Some thoughts on the Christmas season …

I’ve been thinking we are currently at the peak of Christmas excitement in my house.
With our boys now 5 and 4 years old, we are in a stretch of magical years that we will remember forever. The good thing is if I get bogged down in the details of the holidays or whatever pressures associated with it there are random reminders from acquaintances of how truly special these times are. Time will surely bring even more perspective to these memories that I take for granted as every day occurrences and view as commonplace these days. In case they don’t, we have videos and photos to relive down the road.
We videotape Christmas morning each year, and I find it surprising that we have not once sat down to watch the moments after the fact. I know we will eventually and hold them near to our hearts. It’s just that the high velocity life we lead does not allow much free time for living in the past. It most certainly does not leave time for the future either. We live in the present, which I think is a good thing, because we are too busy to do otherwise.
The excitement of Christmas is alive and well in our kids, and we do everything we can to further enhance the special factor. It’s fun to make them happy and heart-warming to see their excitement.

It’s true that it’s often better than to give than receive, but I could do without the gift wrapping process.
While wrapping something for his mother the other day, I asked Beckett if he wanted to learn how to wrap a gift. He was interested for a couple minutes but then realized what I already know — it’s not easy to do it the right way.
The gift I was wrapping was a large canvas print, and it gobbled up an entire roll of wrapping paper. Beckett was having trouble understanding the importance of being smart with the paper and not wasting it. He wanted no part of that aspect. That’s why this particular gift is double layered in some areas and a little barren in other spots.
Don’t even get me started on how we handled the edges. It wasn’t pretty, but he was proud and was looking forward to letting his mom know which package he wrapped. Unfortunately, his wrap job is not that much different than mine.

The elf might mean more to Pam and me than the kids.
It’s probably because we know it’s only a matter of time before it loses its importance and “cool factor”.
It’s already started to wane a little bit with Beckett, and that’s disturbing. Fortunately, Carson still loves the elf.
Parenting is such a contradiction. I look forward to the day when Beckett listens more than half the time. When he can be trusted to brush his teeth well and hit the key spots in a good shower. I look forward to when it’s easy to take him to special places and to great events, like a baseball or football game.
While on one hand I am eager to see him grow and mature to another level, I regret seeing childhood aspects pass that have been traditional favorites. The elf is just one example and that’s why it’s sad on some level to see it go for another year.
The paradox of parenting I guess.

We had about six Santa encounters this holiday season. They all were planned on some level, such as Winterfest of Lights, sports activities or shopping center visits.
The exception was on Sunday afternoon when the jolly one came by our street atop a Berlin Fire Company truck. It wasn’t just that. It was the loud sirens that preceded it that made it special. There was no advance word on this Santa excursion and the surprise factor was there.
The kids enjoyed it and that’s something they were talking about a couple days later.

My kids are so lucky. I just hope they realize it. On some levels, I feel at peace knowing there is some understanding on their part that they are fortunate.
There’s a fine line between spoiling your kids and providing them a certain quality of life. I have no idea where that line truly is. It’s a judgment call and varies from family to family and in some cases year to year.
Our kids receive more than they need on a multitude of levels, and Christmas is no exception, but they don’t get everything they want and that’s important I think.
Beckett’s desire for “222 Red Ryder BB guns” is not what I’m talking about here. That’s an easy decision for a 5-year-old, at least in my world.
It’s the requests from Santa for a newer iPad, so he can get the latest and greatest game that requires more discretion. It’s amid calls that so and so has it and that it’s an unfair that we won’t let “Santa put it under the tree” that requires a little reminder of just how good the kids have it.
I know I need reminder moments like that and I can count on “It’s A Wonderful Life” to deliver them each year. I can remember my mom and stepdad watching the movie around the holidays each year when I was growing up.
I didn’t get the message that George Bailey learned and embraced in the story at that time, but I do know now and identify with him throughout that movie.