Even though I posted a Christmas wish list last week, we’re changing directions today and talking about the meaning behind the list. Let’s start out with a little Christmas timeline, shall we?
0-3 years old: I have a really good memory, but not this good. My mom tells me stories of how she would re-wrap old toys for me to open. She said the baby/toddler years were very cheap!
3-7 years old: I started tuning into Christmas. I would write elaborate letters to Santa, ask him questions about his year and end the note with one big gift request. I remember asking for a playhouse, my first American Girl Doll and Britney Spears everything during that period.
7-11 years old: I got smarter. I realized that Santa does a pretty darn good job at picking out gifts so maybe I could get a little more specific (and greedy). Now I didn’t just ask for one thing…I wanted a karaoke machine AND an American Girl Doll in one year. A gymnastics mat AND a digital camera.
At the latter end of this time, I learned the truth about Santa. It kind of changed my Christmas demeanor for a while.
11-15 years old: I was a Christmas list making professional. I would start weeks in advance and make a PowerPoint presentation (with links to exact products). I set VERY high hopes for Christmas morning and may or may not have cried after opening gifts. Whether I was crying because there weren’t anymore gifts or because I didn’t get what I want, who knows. But I placed a very heavy importance on the gifts.
15 years old-now: I get it. I get the meaning of the season. I am very strong in my faith and was raised in the Church, so it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that it took me that long to embrace the reason for the season. But Christmas is about so much more than just the presents now. While I still have wish lists and usually ask for one big-ticket item a year, I don’t expect (or want) to receive everything. More than anything I LOVE seeing other people open gifts that I picked out for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, some of the best gifts aren’t. One year I had all of our home movies turned into DVD’s (instead of the ancient videos) so we can watch them regularly. Another time I bought an ornament and wrote a special quote on it for my parents.
Over the years I’ve thought less and less about what I want and more about I can do for others. The things I ask for now are practical, and dare I say boring. Workout clothes, yoga packages, running sneakers, cooking ware (?!), bras, and underwear. I was tempted to even ask for a gas card so I can take a few weeks off from paying for that, even though it’s so cheap now.
I still have a Pinterest board of “wish list items” because I’m human, it’s fun to dream, and in all honesty, I am fortunate enough that my family gives a big gift or two every year, so a list is helpful for them. But seeing my family smile, laughing together, and making memories will forever be at the top of my real list. Those things make me more excited than any present ever could.
What is on your real list this year?