This time of year is always out of control. On top of the normal life of work and kids, we parents suddenly have to find the perfect gifts for friends and family, send out Christmas cards, bake cookies, decorate our houses, wrap dozens of presents, and make everyone feel extra happy and loved.
All of this pressure gets stressful and often leaves me forgetting to focus on what really matters, the holiday itself. One thing, however, has always helped me remember what the season is all about, and that’s a Christmas performance.
The performance that my kids’ elementary school puts on every year helps me get in the holiday spirit more than anything else. Since back when my oldest was in kindergarten, this particular performance has touched my heart in a special way just when I need it most. It’s not elaborate, but sweet to the core.
All of the classes from kindergarten through fifth grade sing traditional Christmas carols. Older students sing solos and read lessons, and the parents get to join in and sing as well. It’s in a beautiful church, and it often ends with a tradition called the Candle Dance when the church is darkened and the middle school girls dance up the aisles carrying candles. Every year a lump forms in my throat watching my kids — as adorable kindergartners singing “Away in a Manger” or beautiful teenagers taking part in the Candle Dance.
I can’t imagine how the parents of the kids in our recent story spotlighting holiday performers feel. These three talented youth are involved in various professional productions this holiday season, from “The Nutcracker” to “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. It’s pretty cool to read about how they got where they are and what it means to them.
This year, my older kids have swim meets out of town the weekend of the annual school Christmas concert, so I will miss it for the first time in 12 years. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to get myself out of crazy mode and into the holiday spirit. I just might have to catch one of these other performances.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 15, Adam, 15, and Jonah, 11.