With the craziness of final projects, presentations and papers for school, cleaning, shopping and preparing to cook for Thanksgiving (not that I ordinarily would not have, but I wanted things to be “extra” nice as we had a guest– you know how it is! When you love and appreciate that guest- you want it to be special.)…not to mention volunteering for two events in a week at the boys school (a cookie exchange for the staff I coordinate every year and a Winter Solstice Celebration that I head up every year for the entire school), I was feeling well…tired. Thanksgiving came and went and I didn’t have one once of Christmas decorating or shopping spirit in me. Traditionally, Ashish and I mark the start of the season on our anniversary (November 26th) with the boys by staying overnight in Minneapolis at the Hyatt, watching the Hollidazzle parade, seeing the Macy’s holiday display and each picking out a “special” ornament (well, the kids and I at least!). That all didn’t happen this year– and I was 100% fine with it. Maybe it was because of my theology class?? I really started to soak in the REAL meaning of the season…and it’s nothing you can find under a tree. It’s nothing that sparkles in a parade or shines on a window. We didn’t get to go to the Grand Meander this year (another annual tradition that we didn’t make it to because of the second snow storm– actually, a blizzard– of the season). I was ok with this too… This year, we didn’t go cut down our tree at a tree farm…Yup, I was okay with this too. Instead, I picked up the boys from school with a chai tea in hand and said, “C’Mon, Boys! You’re going to go pick out a Christmas tree for our house!” I headed to the local Ace Hardware about a mile from our house, the boys both marched over to the same tree and said, “This is the one! Our tree!” I replied, “Really? Don’t you want to look at some others?” They insisted this was “the one.” So, the wonderful man that works there tied it up on the roof of the car and off we headed to bring it home. As soon as we pulled up the driveway, it began to snow. The boys got out of the car jumping up and down, marveling at the tree they picked out, full of excitement, hugging me with words of, “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!! It’s the BEST TREE EVER!” And…that’s when it happened…The Christmas spirit slipped in my heart. I suppose it was always there…even in the hustle and bustle…even in the daily stress of a “do-to” list…that’s part of the magic of the season. Seeing the joy of the season through my boys eyes renewed my love for the holiday- and all that goes along with it.