First thing this morning, before we opened our stockings, I greeted each of my five kids with a peek-a-boo mug, a strategically-placed cocoa bomb covering the animal at the bottom.
As I added hot water to the mugs, a few of the kids – teenagers notwithstanding – exclaimed some version of “heyyyy, cool” as the bombs broke open and dissolved. Throughout the morning I was treated to more exclamations as they sipped and animals appeared before their eyes.
While the surprise took some doing to pull off, and the combination of small ceramic teacup animals and melting chocolate created a cleanup situation I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, in the end both the effort and subterfuge were worth it as the kids spied small animal heads appearing one by one.
Sometimes – most of the time right now, yes? – it really is the little things.
I’m not sure any of my kids got particularly memorable gifts this year. There weren’t any game systems or electric scooters in my house. Instead, coziness and comfort seemed to be the common theme. Hoodies and sweats, pillows, warm socks, fuzzy pajamas and fleece hooded blankets dominated, with a few fun gadgets sprinkled in.
I can’t say we planned it that way, but looking back at 2020, it seems appropriate, doesn’t it?
All day I felt like I was flip-flopping between wondering when the party was really going to start, and feeling incredibly grateful for the warmth and simple pleasures surrounding me. And Clara stated several times that this is the best Christmas she could remember, even while curling up in her fuzzy pajamas and fleece blanket, looking about as pensive as an 11 year old has a right to.
I think we all feel a bit conflicted right now. On some cellular level, we recognize that we’re coming off a hard year, and that the holiday this year is lacking some of the excitement we’re used to. Yet – it is the holiday, and we welcome the reason to celebrate.
We’re grieving what we miss, but finding a surprising amount of joy in what we have.
This Christmas, the stakes were both higher -after a year like 2020, we all really needed this holiday to be pleasant and peaceful – but also lower: after a year like 2020, “pleasant and peaceful” were all we really needed. While this may not have been the flashiest holiday my family has experienced, what it lacked in glamour it made up for in simple pleasures.
So many of us are in a hard place right now: missing our usual family celebrations, our traditions, our travels. We’re worried or sad or disappointed for a hundred reasons. And that is 100% understandable.
But I hope tonight, after you’ve picked up the hundredth tiny bit of wrapping paper, or finally got that toy working after wrestling with the battery pack for an hour, or stepped on an errant piece of Lego, that you can look back over your day and identify a few moments of comfort and coziness.
There may have been grumpiness (yours, or your kids’). There may even have been tears (your kids’, or yours.) But likely there were also some brief flashes of comfort and joy. For just a little while, let’s lean in on that.
This was a rough year, but we rode it out. And here we are, still riding it out. There is much to celebrate in that. Here’s to those small, sweet moments of cozy comfort – whether it’s a snuggle from a small, fuzzy-pajama-ed sidekick or an affirmative “bruh!” from a teenager opening a gift.
We’ve earned those moments, mama, and no matter what 2021 has in store for us, one thing we can count on is that there are many more to come.
Thank you so much for following along with me as I documented 25 days of ideas, tips and insights this holiday. Here’s wishing you and your family much comfort for the rest of 2020, and many things to look forward to in the year to come. –Meagan