October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year. We are gifted with the three greatest holidays (four including my birthday), sweater weather, and holiday flavors at Starbucks. While I adore Halloween and Thanksgiving, Christmas takes the cake. It was awesome as a kid to have all that bottled up excitement, anticipating all of the presents waiting for me under the tree. As a mother, it’s even more thrilling seeing my five-year-old son with that same excitement, overflowing with the magical innocence of the holiday spirit.

I love the way stores are adorned from top to bottom with rich hues of red and green coming at you from all angles. I love the decor, I love the candles, I love the winter blankets. I love the scents of pumpkin spice and cinnamon apple that fill the air. I love the idea of a fully decorated, and inviting home for the holidays. I love the idea of a home that embraces you with the warmth of Christmas. But, if you walked into my house, you wouldn’t guess that I love Christmas as much as I say I do.

Why does my house have a very fake, and very small tree? Why do I have just a few decorations that have been dragged out of the same box year after year? Why am I faking the holiday scents with wall plug-ins versus baking? If I love Christmas so much, why don’t I do all of the things I love about it?

It’s simple, really. The magic of Christmas is not in the size of the tree. It’s not in the decor. It’s not in the scents or colors or activities. It’s in the people. It’s in my son’s eyes when he is waiting to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. It’s in the cuddles on the couch while we watch Home Alone or Elf. It’s in the crisp evenings driving down the road listening to our favorite holiday songs. It’s in the joy of receiving gifts from those we love and learning to find joy in giving to others.

Every year I think I will buy a ton of new Christmas decorations and spend hours putting them up, pack our schedule full with all of the local activities, and force everyone to partake in a dozen new family traditions. And every year, I change my mind. I don’t want to fill the season with a list of things we should do to create the magic. Because while you’re busy trying to create the magic the way you think you’re supposed to, that’s when you miss the real magic.

So we’ll sit around our tiny tree in our sparsely decorated home and we will enjoy the beauty of the season, in our own magical way.