When I was younger, my grandmother showed me the classic article Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus. I remember thinking about it for a long time afterward, how the editor said that there is a Santa Claus as long as there is the spirit of Christmas and love.
I like buying gifts, but sometimes it’s difficult to do. Most people already have everything they want, and if they don’t have it, they’ll just buy it. Plus, everything I know tells me that stuff doesn’t buy happiness; experiences buy happiness. I love taking vacations (well duh, who doesn’t?), but I also love going hiking and spending time with friends. When I go on vacations, instead of bringing home more souvenirs, I try to bring home more pictures and notes. Sometimes I do buy stuff, but mostly, I try to focus on the stuff that’s really going to make me happy. That’s memories, not things that I put on a shelf. I guess that’s why I end up giving my friends pictures and baked goods a lot of the time.
I’m visiting my family for Christmas, and we baked cookies. We messed up the kitchen and laughed. We watched sappy Christmas movies and sang Christmas songs off-key. I remember baking cookies with my mom as a kid, but don’t necessarily remember what I got for Christmas. The memories are important long after the toys or electronics are broken. I remember the movies we watched. When I watched It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard (it’s a Christmas movie; don’t judge me) with my husband, I had to say the same things at the same parts my dad always does, and it made me laugh, just because he always does.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to lie. I like getting gifts. This year, one of my friends got me a recipe binder because she knows I like to bake. My husband bought me a first edition, autographed Watchers by Dean Koontz one year. My sister got me ferris wheel art drawn by a friend of hers. The best things about the gifts were that the people who got them for me had to know me in order to get them for me. So it’s not the gifts themselves as much as the thought behind it. They didn’t just get me a gift basket of lotion or an Amazon gift card. They got me something they knew I’d love.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how silly it is to worry about if someone wishes you a Happy Holidays or a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy Solstice. Saying the right things, giving the right gifts, making sure the food and cookies are perfect isn’t what the Christmas season is about for me. For me, it’s about family and friends. It’s about love and laughter. It’s about memories and magic.
Magic is the reason for the season. How will you make magic this holiday?