This was a memorable Christmas in my family's home.
It wasn't about ribbons. It wasn't about tags. It wasn't about packages, boxes, or bags. It didn't come from a store. This Christmas... perhaps... meant a little bit more.
You see, Gracie is now two years old. Which made this the first Christmas that she could comprehend Santa, Rudolph, The Grinch, baby Jesus, opening presents, and every thing else magical about this time of year. For Leilani and I, all the euphoric excitement of being a kid at Christmas returned like a fat man falling down a chimney.
Gracie didn't cry in early December sitting on Santa's lap. She politely asked Santa for an Elmo balloon with a fascinated look on her face.
As a family, we watched the old animated version of The Grinch every night leading up to Christmas. Gracie ran around the house singing 'Frosty the snowman' over and over again. We all ate way too much sugar. And all of our hearts fluttered with the anticipation of Christmas morning.
On Christmas Eve, after my extended family's traditional Christmas trivia contest, the three of us left two cookies and a glass of milk on the kitchen table for Santa, with a carrot for Rudolph. After reading a few Christmas stories, Gracie went to sleep easily. I doubt that visions of sugar plumbs danced in her head. Likely, Santa danced to Jingle Bells with Dora and Elmo and a Care Bear.
It felt like a cultural right of passage to eat the cookies meant for Santa. We left one bite of cookie and carrot on the plate, placed the Elmo balloon under the tree, and tried to get some much needed rest before a few hectic days.
On Christmas morning, we carried Gracie downstairs in her reindeer pajamas and took her to the kitchen table. When she saw the bite of cookie and carrot and the empty glass of milk her face lit up like the Christmas tree. 'Wow' was all that blurted out of her hushed voice.
We took her over to the tree. The Elmo balloon was above her head and she was fixated on the stockings and presents in front of her face. Leilani pulled the Elmo into her line vision and another memorized 'wow' instinctively came out. The rest of the morning flew by with Gracie overwhelmingly opening present after present.
As morning turned into noon, Leilani looked over the presents covering our living floor and bits of wrapping paper that our dog, Kuma, was still shredding and said, 'It looks like Santa's workshop exploded in our living room!' She tried to find new storage spots for all of Gracie's toys and finally sighed, 'We need a bigger house.'
She's right. Especially now that we have another little one on the way. But my heart sank a little bit.
We get emotionally attached to our homes more than any other possession. We make most of our greatest memories in our homes. It's difficult to think that someday we'll leave this place and make more memories somewhere else.
Selling your home can be an emotional challenge. It can feel like you're giving away all the good times you created inside those four walls. I'm not saying it's easy, just that I understand. I'm here to make it go as smoothly as possible.