I have a confession to make.
I don’t always like the Holidays. In fact, sometimes I really hate this time of year.
As a child I always loved going to Grandmas’…waiting for Santa and getting presents…playing in the snow…singing the songs…seeing all the decorations…enjoying the smells and foods…and even getting out of school for a couple of weeks. I have fond memories of visits with family, trips to Disneyland, and “snow ice cream”.
But as I’ve gotten older, the wonder and joy of the Holidays has greatly diminished. I valiantly try each year to bring wonderful memories for my kidlets. Every child should smile at Christmas. I don’t want my kidlets to miss any of that, but I’m tired of all the stress and feeling guilty because I’m not faking the “joy” well enough. I think I’ll label myself a Grinch.
I think there are way too many unrealistic expectations this time of year. There seems to be this great need to do bigger and better then some unknown standard…which usually means beyond time, talent and funds. As kids, we’re told to be good or Santa will give us coal…perhaps as adults we’ve internalized that to mean giving, giving and giving until we crash and burn.
I used to want to give my kids all the traditions that I had growing up…and all of GadgetMan’s traditions as well. That’s a lot of traditions to try to cram in…plus a few other fun things we thought would be nice to start as new traditions…on top of all the other normal things that need to be done – well you can imagine how quickly burn out can set in. But I tried valiantly to push on and do it all…until a couple of years ago. When DoubleD was so sick, the Holidays lost the little joy I did have. There was no Santa to magically make things all better. I tried hard to make the Holidays good, but inside I wanted to scream at the mockery I thought I saw. DoubleD was still going to be sick…there was still going to be long nights and fear. Toys don’t get made by volunteer elves and the bills don’t magically vanish from a benevolent benefactor. The traditional feast doesn’t appear in a cloud of glitter…and the dishes don’t wash themselves. And too much cold and snow still multiplies runny noses…too many sweets still results in extra laundry.
I hate wrapping presents…and I always feel like I’m rushing to meet a mailing deadline with a budget too small to see. Even though I enjoy the lights and decorations…I hate the frustration of putting them up and the fear of possible fire and other injury….like falling off the ladder. Snow is pretty…but the cold is not my friend anymore. I always start out thinking I can like the music this year…but if I have to hear Jingle Bells one more time I might have to stick hot pokers in my ears! It doesn’t matter how many different ways it’s played…it’s still Jingle Bells! And all my happy memories are tinged by memories of being sick for the Holidays…years of ear infections, sore throats, coughs, sun burns and this year nerve damage and wonderful present of 2 needed root canals…hohoho and Merry Christmas to me.
I know, I know…you’re all looking at me like I’ve sprouted green fur or something. Just call me the Grinch! I know that the Holidays aren’t supposed to be about all those things. That it’s about family, love, religion and tradition. It’s supposed to be about all those warm fuzzies we should feel for our neighbors that we promised to feel all year round…but somehow forgot. It’s supposed to be about the Savior and the sacrifices that made His life possible. It’s supposed to be about humble beginnings and sacred promises. It should be about slowing down and enjoying the rememberings.
And now that I’ve had my mini-tantrum, I’ll go back to doing what is expected of me. But there will be less rushing, running and pushing beyond our means. We’ll focus on a couple important traditions…but emphasize those things that are the most important to us. I might even let the kidlets play Jingle Bells a few more times. 🙂
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