I recently read a quote that said "Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling." This statement meant more this year than ever, because it's simple and true. For years, I've chased that "Rockwell Christmas" vibe when it comes to the holidays. Thinking that every little detail must be perfect, with a fire crackling, a impeccably decorated tree and wearing an outfit that was photo worthy on a "good hair" day. It was supposed to be a day filled with laughter, cheer and idyllic memories. But something changed this year. As we ate a Christmas Eve dinner of pot pie, salad and wild rice with squash. We laughed. We watched Elf and finished up last minute wrapping. My sister had both the kids in bed with her, so Michael and I played Santa, filling their stockings and writing a note from the big guy himself, laughing as the "reindeer" [Herman (English Bulldog) and Stella (Catahoula mix)} chomped on the carrots.
I awoke the next morning to a sweet voice saying "Aunt Hilary, Santa came! Come see!" I was taken back to my childhood and remembered that excitement I felt as a child when I woke up Christmas morning to a mountain of gifts and my parents smiling bleary eyes. We sipped coffee, while wearing our matching Ravens pajamas (thank you Mom!), with messy hair and teeth that hadn't been brushed. It wasn't about the gifts or the food, but the realization that the feeling of joy came from being in the moment, enjoying each and every moment and being surrounded by the ones I love. That epitomizes Christmas, not the idea that it has to be an extraordinary day.
After opening gifts and having brunch, we watched "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." The movie closes with Clark Griswold saying "I did it," a reference to the Christmas that he hosted for the first time, which ultimately destroys his family's home. But what a statement. With a multitude of catastrophes including: broken windows, two different Christmas trees, a less than ideal meal (a dried out turkey and cat food in the jello mold) a visit from the SWAT team, an explosion or two, a loose squirrel and a dead cat, everyone was happy. It's not about obtaining a perfectly scripted holiday, but is about making the most of every moment. I'm grateful for friends, family, love and health. I'm grateful for feeling the spirit of Christmas. From our family to yours, whether you were together or apart on the holiday, I hope you enjoyed each and every moment of the day.