I had song lyrics in my head driving home from a week-early celebration with my family, but I realized it was a bit too much like “All I Want For Christmas Is You” which I believe Mariah Carey had a hit with a few years ago.
Mine went something like this: I don’t need a tree or ornaments or lights, I don’t need snow to keep from feeling blue. All I need for Christmas is you (guys).
My daughter is disappointed that I don’t have a Christmas tree and unhappy when I mention I might never have one again. “What if you have grandchildren?” I might have a tree if they were visiting for Christmas. (For some reason when we downsized I kept all of my Christmas ornaments.) Or they might have to get used to the idea that Grammy Barb doesn’t have a Christmas tree. But these fictitious grandchildren don’t exist. If they ever do I hope they’ll discover that a tree isn’t what’s important about the holiday. It isn’t lights or decorations. It isn’t presents and sugar cookies and visits to Santa Claus. I hope what’s important to me will be important to them. I hope they already have the kind of gifts I’ve been given and that Christmas is simply a time to remember how blessed we are and to show our appreciation for the people who are important to us.
I’m old now so I can say this: How many of the material gifts that you got for Christmas do you remember? How many do you still have or use or like? Probably not very many. My specific memories of those gifts are isolated. My Thumbelina doll when I was seven. That’s the only thing I wanted and I still have her. My husband sent me flowers one year, even though what I’d asked for was for him to send me flowers for no reason sometime during the year when there was no occasion to do so. He heard half of that request. :)There are those fleeting moments of surprise and delight when you open a gift and that’s about it. Everyone enjoys opening gifts (including me), but what you remember most are the people you were with or sometimes the people who weren’t there.
I have two children who both have significant others. We live in different places although luckily in the same state. We all have work schedules and family commitments and logistics to consider when attempting to plan a holiday gathering but that’s what’s important to me. This year I thought it might not be possible but we made it happen.
A week before Christmas we’re all in the same place at the same time. Yes, there is lots of good food and wine and presents. But even if there weren’t my Christmas would have been complete because the people who are most important to me were all there. In the weeks and days prior I’d spent time with my closest friends. Spending time with them was another blessing.
If you walk into my house it doesn’t look like Christmas. My neighbor put a Santa hat on top of our mailbox light. Her house is decorated inside and out. My husband wrapped lights around the bases of three palm trees in our front yard and that’s it. He also took me to Best Buy where I picked out my gift. My friend Sandy sent us a little sign that says “This is as merry as we get.” It’s hanging on my front door. My friend Carol makes a sad face when I tell her we’re celebrating Christmas a week early. “But what are you going to open on Christmas morning?” Nothing, because I’ll be working. But I can open my memories any time.
We can always find a reason to be merry. Every day’s like Christmas when you appreciate all the blessings, small and large, that surround you. But especially the blessing of the people in your life. The ones you truly enjoy. The ones you’d spend all your time with if you could. Those are the gifts that make me happy. That’s all I wanted for Christmas.
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Merry Christmas and remember books make great gifts!