I got into the Christmas spirit pretty early this year.
Music, decorations, lights – everything happened right after Thanksgiving, which, for me, is early. Usually I still have fall/Halloween décor up well into December.
And the pumpkins are typically frozen to my grass in the front yard.
But not this year.
And I think I have my 3-year-old to thank for it. I just couldn’t wait to start shopping for her.
She’s a constant reminder of the season and, as my back-seat navigator, she can also be counted on to point out every set of Christmas lights, Christmas trees and Santa Clauses she spots from her vantage point.
The candy canes are on the counter. She sees them. She wants them. I need to say “no” more often.
We talk about Santa, about the reason we celebrate Christmas and how fortunate we are to have the freedoms we have to celebrate such a holiday.
Addy responds with a sly grin. She can always tell when I am being serious and her natural reaction is, always, to change the topic, smile or say something funny.
Christmas is, certainly, different this year.
For the first time, I had to hide gifts in my closet and various other places around the house. That was one of those moments I had to stop myself and enjoy.
I wondered how my parents kept the presents hidden all those years. I never remember seeing a single package enter the house or anything in their room, basement, anywhere.
Addy and I embarked on our yearly tradition of buying the smallest “Charlie Brown”-type tree that we could find. Next year, she’s going to be taller than the tree. Heck, she might already get there this year.
Even though she’s a little timid about Santa, she knows exactly what he represents and what we will do on Christmas morning.
Christmas, the joy of it all, the sheer excitement of the season, it just surrounds children. You cannot help but be caught up in it.
I’m fortunate to be able to spend Christmas with my daughter and family. The fact that many do not – for a variety of reasons, including military deployment – should not be lost on us during this time of year.
Merry Christmas to all. Take it in like you are 3 years old again.