The other morning I woke up and started my day in the normal way. But then, something odd happened: Jack Frost nipped at my toes!
Here in sunny California, we don't wear socks for 9 months out of the year, so when I reached for my fluffiest socks, I realized something ridiculously exciting - CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!
I tried to hide my Cheshire grin, so my family wouldn’t see (and judge) the over-eager, trigger-happy Christmas Sherlock welling up inside my soul.
The first clue had been discovered, on that cold October morning.
But alas, I had to wait for the Christmas bug to catch on a bit more before donning my jingle bell earrings. The whole world doesn’t share my eagerness, and I know it can bring out some early-bird Scrooges if I’m not careful. But make no mistake, the magic of Christmas was already in the chilly fluffy-sock air.
I was patient...on the outside.
Cut to about a month later: as we all sat around in a Thanksgiving induced turkey coma, watching our annual family movie-a-thon. That little bit of glee started building again, as I recognized the second seasonal clue. Tomorrow is the day AFTER Thanksgiving!
Surely that’s soon enough to start decking the halls and sprinkling green and red glitter like it’s real Christmas magic...right?
But no, it’s still too early. Gotta get the hubby and teenagers on board.
Nobody was stirring from that turkey coma to get the staple gun and untangle the lights.
Okay. I’ll wait. I can be patient, right?
A full week went by as I “patiently” waited for my magic to be “acceptable” to the outside world - even though secretly in my heart we could totally have decorated for Christmas in August.
Then! While driving the boys to one of their many teenage activities, I finally spied it.
My inner Christmas Sherlock did loop-de-loops in my stomach (or throat or heart or somewhere around there). It’s heeeeere! Without even trying to contain myself I squealed, “Look look look! Don’t miss it!”
The teenagers, who regularly think I’m losing my mind, excitedly looked around for why I was freaking out. I gleefully pointed at the once empty field and exclaimed,
“They’re building the fence for the Christmas trees!”
This was of course followed by many teenaged eye rolls. Those come by the dozen around these parts. But those simple little beat up makeshift wooden fences signaled the start of something amazing, and nobody could deny it.
So, then I’m all in.
I started slowly at first (so as not to freak out the hubby too terribly much), and I played a Christmas song here and there. That went well, so I simmered some cider on the stove (here’s my favorite recipe). Then, I found the perfect Christmas wreath for the front door.
Slowly it all came together and the Christmas spirit started to grow in everyone around me. I saw eyes starting to sparkle and people starting to hum and wave at perfect strangers.
Until that one day happened - the one when you walk into the mall and then…BAM!
It’s like someone yelled, “release the Christmas spirit!” We walked into the mall to be greeted with Christmas muzak being piped through the ceiling, and an entire Christmas village for Santa and his Elves.
Every surface had light-donned, ornament-topped wreaths.
Everyone had a red or green shopping bag - surely filled with Christmas gifts. A faint smell of gingerbread was in the air.
When I saw no fewer than four different people wearing jingle-bell clad sweaters, I knew that not even the teenagers could refute the Christmas spirit in the air.
My inner Christmas-Sherlock was transformed into Cindy Lou Who when I heard a mall security guard humming jingle bells under his breath.
My husband and I looked at each other and knew that it was time to go home.
Our boys like to "surprise" us each year, and somehow we knew today would be the day. They still don't know that we've caught on. The day we hit the mall for some Christmas shopping, they quickly pull out the tree and set it up.
They look through all of our dusty Christmas boxes in the attic, to decorate the tree with their very favorite ornaments. Each year, we see those old favorites and some new surprises as well.
We came home with hot chocolate for everyone and ooohed and ahhhed at the tree.
Isn't it silly how family traditions just form themselves sometimes? And how they can pack so much nostalgia and togetherness into a seemingly unimportant series of clues.
So still now, each year, our boys find or make a new ornament to add to the tree.
We add the date somewhere on it, so we know which year it was added to our collection. Then, when they are grown and on their own, I'll pack up all of their ornaments from over the years and present them with their own little box of special decorations for their very first on-their-own Christmas tree. Maybe I’ll keep a few for my own. ♥
And then, when the wonderfully delicious peppermint stick chaos of Christmas is over, I carefully take down ornaments from the tree and lovingly put them into the box for next year.
Wrapping them in paper and placing them gently in their little compartments for safekeeping. I reach for the big red Christmas ball and my boys start singing at me. I had bumped the little button that recorded them singing “Frosty the Snowman” so very many years ago when their voices were tiny.
I cried...just a little bit.
Not with sadness, but because I realized the best part of Christmas was them - my family. Our family movie nights, our rousing card games and cozy soup nights, driving around the city with Grandma and Grandpa sipping cocoa and gazing at twinkling Christmas lights.
These are memories that we will cherish forever. ♥
I've had oodles of ideas over the years to create a special heirloom ornament for you to add to your collection. This year, I was finally able to bring the magic altogether.
I'm so excited to introduce our very first Heirloom Keepsake Ornament.
It's personalized with their name, the year, a special message - whatever you'd like - to make it extra meaningful just for your family. Because family is such a big and beautiful part of the Christmas season.
My heart's desire is to offer a new ornament each year, so she can collect them for when she has a tree of her very own.
So pop on over to the shop & let me know how you’d like your very first special LGP ornament to be personalized for your family, from me and mine.
I currently have a limited number of these heirloom personalized Christmas tree ornaments, so head on over to the shop right now.
Wishing you the most magical Christmas. Now pass me the cider...and maybe some Kleenex.