I bug people. That may not be news to many, but in this case I am specifically talking about my enthusiasm for this time of year. So perhaps I should say “I bah humbug people!” Ba dum CHINNNNG!!!
Some roll their eyes when my Christmas music blasts beginning November 1st. Some can’t stand my incessant pinning (ok AND sharing) of holiday decorating ideas I find on Pinterest. Of course, then there are all-those-pictures in my ‘Holiday 2013’ album on Facebook full of garland making-Christmas tree getting-and Ila in all of her yuletide fineness. And, although it is a fairly new tradition, we can’t forget, Dancer, our Elf on the Shelf. I will admit that I go to great lengths to make her show up in the most creative ways. (Even decapitating a new Elf when the dog ate our old Elf...but that is an altogether DIFFERENT story!) I love daydreaming about all the silly situations that she could get herself into, and all the ways I could pull off poses that could portray those situations well.
I have been doing quite a bit of reading around the web on the Elf on the Shelf product and I have to say that the hostility some feel towards it quite emphatic. In fact, I would say that I haven’t come across one article or blog post that had ANY wishy washy feelings about the product at all. It seems that one either loves or hates it.
I am on the love side, and here’s why: An Elf on the Shelf, to a child, is magic. Ila’s reaction to her is just as enchanting. She bounds out of bed every morning in December and tiptoeing like Elmer Fudd ‘huntin wabbits’ she slinks through the house on the look out for that crazy Elf. When she finds it there is usually a squeal full of happiness and wonder that stays in my ears for the entire day. Her face, her twirls, her jumps of joy when she finds Dancer climbing the Christmas tree, swinging from a swing on the dining room chandelier, fishing in the sink, taking a bubble bath of marshmallows... her reactions--well--they are pure, unjaded magic. Magic: just like music that’s played for only 56 days. Magic: just like wandering through a Christmas tree farm looking for the pine that will belong to you and your family. There’s magic in gussying up an otherwise bland and disorganized house for a mere month, or dressing up in a mouse costume and stepping out onto a stage for the first time. It’s all magic. To a child, for my daughter, (heck even for my 20 year old), Christmas is a time for simple and pure magic.
Magic is a mission of mine—not a stressful, chaotic, woe-is-me mission—but a mission that I happily set out to complete beginning each and every November because who doesn’t need a little enchantment now and then to remind us that life is so much more than routines? Christmas, for me, has always been a way to wake up all the senses that have perhaps grown dull and dim over a long year; music to awaken the ears, sumptuous foods to awaken the tongue, balsam, cinnamon, chocolate and peppermint to awaken the nose, candlelight, strings of lights, trees inside the house, red, white, and green paper garland, angels and a little miniature village to awaken the eyes. At Christmas time I am alive and perhaps just a bit more cognizant of each and every miracle whether big or small that graces my family each day.
However, the allurement of the holidays isn’t just for me. Most of all, I look forward to the wholesome happiness that it brings my children, and it isn’t about gifts. That isn’t that kind of magic that I am talking about. I learned far too late that having 1000 gifts under the tree is an entitlement that I DON’T want Christmas to be about. I know now that most of the magic of Christmas is in the anticipation, in the things we do to get ready for that big day; the whimsical traditions established for my family that they have come to rely upon, that I have come to rely upon as moments for us to be together, to experience the rarity of slowing down and simply enjoying one another.
Just this past weekend, my son and his girlfriend, Ila and her dad, and I all crammed into our small kitchen/dining room combo and baked our tushies off! (And then put them back on as we ate what we baked.) We do this every year and to tell you the truth, I have come to look forward to THIS day more than any other day connected to the holidays. There aren’t any gifts to open, but there’s music, laughter, messes...glorious messes...and most of all there is a sense of family that doesn’t seem to replicate itself throughout the year. Not that we aren’t together during the year...but there is something well...MAGICAL about gathering around a table together to create goodies that will passed out as gifts and become an integral part of the days to come; Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve and Day.
However, what we are really creating..what we really do on those baking days is make magical memories that will withstand the coming years and what they may bring. No matter what we may face in the future, we have that Christmas magic from days gone by to remember when we need a reminder of family, and that we are not alone and we have the knowledge that no matter what happens we will always have future magical marvelous moments that will be forever present at Christmas time.
Here's to you Mudders. May you have a Merry Merry Magical Christmas!!