When you’re 6, Christmas can’t come soon enough. Assembling your wish list begins in summer, if not sooner, and by first snowfall, the season has already begun. The magic and wonder doesn’t wait for a date on the calendar, even if Turkey Day has yet be celebrated.
I was like that once. I bet you were, too. When I was a kid, we couldn’t pick out our Christmas tree until the middle of December, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating early. The pumpkins, the turkey, and the snow all led up to that magical night when I was too excited to sleep.
Each year Grandma gave me and my sister a stuffed animal that made noise. We had a Santa Claus, Rudolph, teddy bears and other incredibly loud toys to annoy our parents. I looked forward to these gifts almost as much as our stockings on Christmas morning.
I don’t anymore. I’m not sure when that magic disappeared. Maybe I just grew up? But I think that’s a bad excuse. Somewhere along the way, Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday and all the commercialism of Christmas frustrated me. I refused to get excited for any ho, ho, ho until the Thanksgiving leftovers were consumed. I didn’t give myself permission to start celebrating. I didn’t expect you too, either.
But something is happening this year. Maybe it’s the early snowfall. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in our nearly 10 years of marriage, neither my husband nor I have to work during the holidays. Or maybe there isn’t a reason at all. Maybe magic has simply found its way back to my heart.
When I saw the first holiday commercial on Halloween night, I got excited. And then it snowed and my girls got excited and now, the only Christmas decoration that still needs to make its debut in our home, is the real tree that we’ll buy from the parking lot down the street.
And we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving. I’m telling people this is all for my girls.
“They are 6 and 4 now,” I’ll mention. “That is the perfect age to experience the wonder of the season. I’ve let them put up a few decorations each night,” I’ll add.
And they love it. But the truth is, after the girls tire of looking at old boxes and paper ornaments, I’m still reminiscing; finding old treasures and knickknacks from a Christmas past. I pulled out the stuffed Santa my grandma gave me in ’89, but instead of shoving him into a corner, I actually found batteries to make the Santa sing. My girls like playing with him. I like watching them enjoy a toy that means so much to me, although Santa could tone it down a bit. His decibel level puts a strain on my ears and my sanity.
I’ve been playing the classic holiday tunes and even bought a few essential items to make cookies. I’m gathering ideas for new decorations throughout the house, too. And the only sign of fall left in our entire home is a hand colored turkey from my 4 year old and the single silver pumpkin he rests on.
And I think that’s OK. For the first time in a long while, I’m OK with new seasons. I’m embracing the change and enjoying what lies ahead instead of holding on.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to have found the magic the season brings. I’m thankful for the two little girls in my life who helped me remember what it’s like to be 6 at Christmas.
Go ahead. Get excited again. You have my permission.