Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? This time of year, I want to experience every moment of fleeting holiday bliss. Baking oddly shaped cookies with my kids. Watching their excitement as they write letters to Santa. Breathing in the fresh smell of pine in my own indoor wonderland. And yet, instead of hearing sleigh bells and laughter, I hear my inner voice. Not enough is done. I’m not ready. It’s moving too fast and I’m missing it.
My daughter has a Christmas tree sticker set, where each day she uses stickers to count down the days to Christmas. Fifteen… ten… six. Each day she grows more excited, and I grow more stressed. And yet, when I look at all we’ve done — our beautiful tree, the trip to see Santa, the holiday parties — really, it’s already enough. My kids don’t need much. They don’t care if we burn the cookies. They don’t care if I ordered the Santa photo. They don’t care if I didn’t find the perfect STEM toys to stimulate their love of math and science. What they care about is that we’re together.
And so, this holiday season, I’m reminding myself to slow down and breathe. To focus on peace: not just on earth, but in my own life as well. It doesn’t really matter if I put up those extra lights I bought, or if the gingerbread house falls apart in the middle of our making it. It doesn’t matter if the presents aren’t perfect. The most important present is the one we’re living in together. The one that’s here right now — the one that, before I blink, will be replaced with Valentine’s chocolates and Easter eggs. I don’t want to get so caught up in trying to make the holiday perfect, that I miss the magic that’s already in front of me.
Sleigh bells ring. And I’m listening.
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