BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES
When we’re children it seems like Christmas takes forever to arrive. Santa cannot slide down the chimney soon enough.
I miss that feeling of having to practice patience, because lately it seems like everything is getting here too soon.
Children tend to rush through the festivities. They fiercely tear open the wrapping paper from their gift to get to their toys. As adults, we appreciate the connection with our family that this time of year brings and we are aware of our blessings.
We look forward to spending time with those we love. Personally, I find what we like most about Christmas has nothing to do with the gifts we receive and everything to do with the people we spend it with.
The holidays always prompt my nostalgia. The time reminds me of memories that I cherish, like the Christmas my mom made clothes for the three dolls I owned (one of which I had brought from Cuba) and how excited I was that Santa had done this for me.
Another favorite memory would be the year my brother pulled me out of bed at 1 a.m. to look out the window. Peeking outside from our little house in downtown McAllen, we saw none other than Santa. He stood in the freezing rain taking out bicycles from his car.
I felt so guilty about having caught Santa that I made my brother swear he would not say anything to my parents.
I will never forget my mom in the kitchen and the aroma of Cuban food wafting through the house. Year after year she prepared the traditional dish, lechon (Cuban pork).
Music would blare from the stereo as she set the tables for our Christmas Eve party. If I happened to walk next to her, she would grab me and twirl me around the room to dance salsa.
My mother loved Christmas and worked hard to make everything special for us, her family. I now know how much work it takes, but I also understand why she loved doing it.
Nothing makes me happier than getting my relatives together and ensuring the next generation learns to appreciate the meaning of family.
The gifts we treasure in life should have nothing to do with the ones we can hold in our hands, but everything to do with the ones we hold in our hearts.
The gift I cherish the most is the love I am shown from my family. There is no greater blessing. Nothing means more to me on Christmas than to gather everyone and share cherished traditions.
On Christmas Eve, once everyone has left and I am walking through my house turning off lights, I think of my mom. I realize even though she is no longer with us, her love surrounds us and continues to guide us.
May your home be filled with the rebirth of Christmas spirit and may your hearts receive the love of Christ as you celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily or on Instagram @mlsalcines. You can also contact her on her blog, FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.