I have such mixed emotions about gift-giving. Especially at this age. We feel compelled to give them something to open Christmas morning - because we remember the joy that went into our own floating hearts as kids. I was probably 5 years old when I received my first gift. We slept near the radiator and Christmas morning was like any other morning in NYC. Except, Mom woke us up and said "someone" brought us a special gift. As if they had fallen from the sky, I got a plastic pool table and Wagma received a Donkey Kong Jr. game by our pillows. How did this happen? That feeling - of not knowing. Not expecting... only happens once.
It is a natural unfortune that we begin to expect. Anticipate. And then even desire certain things for the sake of "Christmas." It wasn't until my younger sister turned 18 that we decided - as a family - that it was better to save or donate than to wrap and unwrap a gift we already had a notion for.
My Dad - God bless him - enjoyed Christmas the most. Because he was never "in" on the shopping sprees or conversations, "what do you want this year?" He simply drank his hot tea and watched. And we couldn't help but shower the person with absolute no expectations with the most gift boxes. It was so much easier... And the best part - he loved them all. Whether it was a bottle of cologne or undershirts - he appreciated the gestures and they were all put to good use. It's been the toughest for my kid sister to accept this new tradition - and I empathize. I miss it too. But it's not the gifts I miss - it's that childhood feeling I use to have this time of year...
I struggle with finding the right balance on how to fully embrace and celebrate this time honored tradition while Ava and Noah are still young. I imagine that as they get older, the holidays will mean different things. And that's what worries me.
I thought 3 gifts for Ava and Noah each wouldn't be overwhelming. And although it wasn't in hindsight since they are toys that will grow with them, the question still lingered - did we do too much?
Christmas morning received the brunt of months of stressful days - and it didn't bring out the best in all of us. Driven with anxiety and deflated by exhaustion, Aaron and I were tremendously busy with our jobs on top of trying to maintain some sort of sanity from our families.
But what I did love and enjoy so much was seeing Ava and Noah enjoy every moment on their own schedule today. From the lollipops they found prior to seeing the wrapped gifts under the tree and enjoying it more than opening presents... to baking sugar cookies with Grandma [who was graciously patient and let Ava take the lead]. It is their natural tendencies to capture what's great and let go of what's not. New toys? Who needs them? When you can share a cookie under a blanket with a loved one?
To be ourselves and be around those who respectfully love us and bring out the best in us - is the greatest gift we can exchange. Ava and Noah taught me that. And it is with my greatest hope, that they will uphold this as the new family tradition - for the sake of Christmas.