This time of year it’s natural to be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Calendars are packed solid with parties, pageants and programs. Our shopping lists grow like weeds and we scramble to capture the best deals and stretch our hard earned cash in the spirit of giving.
At the beginning of December, our five year old ran into our living room clapping her hands with delight. “Mama, how many more sleeps until Christmas?” she squealed, jumping up and down. I thought to myself, wow, this is going to be a looooong holiday season!
But as the days passed, I noted her enthusiasm for the holidays in the everyday occurrences. It caused me to stop and reflect on what this time of year looks like through a child’s eyes.
Think about the snow storms this time of year. To us, a heavy snowfall means lots of work, from shoveling sidewalks and driveways to plowing snow for the roads and neighbors.
But to a child, they see glistening, glittery snowflakes falling from the sky with abundance. With every dropping flake, they see an opportunity to transform fluffy, growing heaps of frozenness into a winter playland. Piles of snow are the makings of snowman families and forts, and of course, the possibility of every school-aged child’s dream – a SNOW DAY!!
A simple drive through our sleepy little town calls for ooohs and ahhhs of delight from the backseat of our car. Tiny voices cheer with delight at the lights hung from street lights and adorning households and trees. An inflatable Santa or a white lighted reindeer herd calls for applause and giggles. The lights are always there year after year, but they’re appreciated by kids as if they’re there for the first time, ever!
Each December our family takes an excursion to the holiday train in Waterman. To be honest, in adult terms, it’s a little train that takes us on a one lap journey around the perimeter of the park. But to our kids, they might as well be riding the Polar Express! There’s always a scramble for seats and cozy blankets as we tuck ourselves into the railcars for our ride.
We venture past light up snowflakes and light displays, through a tunnel and back around the bend. Afterwards, we chat with Santa and take a photo, then grab a cup of hot cocoa to sip on. My husband and I leave feeling like human icicles, but our kids are so wrapped up in the experience, they don’t even register the cold. And they always, always declare it’s the best ride ever!
One of the last, but most important things I’ve seen through a child’s eyes this year is the act of giving. It’s both powerful and inspiring to see our kids getting into the spirit.
I’ve seen it in action when our kids give our quarter loaded grocery cart away to the next customer, or drop coins into the red bucket with a bell ringer. It’s shown when they bake dozens upon dozens of cookies with my mom, or pick out a gift for a stranger.
No matter what we do during this season of giving, our little ones are watching and learning. They take delight in helping others and in the simplicity of the season. I think they’re on to something, don’t you?
I hope you’ll find time to take a break and study a fresh fallen snow, take in the glimmer of lights, or catch a quick train ride.
From our family to yours, I wish you all the childlike delights of the holiday season!