Christmas is such a memory filled time for me! I remember singing carols in the car with my parents and grandparents - and for some reason we were always going somewhere through the cold dark winter evenings. To visit friends, to have cookies and hot chocolate, to share presents, to watch the "living nativity" scene at the church, to see the houses all decorated with lights. Do you know the Jolly Old St. Nicholas tune?
Don't you tell a single soul what I'm going to say:
Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me; Tell me if you can.
When the clock is striking twelve, When I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black, With your pack you'll creep
All the stockings you will find Hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one, You'll be sure to know
Bobby wants a pair of skates, Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book, Yellow, blue, and red
Now I think I'll leave to you What to give the rest
Choose for me, dear Santa Claus; You will know the best.
Oh, my grandmother always emphasized those last two lines - and oh, how that made me want to be just like the singer of the tune. Trusting in Santa, never asking for what I really wanted. I thought that the only way to be truly good and sweet was to never ask for anything. Of course, I was only little and bound to disappoint, and my Christmas Lists were always long letters filled with dreamy big toys that I mostly didn't get - but I learned that it was ok to dream big, and that giving is honestly as wonderful as getting - many times even more wonderful.
As we come into the holidays I find that I appreciate more and more the gift of family time and the great tradition of giving that we are fortunate to share. Today, at our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) with little gifts. We talk about how St. Nicholas lived a tradition of giving, and that he gave in secret. We chose names and then do secret things for each other all through the month, to teach our littlest ones the joy of simple gifts and simple giving. For example, last year several times during the month the cat litter was clean when I went to clean it, and sometimes the dishwasher was unloaded. One evening I even found a pretty neat hand made bookmark on my pillow. On Christmas Day I learned that my grandson had been my secret "St. Nick!"
Joy in giving and graciousness in receiving are two of the wonderful things we experience all through our lives, but these seem to have more focus during the holidays. I rejoice in these gifts whenever they occur, but like many of us, I absolutely love the opportunity to renew family traditions and spend time with loved ones. Our BBEST team members have created some wonderful goodies that really make sharing the time honored traditions at my house even more wonderful, allowing us to enjoy the moments for -
Making cookies & sharing treats,
And sending Christmas Cards - every year our list gets longer!
I hope you all have time to enjoy yourselves this holiday season, and wish each of you much success and good days the whole new year through!
And psssst! St. Nicholas, if you really must know, these have stolen my heart. :)