In answer to the above question - of course it is. Despite the cost, the stress, the clean up, the travel and the tiredness, I'm going to spend some time telling you why, there is no doubt, Christmas is definitely the most wonderful time of the year.
I sit here writing this article as a 22 year old, who has year after year gone through the Christmas traditions of decorating the tree on Christmas pageant weekend, watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve, waking early Christmas morning to full Santa sacks, seeing Father Christmas' beard all over the house, popping bon-bons with your neighbour at the lunch table, playing with new toys until they went flat and finally, falling asleep on the couch as the sun went down to The Santa Claus movie playing in the background. And I still love it just as much!!
Christmas tales and traditions are different for everyone and I have never, EVER taken it for granted that no matter the circumstances, my parents have always made Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. It wasn't necessarily the presents or the food or the countless chocolate stockings, but it was the fact that I got to spend time with ALL my family. Growing up I had older cousins, who no matter what, always bounced on the trampoline with us or played our new board games. When I reached the age of 13, I finally became a big cousin for the first time and Christmas became even more special. December 25th was always a time for nothing but love and cuddles.
As we got older, the Christmas traditions never changed, despite realising that it was Dad who had left cotton balls all over the house as Father Christmas' beard!! My brother, sister and I would still be just as excited for Christmas morning and we would lay awake together, cramped in one room because our grandparents were given our beds, waiting for the clock to tick over to 6am so we could finally see what Father Christmas had left for us! As the day moved on, we would wait patiently until after lunch, when one of the adults would place a Christmas hat on their head and play Santa, as presents under the tree were handed out. There would be so many hugs, kisses and giggles as everyone received their gifts. This is one of my favourite parts of the day, because all that time and effort you put into making or choosing someone's present is received with the warmest of smiles and sometimes even a small tear.
As December 25th, 2015 draws closer and treees go up, lights go on, and presents are wrapped, I can't help but feel giddy. I get to play all day with my little cousins, cook dessert with Nanna, shoot Dad with a water pistol and drink champagne with Mum. So forget about the stress, forget about the money and forget about the mess. No matter what, everyone will have fun, you can always make more money and the mess will be cleaned up eventually. On Christmas Day, take a moment to sit back and watch the smiles and laughs of those closest to you. To me, this is success in life, to watch those around you happy, knowing you've had a part in that. Christmas is so special, especially for children, and as they get older they'll realise it's not special because of all the toys they get or all the lollies they get to munch on. It's special because of the special people around them.