It’s hereeeeeeee, the hustle and bustle of Christmas holidays. We were reminiscing last week about all the happiness we felt as kids during this festive time of year. Pure bliss with NO stress! Now as adults, the stress seems to outweigh that bliss and happiness.
I was telling Britt that when I was young, I remember how excited I was every year on Christmas Eve to open one gift before we all went to midnight mass. We all huddled into the car at 11:30pm and as usual my mom was the last one to get in. Now I know she was discarding Santa and Rudolph’s treats. Like clock work, on our way to church I’d hear my Nanny say, “Il neige avant la messe chaque année, c’est si joli! Translation – It snows before mass every year, it’s so pretty!
There wasn’t a year that went by where I didn’t hear her sweet voice say those words. And she was right, it did. As kids we loved it. It reminded us that Santa needed the snow to be able to drop off our precious cargo! During mass my thoughts were simple…Santa is probably at our house ☺.
Once we got home, I could hardly contain myself because Santa had arrived. Before we could open up any gifts, we all enjoyed the traditional French-Canadian feast. Normally, it took me hours to eat supper, but on Christmas I powered through like a champ so I could get to my gifts, lol.
Once we ate, we would all sit around the tree and open our gifts. I was all smiles, even though it was 2am. At about 3:30 am my parents would put us to bed, they would tidy things up and we always woke up to games that were assembled or battery ready.
Looking back on it now, I remember so much happiness as a child. Now I feel extremely grateful for the family I have and all that went into making my sister and I happy during the holidays.
I absolutely love Christmas. I always have and I always will. Give me some Christmas lights, and Michael Buble’s Christmas album and I’m content for hours. Christmas at the McCutcheon house meant lots of food, lots of baked goods, family time playing cards and games for hours, endless laughter and staying up as long as we possibly could.
Growing up, we rotated spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at home then heading up to my grandparents in Listowel. And then the next year we would spend those days in Listowel and come home to do our Christmas on Boxing Day. It was the best of both worlds. For us, it didn’t matter what day it was or where we spent it, as long as we had family around.
As kids, my brother was always the early riser. As excited as I would be to wake up and see what Santa brought us, I could still sleep in. At home, our rooms were right across from each other so Trev would come in and wake me up so we could head down and get started. When we were in Listowel, we were relegated to the floor in one of the bedrooms. We’d try our hardest to get to sleep, but our excitement mixed with noisy family made it incredibly difficult!
As much as I loved opening gifts from Santa and from family (what kid doesn’t?), the parts that have stayed with me as an adult are the memories of decorating the Christmas tree. Playing Santa and handing out stockings. Sorting all of the presents so everyone had their own pile. Playing cards until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. Always having the chair next to Grandpa. Eating until we had stomach aches and had to remove the snacks from the table.
I have nothing but completely positive memories of Christmas and the holidays. The McCutcheon Christmas really hasn’t changed – except now my nephews are the ones playing Santa and telling the adults to keep the noise down.
There is so much work that goes into this time of year and unfortunately, not everyone experiences the joy we did and still do. Stress can take over and it comes in many different forms. You may have a sick family member, you may be missing a loved one that can’t be with you, you’re trying to please everyone in the hopes of making all the scheduled functions, you end up sick from lack of sleep, you are financially strapped, you burned the food item that you had to bring to your Christmas work party, you can’t find that one special toy your kid wanted…the list goes on and on.
We heard a stat on the radio that said 45% of people don’t look forward to the holidays because of everything that comes with it. 45%!! How did the best holiday as a kid become one of the most stressful as adults?
We understand the holiday stress. Britt and her brother start making plans and talking about Christmas around Thanksgiving so all of the families can get organized (sometimes before Thanksgiving). But we really do try and focus on the important aspect of Christmas = being with the ones you love.
We do the best we can to keep up with all the demands, but at the end of the day, if it’s not all done and we are with family and friends…that’s all that counts. So if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed to the max, take a few minutes to just breathe and think of your loved ones. They don’t care if you didn’t get them that special gift, if you show up 10 minutes late, if you have a store bought food tray, if you need 30 minutes of alone time or if you need to ask for help. Family and friends is what will get you through the holiday. Let’s get back to the simplicity of when we were kids and feel that pure bliss and excitement that Christmas brings. We want to wish each and every one of you endless laughter, shared memories and love over the holidays.
Love Team 27