This is cross-posted from another blog. I wrote this entry last year around this time, but I think it's still a good one, so I'm reposting it here.
I was thinking the other day about how Christmas has changed for me over the years. I remember the days when I was a kid and would be up all night on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep because I was so excited about presents the next day. I have pictures of some of my first Christmases and I remember those toys. They were awesome.
Then came high school age and the wonder never really went away, but I was finally able to start buying presents for my family and I learned the joy that giving could bring. Still wasn't able to sleep.
Then came college and funds got tighter. Christmas was one of those holidays that I go from school and one of the few times during the year that I went home. Sleeping was no longer a problem. My siblings had to get me up on Christmas morning.
After college, Christmas began to lose some of its luster. The grind of everyday life really wears a person out. I still went home for Christmas, bought presents and everything, but it just wasn't the same. Maybe the modern world makes us jaded. The joy of the season lost in the rush and the normal day-to-day that preceeds Christmas itself. Or maybe it's just the abject wrongness of the world that kills the ability to feel joy. I'm not sure I know where to lay the blame. Maybe it resides with me personally.
After my daughter went to bed last night, my wife and I pulled out our pitiful fake tree and set it up. The balls that I bought when I bought the tree and the ornaments that she and I purchased last year were placed upon the tree and joining them was a cat ballerina with "2006" on it that we bought for our daughter's first Christmas. Once everything was in place, we plugged the tree lights up, set the to blink, turned off the room lights and TV and sat in the dark watching the lights blink. They cast colors on the wall, an alternating glow of red, green, and yellow, reminding me of everything that had been good about Christmas "once upon a time." And it was then that some thoughts that I had been having over the past week or so cemented for me. Here is what Christmas was about for me. My wife, my little girl, my family both immediate and extended, both in-laws and out-laws. As long as they're happy and have what they need, then I have what I need. It really is just as simple as that.
So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, find someone you love, tell them you love them and give them a hug. Whether you believe in the holiday's namesake or you believe it's just a festive time, the ones we love are still important. Make sure they know they're important to you.