The older my kids get, the more I look forward to Christmas. And it’s so nice to have that feeling of expectant excitement back, because for a while there, Christmas kind of lost it’s sparkle.
Working in retail made Christmas a drag. For a number of years, Christmas meant not being able to be at home with my family (a thousand kilometres from where I studied) because I had to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. To my ears, the tinny sound of Christmas carols was the equivalent of a funeral dirge, and the sight of Christmas decorations being displayed was final proof that THAT time of year was once again, inescapably, upon me. The only good thing about Christmas was that I got stuff. Yep. Call me the Grinch.
Thankfully though, I’m starting to shake off that heavy, old coat, and Christmas is starting to get it’s sparkle back. Having children helps. The excitement that the Rosebud is starting to show towards Christmas and holidays warms my heart. And it’s reminded me of the excitement I used to feel as a child.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… It’s the excitement that came when the calendar flicked over from November to December, and knowing that THIS IS THE MONTH!! Or the feeling on the last day of school, when all the work was done and we didn’t have to wear our uniform. It was the feeling of seeing the desks and chairs all piled on top of one another at the back of the class and celebrating with a class party, with crispy mini pies and sausage rolls, cheerios and tomato sauce and snake lollies that were unmercifully stretched to skipping rope length and feverishly devoured. And then, of course, the feeling as you got into bed on Christmas Eve, knowing that TOMORROW, fiiiiiiiinally, you would wake up to a Christmas tree overflowing with beautifully wrapped treasures, eat delicious food, food and more food (once again experiencing that feeling of extreme discomfort from having that third helping of trifle that you really didn’t need, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t do it again this year) and, of course, the time spent with family and friends around the Christmas dinner table, breaking open bonbons and laughing over the corny jokes and paper crowns they held.
But there’s also a new excitement that I’m really appreciating. It’s the excitement of choosing gifts for family and friends, but particularly my children, that I know they’ll love. And spending hours and hours putting the finishing touches on the handmade colouring in wallet that will just add that ‘something special’ to the $2 colouring pencils the Rosebud is getting, even though that part of it probably won’t be appreciated by a two-year-old. It’s the excitement of starting our own family traditions, like spending Christmas night and Boxing Day with dear friends, and watching over my children as they make memories I know they’ll look back on with fondness in years to come.
Yep, the sparkle is slowly, but surely, returning. And I’m grateful. Sometimes though, when I let my mind wander, and I start to get overwhelmed with the enormity of entertaining guests in our home non-stop for a week, or when I get anxious about the cost of everything and think about the bills that always turn up in your mailbox with only a mention of indulging yourself, or when I wonder how on earth I’m going to fit all that food into my fridge… well… sometimes I consider rekindling my romance with Grinch-i-ness. But then, Rosie will say “Mummy, we go holiday?”, and I’m not only reminded of the simple excitement she has about this season, but also how much influence I have over the enjoyment she will feel during this season.