October 04, 2020 5 min read 1 Comment
When you make your Christmas to-do list, what does it include? Do you list presents to buy? Events to attend? Food to be cooked? Decorations to put up? Does your to-do list stress you out or inspire you? What if I told you this year your Christmas To-Do List could have only one thing on it and capture the essence of all you needed to accomplish this holiday season?
A Merry COVID Christmas To-Do List:
My love for Christmas didn’t come from getting the most popular present of the year or attending the social event of the season. It came from the effort my family put in to spending time together and making it JOYful. I’m sure as a kid, I really looked forward to the presents, but that’s not at all what I remember about Christmas…at least not in the way you would think.
This is my MiMi. She's one of the greatest people I've ever known. She is who I strive to be. She embodied love, laughter, adventure, and Jesus!
MiMi LOVED holidays. She took every opportunity possible to celebrate anything and everything. She decorated for everything from St. Patrick’s to Labor Day and anything else you can think of! She relished having her family together and worked hard to create laughs and make sure everyone went home with their hearts, spirits and bellies full. I don’t know if the holidays stressed her out or not, but if they did, she never showed it. I think, somehow, she always kept the main thing the main thing. She knew each holiday season was unique and it was the only moment in time things would be that way. Something always changes by the next holiday, so she seized the opportunity to make the most of each one. In 2020 it seems like laughs have been in short supply, so I think we could use some advice from an expert on bringing laughter to the holidays…especially this year!
MiMi had a one-of-a-kind laugh and loved nothing more than to laugh and make others laugh. She was notorious for her gift giving and the chuckles it initiated. So, if you would like to bring more laughter into your home this holiday season, take a few tips from MiMi. Every year she would wrap all her presents in advance, but she wouldn’t put name tags on the packages, because she didn’t want the grandkids trying to figure out what was in theirs. She would write the recipient’s initials inconspicuously on the bottom of the package, but often in the pattern of the paper, she wouldn’t be able to find them when she passed out the presents. That meant sometimes my uncle got my mom’s bathrobe or my aunt got my dad’s socks, but inevitably, we all got a great laugh! I’ve always wondered if those mix-ups were truly a mistake or if she orchestrated them to look accidental just to get us all tickled.
Sometimes the laughs were accidental, but it was even better when they were intentional. MiMi loved a gag gift better than anyone I know. She was so proud of herself when she got a good one in. For my sixteenth birthday, she asked me what I wanted, and I told her a ‘57 Chevy. She got me one. It was black with flames down the side and had a pull string to make it race across the floor. But, the most memorable of her gag gifts was one she got my brother. When she asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said money. That year, when he opened his last present, it took a minute for him to figure out what it was. MiMi had a tooth pulled that year, and it had a gold filling. She gave him the tooth and told him he could sell the gold for money. Best. Gag. Ever! It sure taught my brother to be careful what you ask for! I’m pretty sure he still has that tooth and will pass it down to the first of our kids who only asks for money for Christmas!
My MiMi passed away in 1998, and she gave him that gift before then, but to this day, if my family is together and we try to tell that story to someone, we still can’t do it without laughing. That’s the legacy I want to leave for my family…. that 22 years after I’m gone, I still bring them genuine JOY when they think of me and the time we spent together. I’m not worried about whether they can remember my holiday place settings, decorations, outfits or presents as long as they smile when they remember the effort we put in to spending time together.
MiMi’s gift giving was just the beginning of the fun at her house. She always had a new game for us to play. Chicken foot, Royal Rummy, Pictionary, Yahtzee, Scattergories…just to name a few. It never failed that these games would result in side-splitting, laugh-until-you-can’t-breathe laughter.
Maybe games and gag gifts are not your jam…maybe movies, caroling or cooking together triggers your collective funny bone. Whatever the activity, just make time to be together without rushing from one holiday “to-do” to the next. That’s the key to adding more laughs and less stress to this holiday season.
Finding ways to increase laughter this year may not be at the top of your priority list right now. With all the challenges of living during the COVID pandemic, it seems we’re just putting one foot in front of the other and dealing with whatever comes our way on a day-to-day basis, but it’s times like these when we need laughter more than ever. So, before you get buried in gift buying, decorating, and cooking, first ask yourself how you can help your family find more laughter this holiday. That will be one holiday to-do that you will never regret and keeping a grateful spirit that seeks out JOY will help you get through the hardest times life can throw at you.
I’m sure as we go through this series, you’ll hear more about MiMi. She’s our inspiration for many of our favorite holiday traditions, and she always found a way to make sure we were having fun. Who in your life brings the most JOYto holidays? I’d love to hear about them and their favorite ways to add more laughter to the holidays. Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a picture and share their tips and tricks on our Facebook page, Chirstmas Pickle VIPS.
We hope this series on how to have a Merry COVID Christmas is helping you find inspiration for the Holiday Season of 2020.
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