So, I write about this every year, and every year I think I may be getting closer to a solution. Bear with me, one of these days I might have the answer …
There is a stomach tightening moment that happens to mothers in early December as it relates to Christmas. Between creating and sending holiday cards, decorating the house, purchasing and wrapping gifts, and planning food for multiple celebrations, it's easy to forget what Christmas is all about.
Every year, I chant in my head less is more, I resolve to do less this year. I try to live up to that mantra, but still I somehow always fall short and end up with a gut full of stress as I scramble to purchase last-minute gifts, figure out what my kids need to bring to their various parties and Secret Santa events, and plot out our family’s schedule over the holidays.
Sometimes, when I hear Christmas music on the radio or see decorations lining every street corner, I secretly long for January and the cold promise of nothing but mundane winter weekends on the horizon filled with dance and volleyball. And yet, at the same time, I do want to create lasting holiday memories for my children that they will remember forever.
One of those memories is a Christmas carol party that we host for neighbors and nearby friends. It’s a simple event that involves little more than cookies, hot chocolate, a fire pit and cacophony of voices that somehow blend together in the crisp night air like a professional choir. Last year, one of our neighbors was walking down the street as he heard Silent Night reverberating from the group assembled at my house. He told me he stopped for a moment and realized that for the first time in the busy holiday season that year he felt like he was finally in the Christmas spirit thanks to the beautiful voices he was hearing in the distance.
So, maybe its moments like this, in the stillness of a December night beneath the stars when voices come together to create the essence of the holiday that I need to hold on to. It’s the moment when everything else falls away and you realize what you need is not in a shiny package, or a string of white lights, or even in the sweetest tasting holiday dessert. It's right there inside of you if you will only stop and take a second to recognize it.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here Mondays.