Christmas Over the Years

Have you noticed how much your celebration of Christmas has changed over the years?

You go from hunting through your own stocking in search of chocolate and trinkets to filling your baby's stocking with a rattle and a pair of baby socks.

You progress from shopping at Toys R Us and Gap Kids to perusing the pricey goods at Best Buy and The Gap.

Eventually you do most of your holiday shopping on-line.

You jump from electronic gadgets and clothes to gift cards and cash so they can pick out their own.

You start out doing all the baking and decorating yourself, move on to helping little hands carefully hang ornaments and decorate cookies, progress on to begging the kids to turn off the t.v. so they can ice "just three cookies each please", and then revert back to doing it all by yourself again while everyone else comes and goes around you. (I did manage to get the man child to help me ice a couple dozen sugar cookies. Did a mother's heart good!)

You go from tucking pajama clad and freshly bathed cherubs into their car seats to go see Christmas lights to running through everyone's busy schedules to try to find some evening just to eat together.

You begin by cooking a delicious holiday feast of turkey and dressing and all the fixings and begging little children in high chairs to try just three bites. You move on to a few years of bliss when everyone just eats what is put in front of them. Then you suddenly have all adults in the home who want to vote on whether to have a traditional ham or fajitas or a pot of soup. (You, however, are still the head of the kitchen so you don't give in on this one!)

You go from watching the classics like It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas in front of a romantic fire for two to viewing Frosty and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with giggling children to laughing at a boy who was left Home Alone with preteens who wish out loud that they too could be left home alone. Then eventually you're watching all of these movies plus the sappy ones on Lifetime and Hallmark channels alone while everyone else in your family goes to parties and basketball games and movies like Tron.

I hope I don't sound like I'm whining. I'm not. I love my family and the way we spend Christmas. It has definitely changed over the years, but it is still delightfully good. Yes, I have to arrange three days in advance to go see a family movie with my kids now that they are older. And yes, I do most of the decorating and baking by myself. But the house is still filled with noise and laughter and busyness and good aromas and yummy food and tender hugs...and shoes and clothes on the floor and laptops here and there...but I digress...

I just think it's interesting how much Christmas has changed over the years.

The lesson? If you're piling pajama clad kids into a mommy van to take them to see Christmas lights this year, enjoy. Breathe in and breathe out. Look at those squabbling children and thank God for that very moment. It is fleeting. It is precious.

But if, like me, you're stuffing the stockings with i-tune gift cards and giving tickets to bowl games under the tree, enjoy that too. It's different, but if you're still together and there's even a little love floating through the home, it's good. It's very good.

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