I miss being a kid at Christmas.
Every Christmas of my childhood was a joyous occasion, thanks to my mother. Those of you who know Pamela Garrett know that whatever she does - she does it BIG.
Inside our home we had the fullest tree - complete with lights, ornaments and bows.
The outside of our home looked like the North Pole. She would wrap the columns on our front porch with red ribbon to mimic the look of candy canes. She had a white wooden sleigh and eight wooden reindeer arranged in the yard - and even wrapped empty boxes to look like presents in the sleigh.
At the beginning of December I would receive my "Christmas pajamas" - which I would wear all month long. I called them my "Christmas pajamas" because they usually had a design on them such as snowmen or reindeer - something you would associate with Christmas.
On Christmas Eve we would go to church, then come home and make Santa cookies (and also leave a carrot for Rudolph, Santa's red-nosed reindeer).
And then - on Christmas morning I would wake up my parents and we would all go downstairs to see what Santa had left me. Santa was very, very good to me year after year.
My baby boy celebrated his 1st Christmas this year - and although Santa visited him and we had tons of family, food and fun - I find myself so disappointed and wishing I had done it BIGGER.
There were not decorations in every corner of the house. I didn't send our Christmas cards.
The time of year that was so happy for me as a child turned into a stressful time for me as an adult. As much as I tried, I just felt like I didn't get it together and get it right.
I shopped since June and still wondered, "Did I get the baby enough presents?"
I worried we were not spending enough time with my family. Maybe I forget to give someone a present. I couldn't get everyone the present they deserved. I felt like it was a mess.
It made me remember something our preacher spoke about at church last year. He talked about the very first Christmas.
There wasn't a nice hospital, no fancy baby bed - only a barn and a manger. However, something perfect arrived in that imperfect place - baby Jesus - and that is what Christmas is about I believe.
The holidays are never going to be "perfect" or problem free - but they allow us to be a light to others, to make their season happier and to give as God gave to us.
The truth is I don't know what was in my mom's mind all those years she made Christmas wonderful for me. She could have been completely stressed out. Maybe she made personal sacrifices to get me the "it" gifts every year or felt like it was a mess too.
Well, Mom, if you are reading this I want to be the one to say "You did it right!" One of my greatest gifts is having you as my mom to lead the way! You are a shining light in our family.
I just hope I can compare to the wonderful example you set...And to someday turn my home into the North Pole at Christmastime too.