The Grinch was bang on when he had his epiphany and realized that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
Leading up to the holidays I was feeling sad and anxious. Work had me feeling burnt out. My kids were waking up early every morning asking if I had to go to work that day, when all I wanted was to stay home with them. Increasing numbers of new Covid cases meant that tighter restrictions were being imposed starting at midnight on the 26th. I was sad that it might be the first Christmas ever that I didn’t see my family.
Then my coworkers made sure I left work early on Christmas Eve. It meant so much that my coworkers offered to stay later so I could sneak out. I hurried home to start my week long vacation.
Though I didn’t spend Christmas Eve with my parents as I have for so many years, we ordered Chinese food – as per tradition – and curled up with a movie. We left out cookies and milk by the fireplace, then all four of us curled up in the top bunk of my son’s bed until our two excited kids finally fell asleep.
The 24th was mild and rainy but almost as if brought by Santa’s sleigh, overnight the temperature dipped and the rain turned to snow. When we finally made our way downstairs our backyard was blanketed in white. It felt like Christmas magic.
A quick peak over the balcony – “the stockings look full!” – and cookie crumbs and sooty footprints on the floor proved that Santa had stopped by. There is nothing quite like the wide eyed belief in magic.
There were many gifts to open but for me the best gifts of all were a bottle of nail polish and a Paw Patrol Chase car.
My partner took the kids to the grocery store to pick out items for the food bank. This year more than ever we wanted the kids to see the giving side of Christmas. What I didn’t know was that the kids had also taken money out of their piggy banks to pick out a present for me. My daughter chose nail polish and my son picked out a Paw Patrol toy – “so you can play with me.”
When I found out they happily spent their own money to pick out very thoughtful gifts, the tears just started falling. Like everyone, I have my days where I feel under-appreciated but I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as special as in that moment.
The gifts may have come from the store but the sentiment certainly didn’t. Things this Christmas meant a little bit more. As challenging a year as 2020 has been, this Christmas might be a hard one to top.
Whatever your holidays looked like this year, I hope they were happy ❤️