“It’s only two days ‘til Christmas,” my 12-year-old stepson keeps saying. It has now been “two days ‘til Christmas” since last Friday. Wishful thinking?
I can’t help but share his enthusiasm. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the bustle of people, shopping for the perfect gift, and wrapping gifts in cheerful paper. It really is a wonderful time of year for me.
The other day my stepson asked what we were doing in the coming days. When we got to Christmas Eve I said that we would be visiting our friends for the Feast of Seven Fishes, just like we had last year. (He loved the Feast last year. Any day he can have shrimp is a good day.) I continued that we would get home late, go to bed, and wake up for our usual Christmas morning routine.
“But when are we going to read the little book?” he asked, almost whining. My heart filled with joy in that moment.
You see, “the little book” is one of my Christmas ornaments. It is a 2x2” red leather bound copy of The Night Before Christmas. It has crisp aged white pages with gold edges and an inscription in my mother’s perfect cursive: “To Sherri: With love from Mommy & Daddy. Dec. 1979.” I was two years old when my parents gave that to me and it has hung on the Christmas tree every year since.
The first Christmas I spent with my husband (then boyfriend) and stepson, I suggested we read it before going to bed on Christmas Eve. We all piled together under a blanket and took turns reading. We have continued to read it before bed on Christmas Eve for all three of our Christmases together so far.
Though I planned on carrying through on the reading again this year, I hadn’t mentioned it to my stepson while speaking of the Christmas activities. He picked right up on its omission and sounded truly worried that I had overlooked it.
As stepmoms we want to know that we are making a difference. There are times that it feels like we are in the way or ignored. In that one moment, I felt like I made a difference. A little activity that I started three Christmases ago, became a tradition that would be missed if we didn’t do it. Christmas really does bring people together.
Happy holidays to you and yours! May you cherish your family traditions, big and small.