"Auntie is coming! Auntie is coming!"
...is all I hear for a few hours before the special event that my kids look forward to (well, very loudly look forward to, I should say)
every Christmas. Every year, Auntie Jocelyn, my sister, comes to stay with us for several days, and it is an event that is treasured.
My sister is a Christian elementary school teacher and loves being with children. She comes with a car packed full of little treasures. Fun crafts to be assembled. Special treats to be eaten. New clothes for the kids to wear, because she loves to go shopping. And of course, the ultimate excitement of all, for my children, the presents!!!!
And that is exactly how it should be. Excitement! The joy of seeing a relative after many months away. Catching up on their life, and what they are doing. Simply, a sharing each other's company during the holidays.
I remember as a little girl the same excitement getting to visit with other families.
We were always the ones who went to other people's houses for the special holiday events since we lived so far away, but there was always great anticipation regardless. For me, I looked forward to playing with my cousins. We are all similar in ages, so for hours at a time, we'd play Pool on my grandpa's pool table. To this day, I still can play 8-ball pretty decently. Homemade rock candy or Grandma's peanut butter balls were always anticipated. Bacon frying for breakfast with the smell of freshly made coffee. Or even, Grandpa's suet pudding with lick dab (google it, you'll understand then) The food around the Christmas time will always stay in my memory.
One set of grandparents lived on a small farm. While there were no farm animals, there was a ton of room to go outside and play...only if it wasn't freezing cold. They lived in Michigan, and so we often encountered snow when visiting. But, one thing they did have was cable television. And for 3 straight days, we would get to watch lots of cartoons, movies, and marathons of Star Trek. My Dad's sister is a "Trekkie", a serious Star Trek fan, so we all quickly learned to enjoy that show. Captain Kirk, Scottie, Bones, and of course Spock are some of my favorite characters in that tv series.
So this Christmas season, whether you are the visitor or are visiting friends and family, I encourage you to make memories! Memories rarely require a lot of money, but they do require YOU to be present. Be active and engaged in conversations. Make silly faces and take selfies with the cousins, aunts & uncles, grandparents, in-laws (and outlaws too!). Eat some good food, help your grandma clean-up the kitchen, open the presents, and laugh. Share in the joy that only being present will give you, because I promise you, thirty years from now that will be what is remembered.
And now, I must get that guest room in order, because Auntie Jocelyn will be here very soon!