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Una Mamma Italiana
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Una Mamma Italiana
This time of year can get pretty hectic. Everyone's getting ready for Christmas - the most wonderful time of the year! 'Tis the season to hit the malls and spend all the money you don't have on outlandish, impressive Christmas gifts (half of them for people you don't even care about). Am I right? Well, if I am, it's only a result of the commercialization of this joyous holiday.
But when did this all happen? When did society become so concerned with “who bought what for who?”, and “how much did she spend on him?” Has it not tired anyone else out? Because I'm spent - in more ways than one! Let's face it, in today's economy, who has the financial resources to buy for everyone in their family, their circle of friends, and their office? And even if we did, I pay a mortgage to live in my house, not at the mall. It's the time of year you want to be home with family and friends, celebrating the joys of the season.
Joys…..the season….can't remember what those are all about? Let me remind you. The only reason we even have this glorious holiday to celebrate is because of what happened over 2000 years ago - the birth of Christ. I know it's hard to remember in a busy world where nativity scenes are offensive and the colors red and green are insulting to those who don't believe in Christ. To each is own, I guess. But realistically, Christmas has been around a long time and it's not going anywhere!
And what else has been around as long as Christmas except for family traditions? Everyone has their holiday customs, be it a special recipe, or a family game. For my family, it's purely about being together and showing each other our love.
We spend all of advent preparing for the big day. The kids make countdown chains of linked construction paper. We light up the house until we blow a fuse. And we, of course, put out the nativity scene. The baby Jesus, however, is not displayed until Christmas morning - before we open the presents. That's because we try to keep the real meaning of Christmas in the front of our minds all season long. We try extra hard to get most of the shopping done early so we can focus on making our homemade gifts in the weeks before Christmas. Whether it's homemade limoncello or a handmade baby blanket, the gifts mean so much more when made with love.
Another way we try to spread the love around is by doing good deeds for each other around the house. We have a small wire tree that looks like a bunch of ugly, naked branches. But with every helpful act, the kids get to hang a little ornament on the tree, making it a beautiful Advent Tree. This way, they feel rewarded when they help me with the dishes or clean their siblings' room! No matter how you get it done, the message is what really matters.
And all of these lessons on love come together beautifully by Christmas. The Christmas Eve meal is shared (without meat, of course) in an atmosphere of true thanksgiving. We are thankful that we have family or friends to share the holiday with. We remember that our ancestors before us might not have been so fortunate to feast on the all the fish, pasta, and freshly baked bread that we have. And most of all, we are grateful to God for a whole year of blessings.
It is these lessons that we must pass on to our children, not the amount of money you've just spent on their brand new toys under the tree. And regardless of what society might make Christmas about, we must never forget the true reason for this wonderful holiday - God's greatest gift to the world.
So this Christmas, don't worry so much about what you buy or what you get. Instead, resolve to do a random act of kindness for someone you love, or better yet - for someone you are trying really hard to like! You're sure to create beautiful family traditions while teaching important lessons all at the same time. The most important thing is to be together, and remember that having each other is the greatest gift of all.
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