I know it’s only Thanksgiving but my thoughts are at Christmas already. If you go shopping you see a Christmas theme everywhere. Soon there will be Christmas trees for sale on each corner. And that means the shopping season for gifts is about to start, or should I say a seasonal money spending extravaganza is about to begin. I read in newspaper yesterday that an average family is planning to spend $600 to $800 for Christmas. This was also mentioned in context of current slow economy, meaning that the number is much lower than usual. That is certainly not what we are spending here. I must admit though that we don’t have a large family and don’t expect any guests, so it’s just four of us. Nevertheless, we don’t shower our children with gazillions of toys and we prepare a holiday meal that is just a little more fancy than usual. We don’t have problem opening our front door because there are gifts everywhere and we can walk freely from living room to our kitchen without tripping on a bunch of gifts that are covering the entire floor. If you think that I am exaggerating you are wrong. Last year I visited my neighbors who have just one child and there was the entire room filled with boxes of each shape, size and color, stacked on top of each other. I was so shocked to see this that I remained speechless. Upon returning to my appartment I felt a little silly thinking about two gifts for each of my daughters that were still hidden in our closet.
To me Christmas is a special holiday and my memories go back to a time when I could smell the fragrance of a freshly scraped wooden floors and fried carp. My mom cooked a ton of food and was spending nights in the kitchen to whip up her magic fish soup and other traditional Polish food. It is a special memory of getting a Christmas tree ready on a day of Christmas eve and listening to carols. There was some magic in looking out the window to catch a glimpse of a first star to appear in the sky. That was the signal to begin a feast. There was the snow, too.
I try to make Christmas magical to my children. We start singing carols way before Christmas because they are beautiful and create these special moments. We talk about decorating our appartment and their tree. Girls are busy putting garlands around the stairs and adding special touches. We make our own cardboard nativity set just for the joy of crafting. I just wish we had snow…
The gifts they receive are special because they are selected with love. We choose toys that will last and are beautiful. They are the ones that develop creativity and are open ended. We also listen to what the girls are dreaming about. We are lucky because they don’t get influenced by a crowd that desires some fad that soon will be thrown in a pile of useless toys and never played with again.
I love the season and I wish I could go back in time to that wonderful mystical almost time of the year. Time that holds a special innocence of a child’s curiosity as to what might be under a tree and no expectations just a pure joy.