Growing up we had as close as you can get to what most would consider the perfect Christmas. It was a month long of celebration, baking, caroling, christmas concerts. family, and presents. Our tree was up on the first monday of the month. Wee all decorated to the music of the 70’s and 80’s. We had albums that told stories of Rudolph and Santa. A nativity advent calendar was attented to daily to see the scripture that foretold of the birth of the Saviour.
Christmas eve was culminated with the story of the Christ child and us dressing up in the parts. My dad was Joseph, one of us girls were Mary, the rest of the girls were angels because shepherds were boys. A doll was the baby Jesus and my mom took the photo. Then we would hang out stockings and go to bed with our stomaches full of anticipation for the next morning. I remember trying to stay up to see the red glow of Rudolph’s nose or to hear jingle bells and hooves stomping on the roof. Try as I might I always fell asleep too soon.
The excitement would make our sleep fitful at best and finally one of us would get everyone up usually by 6:00 am to open the presents. My dad would try to stage it for us and when he was successful we would come into the living room with a lit tree surrounded by presents. I gotta say it was awesome.
Now I have a family of my own and I wish for the same joy and excitement, but being on the other side I realize how unattainable that “dream” really is. My parents practically shopped till they dropped. Even one year my mother went shopping with an eye-patch due to the irritation of the florescent lighting on her eye. They were worn out and so were their bank accounts.
Every year I try to get my tree up by the first monday, I bake, I shop and yet I feel guilty. My husband and I are still wrapping presents at 2:00 am mostly because we hadn’t wrapped any yet and I feel tired and slightly crabby. This is not the perfect Christmas at all. So why am I nocking myself out for something so unattainable?
Thanks to Norman Rockwell and others we have this idea of what christmas should be. We kill ourselves trying to make the perfect christmas and in the process screwing ourselves financially. Then when its not done in time, we try to drown our guilt in the soft chewiness of a turtle or many turtles leading weight gain and even more guilt.
Who said Christmas cards had to be out by American Thanksgiving? Why must I feel guilty and inadequate for not making everything just so? Martha? Or maybe it was some lady who didn’t have children. If she did she probably have a cook and a house keeper and nanny to so she could get all of the other stuff done.
This year due to things beyond my control we are not having a tree. I felt bad at first but now I am relieved. When we told the kids Mr. Wonderful said this year we are having a “Daddy style” Christmas. I have baked and partied. I will party some more. We will carol (sorry Tim). We will not go into debt. I have not sent cards. My packages are going to be late. I don’t feel an ounce of guilt for those because I have given myself permission to enjoy the season and guess what, I have. In fact this is the first time in a long time that I have had fun. There is something to be said for the male way of doing things. It may not be perfect but what is? And its a lot more fun.
Well I am off to the post office so my package for New Zealand can get there by February.