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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Many Ways I Fail at Making Christmas Magical

I was reminded today at how I really disappoint at Christmas time.  I read a hilarious blog about those stupid Elf on Shelf things.

Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

I think the things are freakish and creepy.  I pointed out that if they had been called Odd Metrosexual in Unitard Child Stalkers they would not have been quite so popular.

Wow. People LOVE their elves.

I apparently am Scrooge.  My friends on Facebook politely defended their little buddy.

Well, here's the scoop, while I do enjoy the holiday season, I prefer Thanksgiving and Halloween over Christmas.  No pressure.  They are one day events.  I can handle one day.

Christmas falls at a bad time of year for me.  My daughter's birthday is the 20th, so I'm always trying to pull something out of my butt to make it look special and not over done by Christmas.  It's also the end of the year for my business, so I'm hurrying to make sure all those silly things that MUST get done, get done.  Real things that if they don't get done, I can get fined or penalized.  Kinda sucks the fun out of it.

Then throw in the fact that the entire point of the holiday has now become shopping (something I hate) and decorating (not my forte)-- it's starting to wane a tad as "the most wonderful time of the year."

So here are the ways that I really screw up at making Christmas extra special:

My kids barely get squat for Christmas.  Seriously.  They get 2 gifts from Santa, a gift from my husband and me and some stuff in their stockings like socks, an activity book and a yo-yo.  Between all the relatives, they are happily gifted.  I do go out of my way to make sure they get something they like.  But I swear to you, that's it.  I normally wrap gifts and keep them at my office.  I had a friend ask "Where are the rest of them?"  She further freaked when I explained that was ALL the gifts- aunts, cousins, nieces, nephew, etc.  My mother-in-law asked one Christmas if that was it.  When I said yes, she sorta nodded.  I realized it was because she personally had gotten them more than we had.  I was COMPLETELY fine with this.  I supply the little folks all year with things like lunches, clothing, tuition---- I'm totally fine if someone else wants to buy them extra stuff.

Fortunately, there is enough of a break before school starts that they don't even remember enough to talk to other kids.  If they did, they would know they got screwed.

My husband does 90% of it.  He is color blind.  Enough said.

The only thing I contribute is hanging the wreath out of the teeny tiny ledge on our second story.  This is the second year that I have done it without using profanity in front of my children.  Hey, you have your freaking elf, we have our OWN traditions... Mommy talking like a sailor while suspended out a window for all the neighborhood to hear is ours.

My grandma made a million cookies.  Before I had kids, I used to make cookie baskets for all my clients.  I make very delicious cookies.

I now have children.  I am fat.  We'll make sugar cookies 2 days before Christmas.

At some point it hit me, as I screamed at my children and my feet were aching while I was trying to unjam the cookie press "Why am I doing this?"

I'll tell you why- because I like to eat them.  To paraphrase our Weight Watcher's leader- I've already eaten enough cookies in my lifetime.

I also was wound waaaaaay too tightly about it. Now, if the sugar cookies come out ugly, I just tell everyone the kids decorated them.  Even when it's the ones I decorated.

So Grandma, I'm sorry.  Not this year.

Amazon.  I click.  I pay.  It shows up on my door step.  What a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I Say No
We don't go to every party to which we're invited.  It's not to be rude, it's just that we can't.  We used to run around complaining about all the parties we had.  Then last year, we seriously had none.  It was as if the karmic gods had heard us bitching.  So this year, when the invitations started rolling in, we picked the ones we wanted or needed to go to and that was it.

Aside from my potty mouth, we don't really have any traditions.  We don't have an elf on the shelf.  We don't all snuggle in bed the night before reading "Polar Express" or "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."  We don't have a Christmas Count Down Clock.  Every year it's a bit of a crap shoot.  Some years we go on the Polar Express.  We went caroling last year- that sorta sucked because none of the kids know Christmas carols since they can't sing them at school any more.  Our holiday activities are a result of how tired we are, if we have any money and if the kids are behaving.  Who knows?  Maybe the free for all holiday thing IS our tradition.  Oh- wait- I do force my family to watch "A Christmas Story."  Is there truly any better holiday movie?? 
The Christmas Brag Letter
I did one, once, about 11 years ago when I couldn't STAND reading another bullsh*t letter from friends about their perfect lives.  I had had a bad year.  I shared this with everyone.  It was HILARIOUS.  My aunts were concerned.  A friend from college said he was framing it.  It was darkly disturbed and bitter- the only honest one he had gotten.  I also hate when people only send pictures of their children- particularly people I haven't seen in years.  I don't know your children.  I will probably never meet them.  I just assume you've gotten really fat if you don't include yourself in the family photo.  Or gone bald.  I'm sure you didn't include THAT in your letter...


With all this said, what can I say?  I suck at the traditional American Christmas.  I love the lights, the music, the time with my family, but I'm not going to shove it down everyone's throat until they feel the same.  My husband noticed that last year I actually donated more gifts than I gave to our family.  He thought it was pretty awesome. It's why I love him.  With the exception of a very nice Dora dress, my kids also thought it was terrific.  This year, we're helping a friend make and serve dinner at a rescue mission. I think it's really the whole point of the season.  Today was the only day I've been remotely stressed and it all turned out okay.

So God bless all you overachievers out there with your classy cocktail parties, meticulous decorations, perfectly wrapped presents, homemade goodies out the ying yang, and an attic full of "perfect" presents.  Knock yourselves out.

As for me, I will be kicking back, have some egg nog and truly have a very merry, albeit low key Christmas.


Rita said...

Cheers to a low key Christmas!

Dan Leone said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I used to be an over achiever and I could never measure up to my own Norman Rockwell painting in my mind. Everything disappointed me. Nothing turned out how I imagined it and it stressed me to the max! I stopped all of it. I play it low key myself now. I don't plan things, I go with the flow and I am starting to enjoy it again. Happy Holidays to you and your family Lori

Kristen said...

I absolutely LOVE your honesty. I'm sure your family does too.

And online shopping is the best. :)