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As I sit here writing my final column for 2012, winter has officially begun (and not just on the calendar). The wind is gusting to 50 mph and there is a wind chill of about 28-degrees. It feels like Christmas!
Well, it feels like winter, anyway!
In fact, we are just “three sleeps” from Christmas as I put “pen to paper” for this column.
The past couple of weeks have been blur of work, kid activities and holiday preparations. Mixed in has been a round of a nasty virus that hit both Palmer and me. It was worse than a cold but not quite the flu. It has not been fun. But it’s a Christmas tradition. Someone in the family is always sick on Christmas – often it’s me.
I’ve never been one to go crazy with the madness that the holiday season becomes. In fact, because we are tortured, inundated with holiday television ads from Halloween on, I tend to go the other way and downplay the season a bit. I refuse to get caught up in the retail madness that comes for so many at this time of year as they overspend for family and friends.
Don’t let the fact that I downplay things a bit make you think I don’t like this time of year. I LOVE Christmas! I always have. And I seem to have raised two boys who love the season, as well – and for the RIGHT reasons!
However, Palmer has a tendency to start feeling a bit overwhelmed and thinking there is so much to do and not enough time to do it – he buys in to the hype a bit. He’s not sure what he should be doing exactly, just that there isn’t enough time to do it. And his talking and questioning sometimes makes me feel a little twinge of panic.
If he asks me one more time if I’m ready for the holidays, I don’t know what I’m going to do. When he asked me that the other day – I said “It IS the holidays.”
I love that the boys share my love for this season. I love that they want to bake cookies and make appetizers for the family dinner. I love that they are as interested in what we’re going to take to the family dinner as I am, that they want to wrap presents and talk about what we should give for our family gift exchange. Oh – and I don’t want to leave Scot out of this mix, either, because he gets right in there with the rest of us.
Neither of my boys has a Christmas wish-list a mile long, and that makes me proud. Especially when I think about how I would wait for the Sears catalog to come (back when it was mailed to us and was HUNDREDS of pages long). I would take that catalog and a piece of paper and go page by page, writing down everything I wanted (or thought I wanted). I never got even a fraction of what I asked for, but I was never disappointed.
Palmer’s list typically has 5 to 6 things on it. And while I know in his heart he wants a laptop or an iPad, he has never put it in writing. One of these days we’ll be able to swing something like that for him. Who am I kidding – he’s going to want a car, first! UGH! There is usually music on Palmer’s list and there is ALWAYS magic on the list. Our son is a magician, among his other talents. And as he gets ready to turn 16, I was happy to see magic return to the list this year, instead of being packed away with some of his other childhood hobbies. He has a real talent, and can put on a show!
When it comes to getting gifts for Brannon – everything is a surprise, because he doesn’t ask for anything – EVER. There is no Christmas wish-list for him at all. I do not know of any child of any age, who when pressed, doesn’t come up with something that they would like. Not Brannon. When pressed, he will say “nothing.” Brannon’s perspective is that it isn’t appropriate to ask for things – it makes him feel greedy.
There is not a greedy or selfish bone in either of their bodies.
I don’t kid myself that they are totally selfless – they are kids after all.
But as we get ready to bake some cookies and wrap the last of the gifts, their comments are focused on how exciting it will be on Christmas … to see their granny, their aunts and their cousins, to sit and laugh at the same old stories and to be teased by their uncle, to have a cup of coffee and sit around the table as a family after dinner on Christmas Day and wonder whether we’ll get the snow that’s forecast.
Who needs a catalog? I have my family. I have my sisters and brother-in-law, my nieces and nephews and a Mom who is my best friend. I have a husband who always puts his family first and two sons who are smart, talented and caring.
I love and am loved in return.
That is the perfect gift - and the one I hope for every year.
I’m never disappointed.