The holidays are hectic. I was with my son the other day at an intersection, waiting to walk across the crosswalk of a busy street and I looked all around. There were people hustling and bustling all over, but it wasn’t in that cute, Christmasy way you’re imagining. The people looked anxious and frustrated. Car horns honked. A guy was yelling at his little toddler. One lady dropped her bundle of packages in the snow and began cursing. The guy in the crosswalk by us kept pushing the button on the pole over and OVER and OVER, just willing the light to change so the little walk figure would light up faster. In my head I was humming “Busy streetlights, even stoplights blink a bright red and green, and above all the bustle you hear….Silver bells…silver bells….it’s Christmastime in the city!” No amount of humming made Christmastime in the city seem magical though.
I asked myself WHY?? I wonder if we’ve become too busy to let ourselves stop and enjoy things these days. I wonder if we’re so consumed with getting things done that we don’t enjoy the doing. I wonder when we lost sight of why we’re celebrating in the first place…it got lost in our to do lists somewhere. Were the car honks a courteous, “Oops, you didn’t see me” or was it a mini tantrum by an impatient driver? Did the man really believe that the toys he bought his son for Christmas would erase all the times he yelled at him throughout the year? When the lady dropped her packages, was she upset because they might be ruined for her loved ones, or was she just feeling quite inconvenienced herself? And oh, that poor button on the crosswalk! It was almost painful (and a bit funny) to see that man push it, all the while realizing his powerlessness in the situation. No matter how many times he pushed it, the light did not change any faster.
I’m not saying that we should immediately expect that December will bring out all the best in all of us all the time, but the Mom in me wanted to scold all those humbuggers. I wanted to remind them that the gifts, the extra shopping, the extra baking, the wrapping–all those extra things that are on our to-do lists in December are not a tool to make them miserable. They are a means to an end. My end is to create family traditions and memories that will make us strong as a family. If we can turn our focus away from ourselves and our own inconveniences and look toward the Savior and to our loved ones I really think it’s possible to change our holiday focus from stress to love.
Stop today. Just stop. Wipe the stress off your face. Get out a game and sit down with your kids. Don’t look at the clock…just play with them. Turn on some Christmas music. Make a little craft with them. Decorate an ornament to put on your tree. Pull a chair over to the counter and let them add the ingredients to the next batch of Christmas cookies on your “to bake list.” Make Christmastime about them. It will be the best present Mom can give.