Tis the Season to Be Jolly

…Or something like that.

This year for my family, it’s a bit different. My mom is recovering from surgery, so we decided to make this a very low-key holiday. None of us felt up to the task of hauling our huge tree up from the basement, decorating it, and then taking it down at the end of the year. So we have a very small tree that my husband bought. We decorated it and put it in the kitchen, where the cat can’t get at it (that’s one thing I won’t miss this year — keeping the cat away from the tree). And while I will sort of miss Mom’s  beautiful tree, I will not miss the stress in getting it up and decorated.

Because technically, Christmas is not about the tree. The tree is important, yes, but it’s not everything. The most important thing to me is family. That’s right. We have traditions — Christmas Eve at my in-laws, unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, etc. — and those are the things that comfort me and make me feel good. I may not be employed full time yet, but that doesn’t even hit my radar (well, we did scale back on gifts a bit to compensate) because Christmas is not about grandiose gift giving gestures or fancy things. It’s about being with the people you love most in the world, the people that are, in essence, your world.


My mother-in-law (and now, mother) has a thing on her wall from my sister one year: “The best things in life aren’t things. ”

So true. Beyond the gifts, beyond the food and desserts, there’s love there. Everywhere you look. It’s in your mother’s eyes on Christmas morning. It’s in your spouse’s heart when he selected the perfect gift for you, the one that made you cry. It’s in the food lovingly made from an old family recipe, that you look forward to every single year. It’s the laughter and tears and warmth. It’s hot chocolate and sitting by the fireplace and feeling like there’s no other place you’d rather be.

There’s my mom who is recovering from surgery and isn’t quite a hundred percent yet, so us kids will gladly pick up her slack because she usually handles most of the Christmas prep herself. It’s how we are showing our love, by being there for her right now. And, as I’ve said a few times already, it’s one year without our big tree. There will be others.

What I need is here already.

My family, my home, all the love.

And how could I not be in the spirit with such blessings around me?

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope you have a wonderful, joyous, fun-filled holiday season. And always remember what’s most important: the love.


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