is expected in three short months. I love him so much more (already) than I thought was humanly possible. He is my everything (already). I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, walking around with a heart that is three times the normal size. My little Lion Cub did that for me.
To sum up Christmas of 2016, I’d like to again reference The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss by sharing one of my all-time favorites quotes, “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet in ice cold snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled until his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a bit more.”
While we’re all enjoying the gifts that Santa brought us, lest we forget the true meaning of Christmas. Hug your family members extra tight today. I hope you have a very happy holiday!