I find as I get older, my view of Christmas changes. When I was a child my thoughts near the holidays centered around the glittery presents that Santa was going to bring me.
I remember one Christmas Eve when we lived in Oswego in a two-story home at the top of a hill. I stayed up late trying to wait up for Santa. As the snow gently fell, I kept my eye out for Santa. I just knew that was going to be the year I’d see him! On a side note, that probably also was the year mom put plastic on our windows because the house was drafty and I poked holes in it. To this day I still need a cool breeze (and a cold room) to sleep in. My mom still tells the story of the year I poked holes in the plastic. But that’s off-topic.
My efforts to see Santa arrive were futile, I fell asleep before Santa came and woke up to a fresh blanket of snow — the gorgeous kind that sparkles under the moonlight due to it being so lightweight in the cold air. I remember taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty of the snow before bounding down the stairs to open my presents. Ah, good times and happy memories.
As I get older, however, my perspective has shifted from receiving to giving. Sure, it’s always fun to receive, but I realize now, it’s more fun to give. This year I put a lot of thought into my gifts to family members, friends and even a few surprises for the staff in the newsroom. I searched what I call the “deep web of Ebay” to find the perfect gifts at the perfect price. As I shopped (I spent many hours in the middle of the night during my frequent bouts of insomnia) I searched for something not only meaningful, but something I knew the person would treasure. I imagine faces lighting up as they open their gifts and this makes me happy.
But it isn’t just material things I’m giving this year. This year I chose to amp up my donations to The Salvation Army, dropping a few bucks into every kettle I saw. That organization does so much in our community in so many ways and I also enjoy chatting with the bell ringers as I’m dropping in my money.
There are other gifts this year has provided to my family. Our family has seen a lot of changes this year. My brother, Dalton, and his wife, Amanda, welcomed a new baby earlier this year, Kizen. In addition to having a new baby, they generously open their doors to another family member, Averi. So, I gained two new nephews this year and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. I’m proud of my brother and sister-in-law for stepping up and opening their hearts and home to so much love.
So, while you’re opening your gifts this year, take some time to see the joy and the light on your loved ones’ faces. Take some time to also count your blessings for non-material things.
Merry Christmas, everyone.