Having enough – presents? Nah – having enough memories  

I sat down on the couch tonight after getting the kids tucked into bed and thought to myself. It’s two days until Christmas. Does everyone HAVE ENOUGH.  

HAVE ENOUGH. Really? These kids of ours are tripping over toys. Nobody really needs anything more.  

As a six year old or even a three year old, did I remember what present I got that entertained me for maybe 30 seconds, if that, until I ripped open the next?  

Not a chance. 

Things I do recall were decorating and assembling the parade of lights float my parents had when they owned the hardware store or dragging box after box of Christmas decorations or pre-lit trees from the warehouse, filling the aisles with cheer. The smell of hot cider and the Christmas music that played in the evenings on Main Street. 

The aroma of Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve and the buzz of family being together, telling stories and laughing. The excitement awaiting the cousins to arrive after they made the five-hour drive from South Dakota to spend the evening playing and preparing for our cousin Christmas program, and getting dressed in matching pajama pants that Grandma had made. Some years it was putting all our names in a hat, and seeing who was the lucky one to get the jean quilt Grandma had made. 

It was the food we ate. Mashed potatoes, meatballs, lutefisk, Grandma’s homemade pickles, lefse, and the trays and trays of goodies that my mom, and aunts had made.  

Or the late night Christmas Eve service, singing Silent Night with candles lit.  

There was one Christmas that a blizzard hit so hard, that we actually spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s with all the cousins, beds all spread out throughout the living room floor.  

Then there was the long-awaited anticipation of Christmas morning, wondering if Santa had come to our home.  

Christmas isn’t about the presents and HAVING ENOUGH. 

It’s about HAVING ENOUGH of everything else that makes it so memorable.  

Which has me rethinking our to-do list the next two days and adding in a few extras.  

Maybe it means taking our two kids and the older cousins to a sledding hill on Christmas Eve.   

Decorating Christmas cookies. 

Possibly even writing a Letter to Santa.  

Delivering homemade goodies to friends and neighbors.  

Taking a late-night drive around town, with cups of hot cocoa and Christmas jammies on, looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music, and coming back home to snuggle on the couch and watch a Christmas movie. 

Making sure to put out cookies and milk for Santa, and sprinkling reindeer food throughout the yard.  

Reading “The birth of Jesus” and “T’was the Night Before Christmas”.  

Everything that does not involve a present, but requires our presence.  

But also taking the time to appreciate the memories that we have already made this season. Decorating our family tree. Going outside and counting down from ten to reveal our Christmas lights. Having fun with our elf on a shelf and watching the kids’ excitement as they tip-toe, sometimes run around the house, discovering what mischief Elsa is up to next. The numerous Christmas books we have read. Or the gingerbread houses that we built with the cousins that had most of the candy eaten before it ever ended up on the house.  

In most recent years, it has been decorating a critter tree, with oranges, strings of popcorn, dried fruit and pinecones rolled in peanut butter and bird seed. Or thinking going back for seconds of homemade ravioli and meat sauce was a good idea, to later find out you are over-stuffed.  

Christmas is about the memories we all create. They don’t have to be extravagant or even planned out for that matter. Or involve hundreds of dollars spent on trips here or there. A friend on Facebook posted about not wishing her friends and family a Happy Holidays this year, because not everyone’s Holiday will be happy. But to instead, wish everyone a “gentle” holiday.  

So I am leaving you with that. Have a “gentle holiday”. Be gentle on your budget, be gentle on yourself, be gentle on not over-thinking the meaning of Christmas.

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