The Holidays are here and this is my magical time of the year. I usually start decorating on Thanksgiving weekend and I keep going right until we nestle in for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. Growing up, my mother made Christmas an adventure. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was little, but her attention and involvement was so over the top. We made popcorn garland, paper chains, cookies, cards, went caroling, etc. She really made the season magical and I have tried to do the same with my kids.
Now I do understand that this is a very tough time for many people. I even hold back a little with my exuberance in public so as to not offend anyone. I know this season is a double-edged sword for many and it triggers bad memories as equally as it brings good ones for so many. The holidays can be like a bad taste in your mouth. It lingers with a dull bitterness.
When I left my husband it was about 2 weeks before Christmas. I had 2 little boys and I walked away from everything I had. My house had been decorated and I had all the shopping done. I left it all, career, home, clothes, friends, and a lifetime of christmas decorations….everything. I am sure that my ex husband thinks he won some kind of award for scarring my favorite season forever. He knew that I believed a magical Christmas was my children’s birthright; that it was my most treasured of times and memories. He took pleasure in telling my 5-year-old that Santa wasn’t real just to hurt me. He tried in every way to destroy it for me. Just writing about it hurts me to this day.
I however am stronger than his attempt to ruin this season. I will admit that Christmas that I left was bleak. I was numb, terrified, and not very merry to say the least. I remember the following year starting to feel dread about the approaching holiday. I actually gave him power for a week or so. Then, I decided to take it back. How could he take my most precious memories away? He didn’t have that power unless I gave it to him.
I decided to play offense for Christmas. I started making paper chains, cookies, popcorn garland, and play the Christmas tunes. I broke out every television special like Rudolph, Frosty, and the Little Drummer Boy. I went on an all out reconnaissance for Christmas. I made Christmas ornaments for our tree and decorated our little cottage till it was nothing short of a magical winter wonderland. I didn’t have much money, but it is amazing what you can do with paper, scissors, glitter and glue! I gave my children what I remembered from my childhood….magical memories.
That was my favorite Christmas as an adult…a mother. I had left everything only to gain it all back. I made a decision to fight for my happy. I learned a lot that Christmas about fighting for what you love. That Christmas doesn’t have a price tag; if you try to put one on it then it loses it magic. You can’t buy Christmas because it isn’t for sale. You have to work for the magic.
This Christmas my children and I are without a home as a result of Mother Nature. She sent her sons Heat Miser and Snow Miser out and they collided over my home. (They really are little bastards, but I still can’t wait to see them on TV this year). I lost many of my cherished decorations in the flood that accompanied Hurricane Sandy’s high tides and I started to feel like I did that Christmas that I walked away from it all a few years back.
I admit I was feeling a bit melancholy about the season recently. I am grateful beyond a doubt that I am not in a shelter and that I have temporary place to stay that is comfy and warm. However, I was really feeling like I was going to miss the season because I don’t have a home to make magical this year.
Then, I remembered that Christmas doesn’t come in a box;Cindy Lou Hoo was so right on! I am getting more and more excited as I type this. I want to go wake my kids up and say, “Christmas is here!”. I want to crank the tunes, start baking cookies, and make paper chains. I am going to make it happen. I am going to keep the Christmas magic alive. I can do this for my kids…for me. I can give them happy memories after all it only takes my effort and enthusiasm.
Happiness is a choice. I really believe that. I also believe that for me, Christmas is a choice. The memories of my childhood at Christmas are my finest and I won’t settle for less for my kids. Again, it isn’t about what is under the tree…it never was. It is about the magic; and the condensation on the cold windows when the cookies are baking and the snow is falling.
I know that this is a tough time for many and I really can appreciate that. I can see how easily it can be…I do understand. If I didn’t have such magical childhood memories I might not fight so hard, but I do to keep the magic alive. Maybe if you have less than happy memories you can try to find something that you can create or do for you…a new tradition so that you can claim your part of the season rather than dread it; maybe not.
I had an epiphany tonight and I am really grateful for that. I am NOT going to give into the despair of less than perfect circumstances and miss the magic of this season. I herby declare that, “Christmas is on!”. Santa still comes here and I have cookies to bake and magic to make. I am so grateful that we are not in a shelter this year, but if we were…we would still find the magic because it is there if you are willing to look for it. Ella xo
Ps. My 5-year-old didn’t believe his father when he told him that there was no Santa; even though he made a convincing try. My son chose to BELIEVE, and Santa continued to come to him for about 5 more years because he chose to hold on to the magic!
* Thank you A Room with a View on Facebook for the amazing photo’s.