Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Growing up, we always decorated the tree the Monday after Thanksgiving. I often thought it was odd to be doing that on a Monday, but we always went out of town for Thanksgiving so this was the soonest we could get it done. Mom and my sister and I would handle the inside, and my stepdad would put all the lights up outside. I remember we had candle lights in our window and I looked forward to plugging them in every night. I LOVED Christmas and counted the days down to when we'd get to open our presents. I'd watch as the pile under the tree got bigger each day, try to peek under my mom's bedroom door as she wrapped presents, and shake every box to get even a hint of what was inside.

But, as childhood wonder begins to fade as you grow older, my anticipation for the big day diminished over the years and then it began to seem like a chore to drag out all of the decorations, bake until I couldn't stand the smell of food anymore, fight the rude and nasty shoppers at the retail chains, and spend hours and hours cleaning and changing sheets in preparation for all of the relatives to come.

I decided to have a different attitude this year. I can see a little of myself as a child when I watch Wally and Beaver do the same things I did 25 years ago. It makes me happy to see how excited they are getting and how they almost can't stand the wait. They sit in our livingroom and stare longingly at the gifts every day afterschool and I love listening to them tell each other what they think is in each box. It reminded me WHY I break my back to have a traditional Christmas each year, and it made it all worth it. This year, I bought almost everything online, so I don't have to fight the crowds, and I'm baking a little each day so that I don't have to spend 3 days straight getting everything put together. My house is clean now, and I'll just spend the next 2-3 weeks KEEPING it that way. This year when we put the decorations out, I put on some Christmas music and we all sang together as we decorated for about 4 hours and it made all the difference.

Sometimes I forget how influential my own attitude can be on the entire house. If I'm grouchy, everyone is grouchy. If I'm upbeat and light, everyone else gets that way, too. I am going to keep a smile on my face this holiday season and make sure my boys have the best Christmas ever. I have to keep reminding myself that you never know what is going to turn into a lasting memory for them. Every conversation or action could be something they remember vividly 40 years from now, and I don't ever want to be remembered as the momma that yelled and screamed and was too stressed to enjoy Christmas. :)

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