True Holiday Spirit

We haven’t been able to decorate quite the way I wanted to this year, or to take part in a lot of holiday traditions. I’ve had good intentions for Elvie’s first Christmas, but in the end, just keeping up with the rest of life has taken up so much time and energy that we have little left for extra holiday exertion. The one thing that got done, I tasked my in-laws with when they were in town, and that was decorating our front window. We walked to a nearby nursery the weekend after they were here to get a potted tree, and that is the extent of our holiday merriment. As much as I feel that we could have done so much more to make the holiday special, I also recognize that we have had a big year, in many ways a tough year, and the truly special part of this holiday season is that we are here together.

I know that we are not the only family who is not creating Pinterest-worthy spaces at home this holiday season, or forging ahead with holiday memories that involve a lot of time, effort, and planning. If you are with us in this, I want you to know that it’s okay, even great. The true magic of the holiday season is not in the decorations or the traditions, but in the love you give and share, and that you have given and shared throughout the year. Whatever you do to create holiday memories this season, whether big or small, will be enough. There is a great deal of holiday spirit in celebrating the relationships we have, in recognizing the love that surrounds us.

At the beginning of 2012, I had no idea that we would bring home a baby in the middle of the year, that we would fight for her health, and that we would be closing out the year looking forward to a big surgery that will change her life. I had no idea how tired it would make me or at the same time how worth it all of it would be. Though our stockings are not hung by the chimney with care, and the nativity set I intended to order never made it into my online shopping cart, I still look back on our year and am satisfied by the work we have done as a family, to become a family to Elvie and to love each other well through both hard days and good days.

We will have a special meal for Christmas, and Santa will surely visit us, leaving toys for the two smallest members of our family. We will plug the front window and Christmas tree lights in every evening. Beyond that, there won’t be much else, but then again, there will. Because we are all here and happy and healthy, and that is the perfect gift.

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