When I was growing up, I had few pleasant memories of the holidays but the ones that I do remember invoke a feeling of excitement, gifts and anticipation. When I had children I wanted to recreate those emotions in myself and wanted to create those feelings in them and make the holidays special. I would decorate the house and the tree and get excited about shopping for each unique gift. And then as my children were born we started on our traditions, buying an ornament for each of them to open early, reading the same books and baking delicious treats. Then I started a collection of Snowbabies® for them that I handpicked based on what was significant in their lives at that time, baseball or music, etc. Some years were tough and I have to admit that my anxiety and stress made it difficult to celebrate, but I did anyway, for my children. My children are now grown and they are creating their own families and memories for my grandchild (soon to be grandchildren). I love hearing my daughter talk about how she is setting traditions based off of her own childhood traditions.
For many the holidays can be a difficult time where financial pressures and increased depression become overwhelming. Admittedly, we had some lean years where the gifts were not extravagant but I always tried to get them what they wanted and my children tell me how much they remember this time of year as being special. They remember waking up early and checking out the gifts, they remember how I had made opening presents special and they each had their own section under the tree. They remember breakfast and spending time together. They remember that three of us were family and that regardless of money or gifts that the holiday was special to them. And today, as my family continues to grow, holidays are becoming special to me in a way that is different than when I was a child or a mother of young children. They are becoming special as I watch my family love each other and spend time together laughing, joking, having fun and growing up.