P is at the age where the magic of Christmas is now making sense. We got to decorate the tree entirely this year. Last year we had to start the ornaments 2' up from the bottom branch because she kept taking them off. She is being patient with her gifts and knows she has to wait to open them. However, because her birthday was not too long ago she calls all presents "happy birthdays".
We all have our own memories of Christmas. Mine involve mid-night Mass, few gifts and always playing one of the biggest junior tennis tournaments in the world, the Orange Bowl. Tennis took over making gingerbread houses or decorating with the lights or anything else about the holiday.
It recently dawned on me that P's Christmas memories are in our hands. We are about to start sculpting how she will feel about the holidays for the rest of her life. Lets face it, it's our childhood memories that set the tone for this time of the year. With this in mind I'm making a list of what I want Christmas to mean to P and our future children.
I want Christmas to have a feel of warmth and family. I want us to have special, traditional meals and to bake cookies and gingerbread houses. I want them to remember a home decorated with lights and great cheer. I want them to know the reason for our season as Christians but I want them to know it's only one of a few interpretations for why we all celebrate. I want them to know its a time to give and share. I want them to get gifts but I do not want to make it about the gifts. I vow to not have a tree with tons of gifts under it, regardless of how well we are doing financially. With the toys and other "physical" gifts they get I also want them to get the gifts of responsibility, freedom, courage, strength. Gifts that are more gifts of life and growing up. I mostly want them to feel special and loved beyond anything ever known.
I'm really not sure how I'm going to make all this happen. Maybe starting with a few goals and adding on every year will get the job done.