I wasn’t really looking forward to Christmas this year. I’m not sure why, but it may have been that I didn’t feel prepared. Thanksgiving was late and I was sick a lot in early December. Or it may have been the civil unrest St. Louis has been experiencing lately. But for whatever reason, I just wasn’t looking forward to Christmas as much as I usually do.
As an adult, I know I can never get as excited for Christmas as I did when I was a child. Back then, Christmas was the most exciting day of the year, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive. Then I had my own kids, and through them, I was able to relive some of the old joy: baking cookies, decorating the tree, singing “Away in the Manger” at church, and waiting for Santa’s big visit is so much fun with small children.
But now my son and daughter are grown up and in serious relationships, and Christmas has become a bit more complicated. We juggle schedules to accommodate everyone’s family, buy grown-up presents instead of toys (and those presents are often some piece of technology that I can’t operate or even identify,) and I realize there’s no longer any need for me to make my usual eight different kinds of Christmas cookies. Maybe I thought things had changed a little too much for Christmas to be really fun anymore.
But it was fun. In fact, Christmas this year was great! We invited my mom over to help decorate our tree, and enjoyed that so much it will probably be a new tradition. And since I no longer have to bake all those cookies for our kids’ various activities, I was free to make just a few batches of the cookies I like best. Best of all, I didn’t have to set foot in a crowded toy store or worry about anyone being sold out of the one toy my child desperately wanted this year, which made Christmas shopping pretty darned easy.
Even the schedule juggling worked out. We were lucky enough to be together with our kids and their significant others for part of both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. And those times when they were with other families turned out to be the perfect time for my husband and I to have some much-appreciated down time: we walked the dogs, took naps and watched “The Christmas Story” on TV for the umpteenth time. It’s amazing how relaxing Christmas can be when you’re able to take a little break from it now and then.
Christmas is definitely different now that I’m an adult, and my son and daughter are also adults. But different doesn’t mean worse. On the contrary, I’ve discovered that a “middle-aged Christmas” can be very merry indeed!