I've been thinking about taking the leap and putting this blog out there for a while now, but had never quite had the kick in the butt to do it. That kick took on a few different forms this week (supportive and bossy insistent friends are the best!), but a little Christmas eve-eve chaos actually gave me the perfect jumping off point.
I've come to the very adult conclusion that Christmas can be magical and wonderful (cue the Bing Crosby), but is also incredibly hard. And I don't just mean if you have a family member serving overseas, or are staring down first-Christmas-after grief, or are battling through an illness, though people in all of those circumstances are the ones that make us pause and say a little extra prayer to the Big Guy, and they certainly make my trials seem trivial.
What I've been thinking about this holiday season is just the generic pulling this magic off is hard work kind of struggle. My boyfriend and I are having to navigate how to split/share family time for the first time this holiday season, money is tight and only gets tighter because our hearts our big and Amazon Prime exists, and we both have family members dealing with the stress of illnesses. Traditions are in flux, and we're both feeling the pressure of making "our first Christmas" one that is memorable for all the right reasons. Pondering all of this brought me to two important conclusions:
- Holy cow my parents (and so many others) are even more amazing than I previously thought for pulling it together year after year.
- If there are little things you can put a smidgen more effort into to make Christmas a little more magical for someone else, do it.
For me, that extra effort comes in the form of gift wrapping.
Every year, or at least the last few, I've set aside some December hours to haul out all the gift wrapping supplies, turn on Meet Me in St. Louis, and take the time to wrap gifts with a little extra pizzazz. I usually end up with a few paper cuts and hot glue burns (hot glue = hot. I forget every time). But later, when I give that gift to someone I love, there's always a little extra joy because it's beautiful. And maybe the gift is a picture frame or a gift card instead of Xbox One or shiny new Hunter Boots, but the recipient knows I took the time to give them a gift that I spent time on. And isn't that what giving should be all about?
And just so you can experience a few joyful, emotional Christmas tears right along with me, here's the part in Meet Me in St. Louis where I put down the tape dispenser and weep right along with Judy Garland.