Before he was born, I'll admit it: I'd become a pirate. (You know, all grown-ups are pirates?) Especially around the holidays -- I just didn't enjoy them, with all the "have-to's" and family bickering about presents and schedules and worrying about money and traveling and weather...
And then I had a kid, and the magic is back.
It's not even just the holidays; it's silly things, like watching him eat his first corn dog from the side rather than from the end, and realizing that there's no reason that you "have to" do things the way everyone else does, or seeing his reaction to completely ordinary foods that are brand new to him; watching with him the same movies I watched when I was a kid, and remembering why I loved them when I was small even though they may seem silly now as an adult.
But this time of year... how excited he is to have all the family together; all the questions he's asking about how Santa does things, what Santa's doing right now, if Santa shops at Walmart; the pure joy in his eyes when we drive by houses with (even poorly-done) Christmas lights; wanting to give everyone "Thanksgiving presents" in the form of pieces of candy from his Halloween stash. He makes it fun again.
So tomorrow, with the little guy being at the most fun age ever, we are going to decorate the house with Christmas decorations like we've never done before! Which means buying some... but that kid's smile is absolutely worth however much a few strings of Christmas lights and some yard decorations may cost. (But oh, believe me when I say we'll be shopping at discount stores.)
What about you? What makes this time of year fun for you? If you're a "pirate" like I used to be, what could it be like if you were to try and see the holiday season with "fun" eyes -- what could be fun, if you wanted it to be?