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You know, its been a bittersweet year for me. Christmas has been no different really. Don’t misinterpret that. I still have plenty of the holiday spirit and love for the season. I would, however, be lying if I told you that it hasn’t lost a bit of its magic for me this year. I am sure it will come back. I’m too big of a kid at heart to let it last. This year’s experience has really given me a new perspective on the holiday and how much we take for granted the small things that make it special.

10533122_982749215087130_3205962645192709325_nWe didn’t do much by way of decorating this year. I put up my small tree and that was about it. We usually pull out all the stops. We put up a big tree, a nativity scene is on our bar, my mom always puts out her gingerbread people decorations and snowmen. We even decorate big time outside with lights and candy canes and mom makes a beautiful wreath for the front door. This year that grapevine wreath is bare. The lights are all in storage.

10670045_826266814096131_8005157653988597718_nI got some decorations for Sparkle (my car). And I’ve enjoyed my little tree. Of course, here it is about 6:30 on Christmas Day and I just realized that I haven’t even turned the lights on in a week.

I guess it just seemed sort of pointless. There were no gifts under my tree this morning. No rush and bustle of laughing. No smell of the ham in the oven or mom’s pineapple casserole. Why? Yes, you can ask.

My parents went to Kentucky to spend Christmas with the rest of the family. My brother, my nieces, and my grandparents were all doing the traditional Christmas. In fact, I was the only one missing. They did call in the middle of the opening of the gifts. I was grateful to get to hear all the commotion and to know that the kids all enjoyed their gifts. Yes, I was able to send some up with the parents. Other than that, it has been like any other day off. And believe me I needed it after the chaos that was yesterday at work.

I can understand why the holiday loses its magic for so many. I had to work yesterday and it was an absolute nightmare. Retail at the holidays is enough to make anyone dislike Christmas. People fighting over gifts, turns in line, and the stores closing early. People forget about being kind to one another. They forget that the people working are trying to do their job with added pressure of extra people and traffic. Still many people expect for the stores to be open as though nothing were happening at all.

I tried to focus on the real meaning of the day. Focusing forward and trying to look ahead to a new year and new possibilities. For me it is about hope. The hope in a child’s eyes that Santa is coming. The hope of a wish coming true. There is the hope for a better year. And the hope that came with a tiny child that we could be saved from ourselves on the deepest and most profound levels.

It really is about the kids. I’ve long since outgrown the days when I dared hope for something specific under the tree. So many people make it about the gifts but, it isn’t. It is really about being with family and friends. I wasn’t sad that there weren’t any gifts under my little tree. I was sad that I didn’t get to see my nieces’ faces when Santa came. I wasn’t there for all the hugs and conversation.

I’ve done my best to treat today like any other day off. And I know that I will have a celebration once the parents return from their trip. Today, I spent in solitude other than the company of two little dogs who have been close and full of love all day. Tomorrow will be another bittersweet day as well. Yours truly turns 36. But, I’ll be busy with work and engrossed in reading and trying to figure out new years resolutions and goals while I help people at the day job. No festivities in store. Just another quiet day and night. And it is the start of a 6 day stretch at work. So, I’m glad I had a little time to rest.

I hope that everyone reading had an amazing Christmas. Whatever the season means to you, I hope that you were all surrounded by family, friends, and had presents under your trees. May the rest of the year be kind to you all and 2015 be filled with possibility