Running just a little behind this morning, I hit the gas station for my vices; nicotine and caffeine. I had been up til 130am or so, wrapping gifts for my hooligans and with six hours of sleep had a full day ahead of me.
I stood in line while an older couple was rang out ahead of me, laughing and joking. As they went to walk out the man stopped suddenly and turned around and got back in line. “I forgot to pay for gas!” And he chuckled. A frazzled looking woman walked in at that moment, glanced around the store and headed to the back towards the coolers. A woman in front of me debated over lottery tickets. An older man just behind me was watching everyone as I was, and smiled at me. “Are you ready for Christmas?” He asked me.
“Almost!” I answered. “How about you?” And he replied “I need to get back to this job I’m doing, so I can get paid and finish shopping!” And he told me he had a ridiculous amount of kids and grandkids. I smiled at him and continued making small talk. Finally, the woman purchasing lottery tickets finished and I motioned to the man who forgot to pay for gas to go ahead. At first he shook his head, but I insisted. He thanked me and quickly went ahead to purchase his gas.
The woman who had come in looking frazzled stopped in the aisle next to where I stood in line. “There they are! I searched the whole store for gift cards!” And began to take stock of what was available. A clerk joked with her about them being up front the whole time. “I think I slept three hours last night,” she answered, laughing, and ran her hand through her hair.
Everyone was in a good mood, but in a hurry, and tired. And considering that I’ve been ill with a headcold, and running on cold meds, caffeine and good intentions, I understood.
Christmas is commercialized, sure. But every one of us that is running on fumes is doing it for the people we love; our kids or grandkids, our parents, significant others, and friends. We take gift giving to the extreme and wear ourselves out to show these people how much we love and appreciate them.
Tonight I baked cookies and finished wrapping gifts. I read The Polar Express to my hooligans while they joked and played around. We set out cookies and milk for Santa and spread reindeer food out on the grass. After several days of scrambling to shop and maintain my household, after several nights of not enough sleep, at just after midnight on Christmas, it’s all done. In just a few hours all of this will be a horrible mess of wrapping paper and tissue and boxes, I’ll have electronics to set up and packages to cut open. But all of it will be to see the look on their faces when they open that gift they hoped for. And every bit of the hurry and tired will be worth it. Some day they won’t be sleeping under my roof on Christmas Eve, and someday it won’t be toys and games I’ll be buying for them. Like you, I complain about the hecticness of the holidays. . . But someday, they won’t be kids anymore and someday I will miss this craziness.
Take a moment to be grateful for the crazy. Take a moment to smile about the shenanigans. Take a moment to be thankful that you have someone in your life important enough to do all of this for.
Merry Christmas. ❤️