Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for December, 2009


It is very early on December 25th and I am too excited to sleep. I have woken up about four times since we went to bed – anxiously awaiting the morning. I can’t wait to see the hopeful looks on my sons’ faces as they peek to discover that Santa has arrived.

I remember as a child often hearing my mom say, “I would rather give a gift than receive a gift.” As a child I did not understand this; as a parent I do.
Believe it or not, my pace has slowed this holiday week and I have had more time than normal to reflect and be reminded of what is most important. Maybe it is all the snow that has kept us inside; or maybe it is the joy I see each day as my children countdown the days until Christmas.

Hope, love, joy and gifts. These are the gifts of Advent that we have discussed in our home as we prepared for Christmas. But there is another word that has crossed my mind this week as well: traditions. Traditions that make this holiday all it should be – and all it will be – for my family. Baking family recipes, reading my mom’s Advent program, the silly games we play with the naughty elf in our house. Even most of our Christmas decorations go up in the same place each year, much to the delight of children: like the children’s nativity set that has often been infused with Lego men this December. It is wonderful.

My hope is that these traditionsthat will one day help teach my children the joy of giving and sharing with others. We are getting there. My older son asked if he could go to the mall to buy his brother a present. My younger son could not wait to wrap a calender for his brother, shortly after he declared (on our way to the sledding hill), “Snow and family! That’s all I need for Christmas!” He might feel differently if there was nothing under the tree for him, but with comments like that how could Santa not go shopping?

As you gather together in celebration, I wish you the gifts of love, hope and joy. Merry Christmas.

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    This month has been filled with everything it should be filled with: events at my children’s school, family time, a little chaos, and lucky-for-us some snow. I’ve also been sharing the inspiration. In fact, I did all of this (school time, family time, snow time and book time) two weeks ago on a chaotic day that ended in a car accident. I am fine. My car is fine (now). But it was an icy bridge – and cars just could not stop.

    It was interesting for me to process this…to think about what it meant to wait on the side of a snow-filled road. As it snowed again today (over 20 inches – a record for Annapolis I think) I was thankful to stay home and also thankful for the blessings of our safety and good health.

    My cousin wasn’t so lucky. My car accident (really, a fender bender – I was rear-ended) did not concern me, as you might think it would. And even if it had, I would have been reminded three days later that it could have been much worse. As my cousin was crossing the road at an intersection, he was hit by a speeding car. He suffered several broken bones, and while he’ll make a full recovery, he underwent surgery and is still in the hospital nearly two weeks later.

    I often write about perspective, and this certainly would fall under that category. I was in an icy-snow fender-bender, but I was not hurt. I could choose to stay inside and not leave my house, or I could be thankful for my safety and health, be careful, and continue to live my life doing the things I love: going to events at my sons’ school, traveling with family, being a little chaotic and of course sharing the inspiration.

    Happy snow day!

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    Happy Thanksgiving - almost a week late. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays…for many reasons. For one, it is a time to reflect on everything in our lives for which we are thankful. I think many of us could spend more time in thanksgiving, rather than focusing on our hardships. Being thankful should be a way of life, instead of a holiday. But nonetheless I enjoy the day taking time to reflect on my many blessings.

    I also enjoy Thanksgiving because it kicks off my favorite time of year: Advent, otherwise known as “the Christmas season.” For some, this begins when the red and green candy appears in the grocery stores in October, but for me, it begins with Advent.

    The holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving, kick-off a month (or so) of family, friendship and faith (whatever your faith may be). This also includes many traditions, upon which memories are made.

    We altered our Thanksgiving tradition this year by attending the Macy’s Day Parade in New York. We loved it, but we also made sure we were back home in time to continue one of our favorite traditions: decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving night. We put the kids to bed, and Deck the Halls. And we don’t stop until we are done. I had many friends relay their Thanksgiving comments to me: “I bet the DeMarias are decorating!” This is not a tradition from our childhood, but one we know is creating memories for our children.

    The other reason I love Advent is because of my own memories. Growing up, we celebrated each Sunday in Advent with a special dinner and a special program that my mom created. I still have a copy of her hand-written Advent program, and I know I always will. I have typed up and given her program to many friends, but I will always keep the copy in her own writing.

    This, to me, is what is so meaningful about the holiday season: honoring family and traditions from our past, sharing traditions and special times with friends, and creating traditions and memories for our children.

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