Ahhh, it's that time of year again! Family and friends, presents wrapped in paper and topped with bows...crazy drivers, checkout lines stretching to the door, and stressed out last minute shoppers. As with anything, it all depends on how you look at it! I do my best each year to avoid the crazy drivers and packed stores by starting my Christmas shopping in June...yes, JUNE. That may be neurotic, but it allows me to calmly welcome the holidays with a smile on my face. Well, I try anyway! I actually bought my last gift two days ago, so I couldn't avoid the stress completely. Hmmm...maybe I should start in March.
Though however it happens, all of the stress is worth it when a present I have chosen (or made,) makes someone I love smile. It's worth it to watch my youngest niece rip apart that snowman paper with abandon, and pull a giant teddy bear into a big hug! Or to see my older niece model a brand new sweater or a piece of jewelry, which reminds me once again how beautiful she is. Both of my nieces are beautiful, inside and out--and seeing them on my favorite holiday and watching how they've grown year after year, is worth the long shopping lines!
Now, I realize in my heart that this holiday is not about the presents...it's about the smiles. It's about those opportunities to see how my nieces have grown, and to hear my family laugh when we discuss past holiday memories. Like my father's Christmas outfit when I was a child; a green turtleneck and red bell bottom pants (sorry, dad--at least I didn't post it!) Or the shiny silver tree with the multi-colored light box that rotated, so the color of our tree was forever changing...Hey, cool! Our tree is red--oh, wait. It's gree...hold on a minute. Is that a BLUE tree?? Ah yes, the 70s! Those were weird times full of strange fashion and lots of shininess! And now I'll forever have those memories to enjoy with my family. The stories of past times are truly the most important, and I know if I weren't able to come to Christmas celebrations with any presents, I would still be wanted...I also know that this year has been more difficult for me due to financial issues. I can only imagine what many others out there face, when attempting to get their loved ones presents in this failing economy. Can I change that? Not really. All I can do is stay calm and keep that smile on my face...and hopefully if someone else is dealing with their own holiday stresses and money struggles, I'm the one who holds the door for them, and sends them through with a smile. Maybe, if I'm lucky, my small gesture helps them just a little!
Well, as I still have presents to wrap and kitties to pull off the tree (they're trying to climb it again...) I must dash! Though before I go, I wish all of my readers a happy and healthy holiday whatever you may celebrate...and when our new year comes, may you all look back and remember the laughter and smiles on the faces of your family and friends. May you surpass all of your stress and financial burdens, and start some holiday memories of your own to enjoy for years to come!