I know they use up electricity, but I do love Christmas lights. I’m not talking about fancy public displays, although those are cool, but homey, individual neighborhood ones. Driving down a street in December and discovering a few houses lit up is rather like the joy of opening an advent calendar to see what is behind each door.
To those of you who take the time to string a few lights each year: thank you. It’s like sending a bunch of flowers to the community. At the darkest time of the year you are giving us a bit of extra light.
Speaking of Advent calendars, my students seem to think that the only kind you can get have chocolate or toys in them. Of course, back in the day, each door revealed a different picture, and I was pretty excited about that. (Well, that was a long time ago,) When I told my students that we always made our own Advent calendars when my girls were little they couldn’t wrap their brains around that. What did I mean?
“Well, each day would have a little paper with a holiday activity. Like: bake cookies, go out and see the lights, read special story books, make decorations.”
They looked at me as though this concept did not qualify as a legitimate Advent Calendar.
And yet, every day, when they come in to school, they talk about the things that are most important to them. Almost all of those things are shared experiences with family, especially parents. New toys are fun, lessons and scheduled activities are life-enhancing (sometimes), but time spent with mom and dad is priceless.
It can be simple. It doesn’t have to be expensive. But its impact will last forever. It won’t just stay with your kids. There will be a time when they fly the nest and you will treasure those times more than anything money can buy.
Ask me how I know.
Ice and Fire Festival Advent Calendar: