Christmas Eve, the day where the magic of Christmas begins and endless amounts of family time commences. It’s supposed to be a day of blissful happiness filled with last minute preparations for tomorrow – right?
Just like you see in the commercials, the festive mom running around the grocery store trying to pick out the perfect holiday honey ham while the dad proudly turns on his Christmas lights in the front yard for all of the neighbors to see. (who also have fully decorated houses with blinking lights that sync to the song Jingle Bells)
A picture perfect lifestyle indeed.
Realistic? As far as my experience goes, definitely not. My mom is a pro at getting all of the Christmas gifts for the family early on, beating the crowds, and perfectly wrapping them to go under our tree. But I don’t wake up to the smell of freshly baked muffins or a spotless house ready to host a party at any given time. My dad doesn’t decorate the outside of our house anymore either, except for a wreath on our front door which I do love. My parents are getting to that point in their life where they say “this is our house and we can live in it the way we want.” I blame old age.
It’s taken me awhile to understand. The “this is our house” line angers me like no other. But as the holidays have approached, and their ways have remained unchanged, it has put the importance of the holidays into greater perspective for me.
I’ve always known that gifts are not the point of Christmas, obviously. Nor is a mess-free house or a surplus of cookies. My favorite part is honestly traveling to my grandparents’ houses and walking in to see everyone smiling, as my dad and brother struggle to carry the laundry baskets overflowing with gifts. We’re all greeted in the doorway until someone yells “shut the door! It’s freezing out there!” I’ll see the tree all decorated and hear my younger cousins talking about some random game they all seem to love. Instant happiness.
It’s loud, it’s messy, and it’s warmed with love – our beautifully chaotic Christmas.
I’ve had people in my life who aren’t as fortunate to have such a loving family, despite what their pictures look like. Their houses may be spotless and their outfits may be matching but their happiness isn’t as real as they portray it to be. Knowing the truth behind their pictures is sad but it makes me appreciate my non-photogenic holidays a little more. (although we do clean up real nice)
So yes, I miss my family traditions that have changed over time but I’m realizing now more than ever the blessings that come with accepting those changes. There may not be snow on the ground this year, and our crazy days may not be picture perfect, but at least our smiles are always genuine.
Cheers to another memorable Christmas to come! May your smiles be genuine and your hearts be full, along with your bellies.
I’ll be wishing for a white Christmas,
XOXO – Autumn