Something I've learned from my first year of "adulthood" is that your reflections and outlook on holidays are ultimately formed by your parents. People who don't get as excited and crazy about Christmas usually report that it was "never really a big deal growing up". That's why I just wanted to take the time to thank my parents for going the extra mile to make my childhood Christmases as magical and special as I could have ever imagined.
Thanks Mom and Dad for doing extraordinarily creative things to convince me that Santa Claus is real (he is by the way, if you're a child reading this). Things like sitting down with me to write my wish list, tracking Santa down on the Santa Tracker website, and pointing out red flashing lights on telephone towers and telling me it was Rudolph. My sisters and I always put cookies and milk out for Santa, and we always left carrots for the reindeer. My dad even went as far as to poke holes in the yard with a gardening tool, so that we would think they were reindeer tracks. Every Christmas morning Santa had left a note thanking us for all of the good things we'd done that year.
One year I told my mom I wanted makeup for Christmas (I was really young), and she told me no, that I wasn't old enough to be wearing makeup yet. Then, Christmas morning there was a small makeup kit under the tree. I thought to myself, "Yeah, Santa's got my back, he's way cooler than mom." My mom was willing to risk me being mad a her if it meant strengthening my faith in Santa. That's dedication.
Thank you Mom and Dad for creating traditions that became the most exciting and sentimental part of Christmas. Thank you for collecting ornaments throughout the years that had stories behind them and always made us smile when they made their yearly debuts after Thanksgiving. Thanks for making decorating for Christmas an all day ordeal that we looked forward to as the official beginning of Christmas. Thank you for making picking out a real tree such a special event. Thank you for keeping a collection of movies that we watched every year and knew all the words to (A Christmas Story, The Grinch, and Elf). Thank you for building up the anticipation by reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve and letting us open one present. Thank you for making me and my sisters sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. Even though we hated it, it's one of my favorite memories looking back now--staying up and whispering about the noises we swore were feet on the roof. Thank you for keeping our Christmas morning rituals the exact same year after year, it made it all the more special. Thank you for making the most delicious foods for Christmas breakfast and for letting us stay in pajamas the entire day.
But most importantly, thank you for managing to create the most magical memories for us without letting us forget the real meaning of Christmas (sappy, but really). So many parents these days get wrapped up in spoiling their kids with gifts (don't get me wrong, you definitely did that) that they forget that Jesus is the reason we celebrate and give. He's the reason we gather together and feast our hearts out. While other families fly through Christmas at such a fast pace, you always reminded us to slow down. You reminded us to look around at all of the happy faces, the pretty lights, and the time that everyone takes out of their lives to honor our King and be grateful. I am so happy that when I look back on Christmases passed I have such fond and special memories. You guys are the reason my festive juices start pumping right after Thanksgiving. You guys are the reason I soak up every moment of Christmas. You guys are the reason I can't wait to make Christmas just as special for my kids and watch them enjoy all of the magic that you guys created for me.