Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Magic of Christmas

For as long as I can remember I have always loved Christmas and not just because of the gifts.

I have long loved this beautiful holiday season for the sheer sense of JOY that it brings people. At no other time of year are people more thoughtful and well, just soft and kind. Soft around the edges, softer and kinder in their disposition, their outlook, the way they treat one another, etc... More often than not we rush through life preoccupied by all of the "things" we have to do and I feel that the holidays force us to just slow down a bit and reflect.

Every year around this time I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for all that I have. The people in my life, the friendships that I have built over the years, my family, the list goes on. I look forward to this time of reflection because it helps me appreciate so much. I know every day that I'm lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support but it just feels well, bigger this time of year.

Just hearing Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" can turn me giddy with nostalgia. That single song alone makes my heart feel full of the "Christmas Spirit" maybe because it evokes the feelings that I imagine the families in movies to have or in the really sentimental commercials you see this time of year of the "perfect family" so often depicted. I want to feel like that. So I love this time of year because it allows me to do just that, unapologetically. I can create this perfect scenario where noone worries about everyday troubles, for one day you just let it all go and allow yourself to celebrate and feel true, honest Joy.

When I was growing up, Christmas was always a big deal. Everyone got dressed up, we would spend days decorating the house within an inch of its life and my mother would cook an outrageous holiday meal from soup to nuts- lobster tails, filet mignon, you name it. We scrimped and saved all year long so that we could offer this fabulous feast to our loved ones and we waited for it all year, appreciated every bite and felt proud when everyone left full and happy. Sometimes I feel as though the preparation and pagentry over the years has fallen a bit by the wayside. I've tried in vain to bring it back, often to less than enthusiastic crowds- "What do you mean we can't wear jeans?!" (ugh.) Whatever happened to getting excited about the holidays, putting on a nice outfit and creating a scene that was so much more special and spectacular than the everyday? After all, its only one day, one which should be celebrated. Would you wear jeans to someone's wedding? That's considered a spectacular celebration, why can't Christmas be the same? I've never participated in the half-assed approach and I never will.

Maybe this year feels even more special because it's my son's first Christmas and it allows me to see the holiday in a whole new way. Maybe that's why I'm so gung-ho to bring the magic back. I know he has no idea about all of the things that I planned for him this year and that they will really be for my own edification. It's my hope though that over the years, I will create lasting memories and traditions that he'll look forward to, so that the holidays leave him just as excited and filled with anticipation of their arrival as it has for me over the years. A time of year that he looks forward to with baited breath, not only for the gifts but because of how special and different it feels from everyday life. The magic of escaping to a state of mind for one day where everyone does things out of the kindness of their hearts, relishing in the delight of giving, rather than receiving  and celebrating all that you have. The time of year where everyone can just feel like a kid again, when things were simple. And maybe, just maybe, it will impact him enough that he will want to pass that same feeling on to his children some day.

Joy. Unhibited, unapologetic, over the top, enthusiastic Joy.

After all, isn't that what it's all about?

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