One of my fondest childhood memories of the holiday season was watching Christmas specials on TV with my family. Year after year, we would snuggle into warm pajamas and cuddle up with blankets to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, just to name a few. This was a family holiday tradition I later tried to carry on with my own children; however, I guess those shows from the 1960's seemed a bit dated to kids 20+ years later.
Another popular holiday show, which has never been one of my favorites, is the Dr. Seuss cartoon "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." I never really liked that one, although I'm not exactly sure why. But, I recently ran across a slightly weathered copy of the book on the shelves of a discount store and flipping through, fell upon the page that said something like this....
“It came without ribbons, it came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house. The tree is decorated, a wreath is hung on the door, presents are beginning to pile up underneath the tree, holiday invitations are arriving in my Inbox on a daily basis, and new recipes for hors d'oeuvres and sweets have been clipped and stored for easy reference. But, for some reason, looking like Christmas doesn't mean it's beginning to feel like Christmas. I've encountered some pretty grouchy, hurried, harried, frazzled shoppers and store clerks in the last week or so and it's made me think that Christmas would be much more meaningful and authentic if we would just slow down long enough to remember the real reason for this season. Can it be that by trying to do too much, too perfectly, we make it almost impossible to actually enjoy what this season truly represents?
I have a choice. I can be a frazzled, frustrated, frantic wreck or I can choose a more fulfilled, peaceful, calm, joyous, and contented attitude. The true gifts of Christmas have nothing to do with standing in line with a cartful of merchandise at a retail store. I know for certain that if I don't have Christmas in my heart, I will never find it under a tree.