Christmas is right around the corner. I may be more excited than my children (if that’s even possible). Lately I’m seeing a lot of well meaning messages to simplify this holiday season. That sounds lovely. But here’s the thing. My best Christmas memories aren’t simple. They’re not clean. They’re not quiet. They’re big, messy, and loud. They’re jam-packed full of twinkling lights, baking, and people. I love those memories. That’s what I want my Christmas to look like.
I like shopping for gifts for the people I love.
I like making a giant mess of ribbon and wrapping paper in my guestroom. It’s like a war zone in there right now. No joke. That’s what doors are for. I keep that one closed.
I like teaching my kids to give money to the bell ringers from the Salvation Army.
I like the endless loop of Christmas movies. I swear my kids have watched Frosty the Snowman 101 times already and it’s only mid-December.
I like a good flour explosion in the kitchen that can only result from an epic cookie bake-off.
I like the Christmas music piped into every store. (Except that Christmas Shoes song. Surely nobody likes that one.)
I like the excuse to have hot chocolate and Bailey’s every night after the kids go to bed.
I like doing our advent calendar in the evenings.
I like the smell of pine even when it means there are pine needles scattered on the floor.
I like seeing the ornaments we’ve had for years on our tree. They’re mismatched and sentimental. So many have chipped paint. So many have been glued back together. They’re perfect.
I like protecting the most delicate ones from my toddler’s curious hands. And failing.
I like helping my eldest write his wish list.
I like balancing precariously on a ladder in the cold to hang Christmas lights on the outside of our house. I appreciate every neighbor who does the same.
I like the Christmas programs and parties at school and church.
I like getting together with those we love to fry a big turkey and laugh at ourselves.
I like trying not to cry during the candlelight Christmas Eve service. And failing.
I like the cold weather, the mittens that are always missing when we need them, and the thick woolly socks that keep our feet toasty at night.
I like the tradition. I like the smiles that are more freely given. I like feeling like my children are experiencing a Christmas much like the kind my parents gave to me.
I won’t get everything done that I’d like to get done. The odds of me sending Christmas cards out this year are slim to none. That ship has sailed and I’m not losing sleep over it. Hot chocolate with Baileys helps.
You see, my life isn’t peaceful or picture perfect. Not ever. Not at any time of year. It’s a little wild. It’s unorganized. It’s fun.
Sometimes Usually it’s exhausting. Why would this time of year be any different? In fact it’s just going to be wilder and more unorganized. I’m okay with that. So while I appreciate the encouragement to simplify, I choose to embrace every messy minute instead.
My kids are small and our life is big. That’s the season of life we’re in so this holiday season will reflect that. I wouldn’t have it any other way.