When the Christmas season first started, maybe even before, I was worked up about what to get people for Christmas. I was caught up on the stressful aspects of the Christmas season and didn’t let myself enjoy the other parts of it. I stressfully “hung the stockings by the chimney” because I was working at the daycare at the time and I kept forgetting to hang them. I cursed as I put up our tree because a big chunk of our fake tree is not lighting up and it had to be perfect.
Well, two days ago I randomly heard that our small town was doing a Christmas tree lighting that night. I hadn’t planned to go, I honestly didn’t think Husband would want to go because he hurt his shoulder and was in a lot of pain. On top of that, it was raining, cold, and I was feeling pretty lazy.
Of course, when the moment came for us to go, I almost threw in the towel. I had so much stuff to do, I didn’t have time to walk up and down our 3 street town fighting the crowd. I almost called it quits when we spent ten minutes driving around trying to find a parking spot. I quietly grumbled to myself as I squished myself against Husband because it was so crowded.
I was freezing and my phone didn’t have a lot of space on it, so no recording the lighting for me. I was at the height of my grumbling when the mayor came onto the mic and started the countdown.
10, 9, 8… I started the countdown annoyingly. I wanted to watch the tree light and then I could go home. My mission would be accomplished.
7, 6, 5…I noticed a little girl on her grandpa’s shoulders with wonder in her eyes.
4, 3, 2…I looked over at my nephew who was jumping up and down anxious to see that moment when the tree lit up.
1,0…The tree lit up and it was beautiful. Lights sparked in the sky. They had gotten fireworks to complete the lighting. They finished it with fake snow (soap) that gave it a magical feeling.
A moment of clarity overcame me then. I realized, I spent so much time stressing over the small stuff, I didn’t leave room to enjoy what Christmas was all about. It wasn’t about getting the best gift for your family or friends, it was spending time with them, seeing the innocence in the children’s eyes as they impatiently wait to tell Santa what they want for Christmas, it’s the happy and friendly nature of everyone – no matter how crowded it may be. The unity of a small town, the pride that is shown for our neighbors, the loyalty and love we have for our families.
It took a tree to remind me what I was missing for Christmas. Instead of griping about the cold, I felt the warmth of my loved ones near me. I realized I didn’t need to document everything with my camera (although I did a little). Instead, I would be in the moment and share the memories with my nephew (who told me a few times to put my phone away).
Instead of stressing out about the presents, the money, the “how you are going to do it”, the elves on the shelves, and making Christmas awesome, take a step back and remember that Christmas is a season to show your friends and family that you are always there, that you love them dearly, and the best way to do that is to surround yourself with them. Laugh with them, goof off, be silly, don’t worry about the pressures that are in your life. Enjoy the moment because in a moment it’ll be gone.