The wonder of the season is sometimes easy to forget.
As I was putting the final decorative touches on my umpteenth homemade cake pop on Saturday — a dessert trend that should be banned in all 50 states —my Christmas spirit began to wane. With all the baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping and endless number of must-attend events, the holiday season is definitely not the British use of the word meaning vacation.
Despite my Grinchy mood, I finished my holiday-themed desserts, put a Christmas tree shaped pin on my sweater and showed up for the family get together only 15 minutes late. All the stress of toiling in the kitchen vanished in seconds, however, as I saw the look on my nephew's face. As I laid the wreath shaped Rice Krispies treats on a plate and surrounded it with the cake pops decorated to look like snowballs, his eyes got wide. He looked at me asked, "How did you get green Rice Krispies treats?" and then, "Are those M & Ms in that?"
Adding a little green food dye and chocolate candy to rice cereal and marshmallows wasn't that big of a deal to me — but I'm not an 11-year-old boy.
That little bit of Christmas wonder that I'd inspired made me see things a little differently the rest of the evening.
I noticed that my 2-year-old grandson couldn't get enough of great grandma's menagerie of electronic singing snowmen, reindeer and Christmas puppies. He also responded with an awe-filled "wow" when opening his Christmas presents — something I thought only happened in Hollywood-produced Christmas movies.
The spirited banter between my husband and his siblings that filled the house probably hasn't been heard since they were teenagers and all living under the same roof. The goodwill of the evening even overshadowed the fact that 49ers and Seahawks fans were gathered in the same place, each wearing their respective fan gear.
The next evening, the family gathered again for a walking trip down Christmas Tree Lane. I'm not sure who was the most excited about seeing the lights, the 2-year-old who yelled "snowman" at least 50 times, or the 39-year-old federal prison guard who couldn't stop talking about Christmas Stormtroopers and the homeowners who dressed up as "Star Wars" characters to entertain the holiday visitors.
All of these observations have renewed my Christmas spirit, just in time for the big day — and another round of baking and family get togethers.
I'm just glad that watching the Christmas wonder around me did the trick and there was no need for Clarence to give me a glimpse of an alternative reality or for three spooky ghosts to visit. Because let's face it, Grinches never win!