It came without packages, boxes or bags.
Last Christmas I was 8 months pregnant, Jack was 2 ½ and Christmas was pure chaos. I was a swollen, miserable, waddling pregnant lady, and Jack was an over-stimulated, overwhelmed toddler which did not combine well. My son had so many gifts that he stopped looking at them. He ripped open each one in a flurry, threw it aside, and then “next!”, on to another. When he started opening other peoples’ gifts and was reprimanded, he burst into tears. It was all just too much for him.
This year, with the addition of a new little family member in the mix, had the potential to be even more chaotic. So I made a concerted effort to have a (relatively) low-key holiday. I made some changes: Christmas Eve was going to be a calm, relaxing evening with just the immediate family. Both boys went to bed at a normal time. Santa filled the boys’ stockings and left each of them just a couple of presents. We opened gifts s l o w l y. Then family came over and we opened more presents – continually stressing the fact that everyone got a turn to open presents. Not just Jack. Although we had to remind him frequently, he complied. There was no loss of control; no tears.
And then came the best gift of all – the weather. Mother Nature had given my boys a beautiful 60 degree sunny day and we went outside and played! We didn’t even bring out any new toys – we just ran around, chased each other and laughed. My favorite memory of this beautiful Christmas day was Jack at the top of his slide, I was down at the bottom, looking up at him. He was beaming, sun behind him, looking absolutely angelic. He looked down at me and announced “We’re having so much fun!” Yes. We were having so much fun. Fun without things. Just fun with each other.
So, although there were ribbons and tags, the most memorable moments of this Christmas day were of the TIME we spent as a family. Together. Talking. Laughing. Hugging and Kissing.
Parenting is a continuous learning experience and this Christmas has been just one more – sometimes less really is more. Lesson learned.
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”