It’s the most wonderful time of the year! You are probably singing the lyrics of that song while you read those words! Most people would agree that this is a wonderful or even most wonderful time of the year. There are many reasons for this, the least of which relates to the presents we receive. Now the presents we give, that is another matter. It is better to give than receive, although there is nothing wrong with receiving.
But let’s put presents aside for a moment and talk about the other ways in which this time of the year is magical. In fact, presents are not even a part of some of the celebrations enjoyed at this time of the year, nor are Christmas trees, although they are in our home. Different cultures have different celebrations and that is to be honored. In fact, I am fine with saying “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” I do not agree that either greeting should be problematic, as long as we are all respectful of others’ rights to believe and celebrate those beliefs in whatever manner they choose. I even accept that others have a different opinion about this!
The beauty of the season is one way in which it is magical. While I usually do not look forward to the work involved in decorating, once it is done, the beauty brings me joy and I decide it is all worth it. I am always amazed at how bare our home looks when the decorations are taken down. I decorated more in years past, and miss some of that, but I have scaled down and am okay with what is missing. While I do miss some of the decorations, especially the Williamsburg style apple wreath that graced the front door, I do not miss the time it took for those.
While many people spend hours cooking and baking at this time of the year, I do not. I certainly enjoy the fruits of others’ labors and do cook some meals and bake some, but not to the extent that some other people do. I do not need the calories I would consume!
While I have not sent Christmas cards for many years, I usually do send New Year’s cards, although our list has gotten shorter through the years. We have only sent a Christmas letter once that I recall, although I do enjoy receiving them. We have never sent a Christmas card or New Year’s card with photos of us and/or our children or grandchildren, although I enjoy receiving those also and we may change that this year. I have kept many of the photo cards of family and friends and enjoy going down memory lane looking at those, amazed at how the children have grown into adults. This year I may send a photo of Mike and me with our granddaughters in our New Year’s cards, at least to family and friends that we do not see often, assuming I get the photos printed in time!
The real magic of the season to me is the time spent with family and friends. Like Thanksgiving, the best part of Christmas to me is the “being together” part. We attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, then have dinner, usually at home. Most years, the children and now grandchildren open one of their presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, watching the granddaughters get so excited opening their presents, having a leisurely breakfast, and preparing for our family Christmas dinner are some of our Christmas Day traditions.
Traditions. What are your traditions for this magical time of the year? How do you celebrate? It really doesn’t matter how we celebrate, but it is important that we do. After all, we have much to celebrate. Many of our celebrations are secular, and there is nothing wrong with that. But many of us celebrate this season for another reason, an even more important reason, a spiritual and religious one. Whatever your beliefs, make time for celebrating them.
In the midst of our blessings, let’s remember to give to those who give to us in service through the year, and to those who are less fortunate.
May your 2017 holiday be magical!