You know that feeling … the wide-awake-but-if-I-don’t-fall-asleep-soon-Santa-will-never-come feeling that we had as children on Christmas Eve … while we laid perfectly still so as not to rustle the covers and drown out the sound of the Reindeer’s bells ringing across the star-lit sky? Well … my son has that feeling already. And we are still weeks away from Christmas.
He snuck down the stairs *twice* last night in the space of about twenty minutes to tell me how excited he is about everything that is going on … I asked if it was about the presents? He said no … it’s all of the fun activities we have coming up … Poppa’s birthday, their school’s Christmas pageant, and the daily activities on the advent calendar. A reward trip (for keeping their room clean) to the bouncy house, and a sleep-over with his Aunties. Uncles and Aunts and cousins flying in from across the country …
He doesn’t even know about the kittens or the snow sledding trip at a cabin in the mountains this weekend. There are so many surprises waiting for our kids this year … they don’t even know what to be excited about yet!
And, since we don’t set the gifts under the tree until Christmas morning, they aren’t shaking their packages or fighting over whose are bigger. When I was young, my parents developed this elaborate numbering system every year, where instead of putting our names on the gifts, they’d develop a code we had to crack to figure out whose number was whose … like adding the last two digits of our birth year together or something obscure that we could never guess. With five of us, they were afraid we’d fight over who had more presents or bigger boxes. But having all of those beautifully wrapped packages staring at us from under the tree for weeks on end just made us a little bit greedy … focusing on the packages and imagining what was in them … fighting over which we would open first. And, I’ll admit it … for the last four years, I’ve had to wake my children up on Christmas morning because I couldn’t wait to see the surprise on their faces as they tumbled into the living room to see the tree all aglow and stockings full of treasures.
So, to hear my five-year-old son say he’s not even thinking about his presents, but instead, he’s excited about all of the fun family activities filling up the calendar makes me very happy. Am I doing something right after all? Have I shifted my children’s focus from the material goods they covet to the joy of spending time with family and having adventures with loved ones? I really hope so. That is my Christmas wish this year.
I mean … it’s not all angel wings and jingle bells … my kids do fight every day about who is going to plug in the lights on the Christmas tree and garland, and they’re so distracted by their anticipation and the lights and smells and promises of magic that they’re having a difficult time listening to simple asks like … brush your teeth or get dressed. But, I think it’s safe to say that their video messages from Santa corrected that behavior this morning.
Ho Ho Ho.