Lately my seven-year-old, Sam has been asking me if Santa is real.
It dawned on me today when he told me the Santa that visited his chapel at school was absolutely not real because he had black tape on his shoes (Impostor!), that he was at that age when Christmas starts to lose a bit of its luster.
After all, some of the magic disappears when you find out the truth about Santa...
And as you get older and you become the one responsible for meals and traditions and transportation and gift buying and all those obligations that take precedent over the things we actually want to be doing, the magic all but up and leaves.
It's the season of busy. And I know it's cliche, but somewhere along the way I started to dream of a simpler Christmas. One that didn't require grandness but allowed for cozy pajamas and orange cinnamon rolls straight from that canister that scares you when it pops open...
It seems like it's easy to get caught up in doing all the things we should be doing, but truth be told, one of my very favorite Christmases was a few years ago when we were living in Colorado. We decided to head back to Illinois via our trusty minivan the night before we were supposed to leave. (Who says I'm not spontaneous?!) I packed sandwiches and gluten free Christmas crack and off we went...straight through Nebraska and Iowa until we landed at my parents' house in my little hometown in Illinois.
My sister and her family surprised everyone by driving home from Georgia and for two full weeks we lived at our parents' house with all our kids under one roof. We stayed up late watching stupid movies and slept in in the mornings. We had no obligations. Nowhere to be. No running around. No checklists. I did art projects with the kids and we had mounds of snow for sledding down the not-even-steep hill in the back yard.
It was peaceful. Simple. Quiet. Perfect.
And every year since I've found myself consumed with obligation all over again and longing for that year of rest...a year that I've started to remember as my favorite Christmas so far. And every year, when I reach this point, five days before the BIG DAY, I start to think "Well, maybe next year I'll get that peaceful Christmas..."
But the truth is, if we don't take it, it'll never happen, will it?
So yes, maybe there are only a few days until Christmas, but do they have to be crazy ones? Is there still time to refuse to feel obligated and focuse instead on the magic of this beautiful season?
My plan is to pack up the to-do list for a few days and strive for simplicity. To really...really...allow the Christmas spirit to fill me up.
I can taste the orange cinnamon rolls already.
Tell me...what's one of your favorite Christmas memories?