I remember when I was little and could hardly sleep on the night of Christmas Eve. I’d lay in my bed, wide-eyed with the covers clutched in my hands and pulled close to my cheek waiting to hear the faintest sound of hooves, footsteps, or jingle bells, but never brave enough to sneak out of my room to peek. I didn’t want Santa to skip our house because he saw me peering out the window in my living room, so I stayed alert in my bedroom watching the NORAD Santa Tracker on TV instead.
The days leading up to Christmas Eve were filled with just as much whimsy and cheer. Flour flew in the kitchen when I turned on the mixer too early while helping my mom make tasty Holiday Nuggets. Coated with powdered sugar and formed into perfectly imperfect spheres, these were the cookies that Santa always devoured after sprinkling magic dust on himself and the gifts to slip under our door. (There was no fireplace at my house.) I would watch Timmy’s Gift and follow the little angel, Timmy, on his journey to bring the Prince of Peace a crown on his birthday – a story with an ending that teaches every child to be kind and selfless and reveals the true meaning of Christmas.
The way these memories make me feel are greater than anything that can be bought. In my room now, I have a corner filled with shopping bags of gifts that are waiting to be wrapped. But, the magic isn’t there. It isn’t in getting a new laptop or doll house. It’s in life that surrounds the season: the laughter from trying to dust the flour out of my hair and off of my apron, the excitement in discovering that the cookies had been eaten and milk had been drank. Time. It all comes down to spending and appreciating time with those close to you.
40 hours out of every week are used for working, but there’s another 128 hours you can use to build bonds and make memories that last a lifetime. Think back and remember your favorite Christmas memory. Was it decorating the tree or sipping homemade hot cocoa in your pajamas? Chances are it won’t be centered around opening a present, but rather the magic the season brings.