I LOVE Christmas time! So many people complain about the commercialism. I have never understood that. I love the lights, the decorations, the baking, the tree, seeing friends and family and of course, the presents! I wonder if people complain because they are too stressed trying to make it all perfect? Our Christmas is never perfect. Our tree is overloaded with at least 100 ornaments too many. I rarely put bows on the packages. If there are too many items on our menu, I take some off or make easier versions. (It really IS ok to serve store-bought cookies, you know.) My house is never spotless, no matter how hard I try. I shop ahead of time so I don't miss out on what I want to buy. (Christmas comes on Dec. 25 each year, people! Why are so many always surprised? LOL!)
But I just don't focus on perfection because that is not what the holiday is about. What it's about is seen in something I stole a few years back.
I used to attend a women's small group at a church and one year at this time we were sharing traditions with each other. One of my faves from when my babies were babies is we give them a present on Christmas Eve every year. It is always new Christmas jammies. This isn't entirely for the kids, though. It's so my Christmas Day pictures look that much better! Who wants to look back in a few years and see syrup stains in the pics of the kids opening gifts? Plus when they were little and I could dress them, they always matched :)
When it was my friend Jodi's turn, she talked about their tradition with 3 daughters of baking Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas Eve. They worked on it together and all helped decorate. Later that night, Santa would receive a piece of the cake instead of cookies by the fireplace.
So I stole that idea and it is now one of our traditions.
This tradition helps us to keep focused on the real reason for the season: Christ's birth. The presents are fun and I love it all from buying to wrapping to giving. But it's not about that. The lights outside and on the Christmas trees remind me of the light He brought to the world. The togetherness and laughter represent the love He wants us to share! He doesn't want us to be stressed over the perfect cookies or cake. I mean, does that cake look perfect to you? If you saw that in the bakery case, you would probably laugh! But it's perfect to us because of the time spent together creating it. My hope is to pass along my love of the season with all it's imperfections. I hope they never stress about it. I hope they will love each ornament that comes back out of the box, and continue to love counting down the days with advent calendars. I hope they will always make Jesus a birthday cake, even with their own little ones! I can't wait!