Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Real vs Artificial

Real vs Artificial? I was asked this question in an e-mail last week. I know that the sender was referring to Christmas trees. The answer was easy. We always have a real tree, no question there. In fact, most year we have two trees... However, this week I have been thinking about that question differently.

Real vs Artificial what kind of Christmas do I want to have this year? The last few years feel like they have been artificial Christmases. It seems that I have just been going through the motions; making sure we were where we should be when we should be, with the gifts we should bring. I have been making sure the kids are dressed nicely and are behaving. I have been smiling and laughing at the right times and ignoring what would otherwise drive me over the edge on any other day. Gifts have been open, thank yous have been exchanged, and meals have been eaten. But, has any of it been real? Have I enjoyed any of it?

Now before you start thinking that I am a scrooge let me just point out that my husband and I favored the holiday so much we were married at Christmastime 11 years ago! I used to be so crazy about Christmas that I would start counting down the days right after my birthday in July! However, lately, things have not been the same.

So, why? Part of it I believe is that we now have 4 beautiful bright eyed children who ARE so excited for Christmas. Not that the children are a problem - the problem is that when you are the one that needs to make the season wonderful it loses some of it's wonder for you. I could compare it to cooking all day for Thanksgiving. By the time you eat the food you have worked so hard on you are no longer hungry. This is how Christmas has been for me.

Now what? Now, I try to make Christmas this year real. I want to really enjoy this holiday. My children are getting older and are requiring less hands on attention. So, I am trying to make a point to remember the real reason for the season. This is Christ's birthday - his day. Not Target's day (goodness knows they rake in enough this time of year!) I am going to follow my kid's lead. Enjoy the wonder through their eyes. This is a time for family, friends, and feeling warm and safe. A time of good food and good times. I am hoping to search out the meaningful times this year and enjoy them. I am not going to ignore conflict until it hurts but I am not going to seek it out either. I want this year to be different, I want this year to be real - not artificial.

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