Finding Wonder in December

On the magic of Christmas lights

I recently saw a note to stop and think about the wonder in December. It stuck out to me because while I’ve been feeling the magical sparkle of the holiday month approaching, I have also felt the pressure to do all the things. Shop, make cookies, decorate, schedule activities, plan, all while the month fills up with holiday parties.

While it’s all so fun and exciting, people tend to lose it this time of year.

What if we took the time to slow down and think about what we really want for Christmas?

Not just presents under the tree, but what do you actually want to get out of the holiday season?

This is a one-of-a-kind Christmas for me. Sweet Leo is old enough to enjoy and understand that it’s “Christmas time,” a special time of year. It’s also the last Christmas he’ll be an only child. I want to spoil him rotten!

Spoil him with magical memories, I mean (I know, I know – he likely won’t remember this time of his life at all…sigh).

As I started thinking about what’s wonderful about December to me, Leo made me see that it’s all about cherishing this unique time in my life.

Wonder, I’d argue, is best witnessed through a child’s eyes.

Leo has been so amused by the holiday lights on houses, so last night we drove him through a rather festive neighborhood and blew his toddler mind.

“Look at the lights, Mom and Dad! See!”

“That house has lights!”

“So colorful!”

“Woah, look at those lights!”

“That’s so awesome!”

“That house has lights!”

“That house has lights!”

“That house has lights!”

“That house has lights!”

“That house has lights!”

And finally, my favorite…

“Christmas is coming soon!”

Kyle and I shared a laugh, as Leo jibber-jabbered in amusement the entire drive.

I remember driving through Streator neighborhoods with my family every year as a kid, listening to the Christmas radio station. I loved it every year, but I have no idea what I felt the very first time we did that.

I’m getting a glimpse of that feeling through Leo.

(No offense to my Streator neighbors, but the Christmas house decorating in Arizona is out of this world. We have a significant advantage though with not trying to hang lights in frigid weather and wind gusts.)

Sometimes I fast-forward in my head about seven years, when my kids will be well out of the toddler stage, and I might get some precious Michelle time back. When Leo might brush his teeth without the daily battle. When we might have dinner as a civil family, rather than a cafeteria-style food fight. When Kyle and I can have a full adult conversation in middle of the day without separating it into several different chunks due to child interruptions.

But Leo’s sweet, wonderous voice snapped me back to the present last night. Christmas is coming soon, and the lights on the houses will never be as amazing to him as they are right now. He will never understand Christmas for the first time again, as he is right now.

While I want to make all the Christmas cookies and buy the best presents (with the best deals) and plan some good parties, what I want most for Christmas is to cherish Leo’s wonder at everything, lock it up in my heart and stamp it in my memory for all of time. So in seven years when I have that Michelle time back but he’s losing faith in Santa and interest in lights, I’ll remember how precious this toddler time was.

Wonder for me this year means lots and lots of Christmas lights.

What will help you connect with wonder this December? Lean into it, embrace it, and here’s your permission to let the other things on your list slide.

What I’m Reading – “A Winter in New York” by Josie Silver

I love a good holiday-ish book this time of year, and thanks to my friend Mary Johnson for keeping me on her book club list after over a year of not attending so I could be looped in on your holiday pick. This is a cute romance novel with all the winter vibes. If you happily live in the desert like me but want to take a fictional adventure to the winter season, here’s a good book for it.

TS Song of the Week – “Christmas Tree Farm”

Get into the holiday spirit with Taylor’s own childhood holiday memories.

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