As I am writing this letter, we have all the lights in the house turned out except for the Christmas decorations, and Christmas movies playing on the TV. It’s two nights before Christmas, and you’re making your rounds of the living room. You check out the tree, then play with a toy, look at a book, come say hi to me, watch TV for a while, and you are just so excited about all of it. Your exuberance is infectious, we find ourselves getting excited over the mundane when viewing the world through your eyes. Christmas is especially magical.

I’ve always loved Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday. But there were years when I was not filled with the holiday spirit. In fact this is the first time we put up our tree in the past three years. Two years ago, I wasn’t in the mood, in fact I had a rather humbuggy attitude because it was right after your Grandpa (my Daddy) died, and that made me mad.

Last year I was pregnant with you, we were broke, and there was a horrible winter storm that blocked our car in, so we couldn’t go get our tree and decorations out of storage. But your Daddy gave me a wonderful Christmas gift that year. While I was napping on Christmas Eve, he trekked through the snow to the nearest open store and used our last few dollars to buy a pack of Christmas lights, and a couple other little items. I woke up to an improvised Christmas tree, with the lights wrapped around our easel, and decorated with a tiny stocking, a little stuffed animal, and chocolate. It was absolutely beautiful to me.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the meaning of Christmas when you’re surrounded with decorations, presents, and superficial familial niceties. Sometimes it’s those lean years, when you have so little that the beauty of Christmas reveals itself. In fact, this might sound mean, but I hope you have lean times. It is the lean times that teach you to appreciate what you have. They also teach you management skills that few of us learn otherwise. But mostly, I want you to experience the lean times because they magnify joy and beauty if you let them. These are the moments where you learn to see through the superficial, and appreciate what’s real and meaningful.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year, although I’m quite certain you wont remember much of it. I hope you keep that wide eyed wonder over the years to come. Don’t let yourself become jaded. Choose joy. And as far as that Santa Clause guy is concerned, he’ll grow on you over time. In fact it wont be long till you will look forward to seeing him.

Merry Christmas Baby Girl.



Read more Letters to Gem.

Judy Schwartz Haley


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