Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Presence

::happy (tired) sigh::

As I type this very sentence (on my teeny, tiny phone's screen) we are driving back home from our tip to visit our families for Christmas. 

WE SAW ALL THE PEOPLE this year, y'all. 

The kids are lined up like human sardines behind me with a dog, three blankets and 47 DVDs smushed around them. The back of our car is crammed with garbage bags of dirty clothes, picnic totes of leftovers, (An awesome friend of mine gave me a 9x13 pan of her homemade bread pudding yesterday so my breakfasts and suppers are pretty much complete for the next three days. Thanks, Maggie!) gigantic suitcases, two cookie ions and one tiny training potty. 


Traveling with kids is not for sissies. It will erode your patience, test your resolve and irritate you more than a pair of contacts than have been worn for 72 hours straight. (Because I may have done that recently. Admittedly, it's not the smartest thing I've ever done.) 

And while we've given and received some pretty spectacular gifts over the past few days, 
I have to say that my favorite part of Christmas this year were the moments we had in between all the wrapping paper and gift bags and envelopes we opened. Especially since we missed everyone last year. 

I saw people from every side and every part of my family. I spent time with in-laws and cousins and extended family I usually only see on Facebook. We ate stuffed crabs and seafood gumbo and my Mom's incredible homemade cinnamon rolls. We told jokes and stories and forgot to fix the turkey gravy. My three kids rode with their three cousins through more mud than Tangipahoa Parish should ever make on a humid, 80° Christmas Day. 

It was perfect and exhausting and wonderful.  

As I logged onto my accounts this weekend, I noticed a lot of Christmas presents being opened and posted and boasted and shared. My NewsFeed began to look more and more like a "Look What I Just Bought/Gave/Opened Don't You Wish You Had My Life" contest.

What on earth?? 

 When did Christmas turn into a competition? Why do we have to broadcast to the world how hard "Santa" worked this year, unless it's because we want others to see and notice and be impressed? And while I can enjoy a picture of a beautifully decorated tree as much as anyone, (You just have to scroll through my blog's Facebook page to see ours. SO MUCH TINSEL!) I can't help but wonder when we post proud "look at all our presents!" pictures, what does that mean we value more: the presents underneath the tree or the presence that surrounds it. 

My hope is that as our three kids grow and give and get each Christmas that they'll remember where the true richness of the season lies: in the memories and moments and magic they'll make together. And that's a gift that just won't fit under a tree. 

"The life you see on social media isn't reality. It's everyone's highlight reel." -Dave Ramsey