The year was turning out to be just like all the others; an onslaught of gift buying, gift giving, list making, house cleaning, and a goody baking lalapalooza. Every time I turn around there are cookies to deliver to neighbors, cards to be sent out, a gift for Great Uncle Bob, and some play that I forgot we signed up for. Never mind the usual ins and outs of a family that still needs chores done; such as dishes, laundry, and your standard sock-matching extravaganza. This is how were normally found celebrating the season.
This season started out no different; I was feeling that rising need to fulfill these next few months with nothing but jam-packed joy. So much so that my kids might have been asking old St. Nick for a little more peace and a little less merriment.
But then I was visited by three ghosts.
The Ghost of Christmas Past showed me a scene from Christmas of 2013, with my due date looming just past Christmas Day and my full-term belly bouncing against the tree as I stretched up to hang ornaments. I still have an entire box of ornaments to go, and its past nine o’clock that night. I am so set on getting the tasks in front of me done that I do not notice it’s starting to snow outside.
The Ghost of Christmas Present showed me my present-day checklist; a large quantity of things to do. However, not a lot of quality things to do. I notice I have not made room on my ever-growing list to talk to my children about why we celebrate these holidays in the first place. There are also impoverished communities around our hometown that do not see our faces or our joyful labors and my family remains absent in our ability to serve the people that rely on these volunteer efforts.
The Ghost of Christmas Future reveals my family and I continuing to go on our merry way every winter, buying things for others and ourselves, filling our days with a wide range of things to do, and decorating our home within an inch of its life. But there are also no new traditions, no new conversations about what these customs mean to us personally, and I am sad to say we have not stopped being busy.
I am no Scrooge per say, but I feel my holiday celebrations teeter on the edge of being just as devoid of deeper emotional and spiritual connection as the grumpy old man himself. The Christmas’ of years present and future still remain full of things to do because, lets be honest, we have a big family and lots of loved ones to share in this season with; however I would like to do a few things a little differently.
This season I sincerely hope that we find a chance to celebrate the season in new ways; to explore with our children why we celebrate these holidays, to connect with our community in a lasting and impactful way, and to make sure that we share in the bounty of this winter’s offerings with those around us. This is my new to-do list… this, and to finally find a match to all these socks!