As I lit a fire in our new tiny apartment last night, the smell of the fireplace blended with the residuals of cool air and fall leaves still lingering in my nose. I kneeled staring at the flames, welcoming the heat wrapping around my face and soaking into the tops of my skinny jeans and into my legs. Christmas music played lightly from my radio and suddenly I was a wide-eyed little girl, excited about the beginnings of the most magical season of all.
My Christmas memories are hardly of opening extragavant gifts under the tree. They are more a collage of spending time with my sisters and mom, singing carols in the cool Northern California air, making ornaments and holiday cards, and of course- baking gingerbread cookies from scratch!
I closed the screen to the now roaring fire and contemplated what my own children’s memories of Christmas would entail from now on. In years passed, I had included many of the above traditions. Additionally, we had added commitment to the annual children’s Christmas play at our church. But somehow I had also created a tradition of always telling the kids not to expect too many presents only to have them awake to piles of gifts overflowing from under the tree. This was a “tradition” I never intentionally set out in making, and one that will stop this year.
As we start fresh in our new small, apartment home, the old-fashioned meaningful meaning of Christmas is my goal. I will not be spending hours and undisclosed amounts of money on shopping for gifts. No, instead I will rekindle some of my childhood memories, sharing places and perpectives that were impossible to duplicate in Idaho, as well as integrating what Christmas mean for our Christian faith.
From attending Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, California to making gingerbread cookies with Grandma… My prayer is that from now on the Christmas memories my children have will be about spending time with family and the only gift that will matter will be the one that comes from the heart.