I have wonderful memories of Christmas as a child.  Looking back now, I see that our family did nothing unique or extravagant for the holidays, but everything about it enchanted us kids.  Christmastime was, indeed, magical.

Isn’t it ironic, then, that these memories which bring me such happiness are what’s also causing me such stress this year; more stress, even, than trying to find a Christmas Card photo where I don’t look forty.  (We’ve got one somewhere.  I just know we’ve got one somewhere.)

See, as a mother, I can no longer simply luxuriate in the feeling of Christmas; I have to create that feeling for my kids to luxuriate in.  (I know I ended that sentence in a preposition but I tried it the other way and it didn’t work.  Please forgive.)  So while trying to “relax” and “simplify” (ha) during the season, I find myself constantly wondering, “Is this enough?  Am I doing enough?  Are my kids as dazzled as I was?”  It’s hard to tell because now that I’m all grown up, the Christmas magic is kindasorta gone.  Oh, I still enjoy Christmas, but it’s not the mysterious, glitter-wrapped nirvana that it once was. I view decorating the tree and watching Frosty the Snowman  through a different lens than I did as a child; it’s gratifying, sure.  But not magical.  And, truth be told, they sometimes feel a little bit like chores.  Reading Christmas stories, making Christmas treats, doing Christmas service projects–these were all a lot more fun before I was the one digging up the books from the red tubs in the garage, scraping dried meringue off the kitchen counter, and racking my brain for yet another creative, altruistic way I could teach my kids the Real Meaning of Christmas.  I’m not dissing the Big Day, promise.  I do still love the season.  It’s just that Christmas was a lot merrier when I was Tiny Tim sliding in the snow, not Mrs. Cratchit sweating over the pudding.  (Which, by the way, I always thought looked nasty.  No offense, Mrs. Cratchit.)

And every year, while I’m running around making life good for the little Cratchits, I wonder: