Holy cow, it’s Christmas Eve and the first day of Hannukah in one! I’m not sure I thought it would ever get here. But it is and I’m thrilled.
In my family, Christmas Eve is essentially Christmas. We used to celebrate with my extended family on Christmas Eve night and then follow it with the traditional wake-up early and open presents on Christmas morning. However, even then things weren’t ideal, because their Dad (understandably) wanted his Christmas time with them to start as soon as possible, so he would pick them up at noon and we would have to rush through present time. During those years, for me, Christmas was very much a routine of hurry, hurry, hurry, followed by an afternoon of “What just happened?”
I’m thankful that we’ve evolved into a much simpler routine. We still have the extended family dinner on Christmas Eve because that is a joyful time I couldn’t give up, but then my kids stay after and we open all the presents and have some all too rare these days time as a family. It’s a win for us all: we’re more relaxed and mellow on Christmas Eve for some reason, I don’t have to get up at 2:00am to fill the stockings, and Christmas morning is a relaxed time when the kids can leisurely get ready to go their dad’s and I can read the thick morning paper and contemplate the After Christmas sales and wonder just how long is too long to stay in your pajamas. (Answer: more than 48 hours.)
But before all this peacefulness comes “the meal,” which I love cooking, but which often requires me to get up at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve so I can start cooking to be ready to sit down to dinner at 8:00 a.m. I actually love – truly love – the cooking, but I can still get a bit stressed if things aren’t going smoothly.
So, tonight, when we sit down for our meal, I’m going to make sure that I take a moment and look around the table and notice that I’m surrounded by the people I love most in this world. And I’m going to say “Thank you” and savor just how lucky I am that I get the gift of being with the people I love so much at Christmas.
I have no idea, of course, what your day is going to be like, but I bet you’ll have a moment like that too. Maybe when your teenage daughter crawls into bed with you in the morning for a “let’s don’t speak of this again” cuddle session. Or when your son stands up at the end of a meal and picks up his plate and his grandmother’s plate and takes them to the sink.
When that happens, don’t just notice it. Savor it. Carve it into your heart. Because it’s for those moments we’ve been working our asses off this entire month.
This is part of my 31 Days of Holiday Self-Care Challenge. To see all the posts in this series, visit here.