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Christmas is my favorite time of the year. That extra goodness factor, the goodwill that emanates, and the traditions and beauty of this season lifts my spirit and my thoughts. 

My family members feel that I over-do it, by playing carols as soon as Thanksgiving day is done, and watching every Hallmark Channel Christmas show I can.  I just smile and tell ‘em to leave the channel changer alone… I’m breathing in the goodness of the season.

I must be getting old: The big deal of wrapping, baking, shopping, and preparing just don’t get to me like they used to. Most of it still gets done, but my ‘take’ on it has shifted down, considerably. 

Two reasons: The first because I’m focusing more on savoring the quiet, sweet focus on the Prince of Peace.  It’s good for me and everyone around me. If other things have to go, then they go.

The second: I was the butt of my family’s jokes for years because of my “traditional” seasonal mishap.  Without fail, there would be at least one gift I’d purchased, wrapped, and put away ‘where it wouldn’t be found’.  No kidding. It wasn’t to be found.

Someone wouldn’t receive a lovely gift from their mom because I’d hidden it too well. I imagine there was more to it than that….. With so much going on inside my mind, I wasn’t paying enough attention. Those ten other things that “had to be done” were running through my brain, as I found the “perfect” hiding spot. When it was time to place gifts under the tree, who knew where it was? Not me.

One of those years I’d gotten a beautiful velvet dress for my then-very-pregnant daughter before the birth of her first child. It was perfect for her to wear for a New Year’s Eve party. I found it about two years later.  

These years, I try to keep it simpler and be more in the moment. Not that I don’t do something now and again to cause the family to shake their heads and snicker. But it’s better than it used to be, the “check list” is smaller, and I’m less frazzled!

The other day I read this story about a dear grandfather who was preparing cards for his grandkids. It resonated with me.

Grandpa’s Christmas Story

Grandpa decided that shopping for Christmas presents had become too difficult.  All his grandchildren had everything they needed, so he decided to send them each a check.

On each card he wrote:   ‘Merry Christmas, Grandpa’    P.S. ‘Buy your own present!’

When Christmas day came and the family festivities were in full swing, Grandpa thought that his grandchildren were just slightly distant.  It preyed on his mind into the New Year.  Then one day he was sorting out his study. Under a pile of magazines he found a little pile of checks – one made out for each of his grandchildren.  He had completely forgotten to put them in with the Christmas cards!

Okay—I have to admit, this made me feel better about my goofs! Ha!  I figure there may be a lot of us who might want to take a hint from Santa and, when we make our lists, be sure to check them twice…but make them shorter and less demanding.

But here’s the real issue: If we forget the checks, lose the present, the dinner burns, or Jack Frost wreaks havoc and we can’t travel to visit family as we’d like, we’ll get over it.

The real “reason for the season” doesn’t fall apart because we didn’t have that party, buy all we wanted, or forgot to put the checks in the cards.  We know this, Everyone of us. As I’m reminding myself this season, I figured I’d remind you, as well. 

To sit and enjoy a good [in the sweetest sense of the word] Christmas show, to listen to carols that celebrate the Savior’s birth, to read the scriptures over and over, offering prayers of gratitude for Him and His mission… these are staples that don’t cause overload, don’t add hassle, and just make things nicer.  It gives more time to help the neighbor, give a call, or send a note to a friend who could use the boost. It’s the Christ spirit.

Maybe I only need to make sure that I’m “in order.”  Everything else will work out.
Merry Christmas, everyone!