The Magic. Christmas then, Christmas Now
I’m sure everyone can relate to this a little, but Christmas as a kid for me was always pure magic. We always did the same thing, which gave me comfort and got me excited for the holidays and our plans we had as a family. It all started with xmas eve, we always went to my great grandparents house with all my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc. We always had Mexican food, and my great grandma Judy made her famous enchiladas! She was Puerto Rican, and knowing we were having food that she had as a little girl, always made me feel closer to her. It brought that magic aspect to xmas eve night for me. We ate, opened gifts, always did a white elephant exchange…which was always fun to see the sometimes ridiculous silly gifts people got, played games, hung out all together, it was everything to me. Their home was always warm and cozy, I felt safe, it was my favorite place to be during xmas time. After we left my grandparents our family had the tradition of driving around looking at xmas lights. All cozied up in the car, jammies on, blankies, sometimes hot cocoa. Driving by each house slowly, picking out which house was our favorite. I loved it. Knowing when we got home it was straight to bed so santa could come and we’d wake up to presents and stockings full.
Christmas day was always just our family. Which I liked, my sisters and I would be the ones that normally passed out gifts and always wanted to help my parents open their gifts up…of course, what little kid doesn’t. We opened gifts, normally trying on any clothes or shoes we got right away, which I was a huge fan of. We had that morning to ourselves, and sometimes would play outside in new snow gear if it was nice enough. To me, it was always the perfect morning, and knowing we’d soon head up to my grandparents for another whole xmas made me feel even more excited! We would have yet another xmas and see more family, to create more magical moments and memories I have kept close to my heart since then. The smells of Christmas, the food, the xmas trees being decorated, my mom making it seem like Santa had walked across our living room carpet in his snowy boots and that he gave the carrots to Rudolph we left. Thinking back on it now, I still feel the same warmth and excitement I got. It still feels magical to me, and the little things we did I think about most, those are the memories that stick out to me. Nothing else matters, the joy in my heart was too much to overcome….it was my favorite time of year no doubt.
As I got older and our family grew and things changed, new traditions and memories were made. Our annual xmas eve with family was now hosted by my favorite uncle Jeremiah and we would drink xmas flavored beers, still eat our enchiladas to honor my great gma, and dance the night away to xmas music and we’d always throw in a Whitney Houston song. It was still my favorite time of year, and I still felt that same magic in my heart, especially now that I have my own kids, it’s almost like it doubled in that magic feeling. It means a whole new thing to me, yet I still feel like that same little kid, joking with my sisters, going to look at xmas lights, tucking in my daughter. Telling her to get to sleep so Santa can stop at our house. It’s a new kind of magic, and this one feels way better than I thought it would. Because you always think of when you grow up, and the traditions you will make with your family and kids, what things you will change and what things you will keep the same. It excites you, but the feeling when you finally get there…man, it’s indescribable. I feel like i’m living a dream sometimes, like how in the heck did I get to this point so fast?! How blessed I feel to be in a home with my family where we get to make those traditions our own. It’s surreal. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more.
The things that excite me during the holidays, wrapping presents I really enjoy doing! Writing “from Santa” on the presents makes my heart so happy and excited for my littles! Just knowing they are going to feel that same magic of knowing their xmas letters were answered. It’s those little things for me. Stocking their stockings with little gifts and candies from Santa, when the night before we left them empty by the tree for Santa to fill, the look on my daughters face with a full stocking and the surprise of that for her…it’s those moments. Her face glowing, her happiness, her excitement, it’s the reason we do anything. To have moments like that where we get to see her experience something for the first time. Those are those magical moments, the ones we should hold onto. Because without them, what is life? Without slowing life down and taking in those moments, where would we be? To me that’s one thing as a parent I want to always instill and keep alive in my kids. That magic feeling, that it’s not about the gift, how many gifts you got, how big the tree is, if the stocking was hung by a fireplace or not. It’s about the feeling of magic and love you feel when you point out xmas lights on a house and it take your breath away, or you see that Santa ate all the cookies you left him, the enchiladas that taste like gmas on xmas eve, helping mom and dad open up their gifts and being excited for them, its all these little moments that we forget along the way. As Christmas traditions come and go and new ones are made i have never forgotten what Christmas is truly about. Love. God is love. We are love, we need to love on each other. Be that love for someone, be that friend, be that hand to hold, hug to give, ear to listen. It’s the gift of god’s love that we get to feel and hold tight to, to give to our children. My heart feels full this year, despite the year we have all had. The losses, the heartache, the struggles and stress. It’s easy to get in a pattern where we just complain and get in our own heads about the bad. But it is so much more freeing and fulfilling to take the time to be thankful for things that we’ve been blessed with, and things we have overcome. I’m blessed to have my family, to have my friends and to still feel that magic and get to see it through my kids eyes now.