I don’t remember most of the Christmas gifts I received as a kid.
When I look back, of course there’s a few that stand out – a cabbage patch doll, a toy pottery wheel, the year the family got our first computer and spent the next three months straight playing Oregon Trail.
But really, so many of the presents that may have had my eyes sparkling on those Christmas mornings - have long been forgotten.
I do remember my sisters and I laying on our bellies at the foot of the tree, playing with the nativity set. I remember being cozied up in the family station wagon as we drove to look at lights. I remember sitting on my mom’s lap in the kitchen - the softness of her robe, the sound of Christmas music and the smell of cinnamon rolls. I remember that feeling at Christmas Eve mass when the church went dim, dark except for the little candles in everyone’s hands and the voices from every pew singing out ‘Silent Night.’ I remember the excitement of watching my grandparents pull into the driveway. I remember how we always picked out a tree bigger than the space in our living room – and laughing as my dad usually trimmed it from the top. I remember decorating it all together, big colorful lights and a mishmash of mostly children’s ornaments. I remember Christmas parties with packed houses and weaving through the adults to meet up with my friends. I remember… and most of it has nothing to do with what I might have ripped open Christmas morning.
I’m a mom now though. And I know all the pressure surrounding those gifts under the tree. I know the wish lists. I know how something meant to be happy, can cause stress. I know the time crunch to try to make all the magic happen. I know the budget constraints. I know the run around. I feel it. I feel every bit of the weight on a parent’s shoulders when it comes to gifts at Christmas.
But I’m reminded too…
The gifts I remember best, the ones I hold dearest and have treasured all the years, were never wrapped in paper.
It was the people. It was our faith. It was the traditions. It was the joy. It was the togetherness. It was the little moments covered in warmth, that ended up being the biggest.
It was the love.
And we’ve got that covered now too. We do.
So take a deep breath and know, THAT is what our kids are going to remember best.