It’s Friday afternoon, I’m at work and should be doing something a little more productive………..but hey, it’s Friday Afternoon! I finish work in 1 week, and then it’s Christmas. Which gets me thinking about the holidays and the year just past. What has this year got in store for us for Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you? Do you adore or abhor Christmas? Do you bypass or buy into the usual build up and hype which inevitably surrounds the holidays. There is so much hype for the perfect Christmas present, the perfect family get together, the perfect Christmas Dinner; it just isn’t picture book perfect in most families, it certainly isn’t in mine.
I have a secret, a guilty little secret, for me Christmas usually leads to a big let down come Christmas Day and or Boxing Day. I used to look on Christmas with so much joy and enthusiasm and a child, it was a time of wonder and excitement, my Mum would put up the tree and decorations and play Christmas carols on the record player, we would go and see the Christmas lights and carols. Every year, as kids we would get so hyped up, send Santa our lists, that we spent hours on. Unfortunately my mother was often and still is the WORST gift giver. Even now, I can send her lists of great ideas for everyone in the family and she still picks presents that are complete garbage, or next to useless. My Dad picks the presents for the guys and inevitably buys booze or tools, but that is great! So my joy used to always turn to dismay on Christmas Day as a child, but always being too polite, I rarely complained and just became quiet. The presents I asked Santa for where never what I received. I remember one year my Dad bought the presents, as my Mum was sick; It was amazing. He bought me this beautiful little jewelry box, you know the wind up ones with the ballerina? and there was so much jewelry (all junk of course, but hey I was like 5!) I remember that year fondly. All the photos I had such a big smile on my face. I can’t remember what my brother got, but he was really happy that year too.
I know I am frequently held as a skeptic, but I see myself as a realist. Christmas is not amazing, and this year will be a little sadder too, the Uncle who usually drinks a little too much and gets a bit too loud and gives everyone advice they don’t need – we lost him this year to cancer. So it won’t be the same. My Mum, who is convinced every Christmas is her last one and always wants it at their house, and probably will this year too. I have a fabulous house, with amazing decorations, and in the 14 years we have lived here we have never once had it here! Last year, I did the ‘Bah humbug’ and put up no decorations and bought everyone gift cards – it made no difference. My brother who is an A**hole, never even sends me a text msg let alone a card or phone call, and a present?????? Don’t make me laugh! It would be a Christmas Miracle if he ever turned up on Christmas Day! Not that I could care less, it’s my parents that get upset. So our Christmas Dinner turns into an everyday lunch or dinner with my parents, except with crappy presents! NOTHING Special there.
So I guess my obsession of making sure my kids have the perfect present stems from that time. It is not always huge or fancy, but it is something my children will adore or really wish for. Even now as adults, I still make them make Christmas lists!! Actually I used to have more fun helping the kids make their Santa list, than when I was a kid!! I used to take them to a toy store and tell them to pick anything they want and we can write it ALL down on a list, and then Santa (and Mummy) will know exactly what their little heart’s desire, they were aware they would not get everything on their list, but it was a suggestion list for Santa (and Mummy). So Christmas morning my house was ALWAYS Filled with squeals of delight from my children, even when we had very little money, I always made sure there was at least 1 thing that was from their list. Don’t get me wrong, my Mum means well, always did, she just as no idea when it comes to Birthday and Christmas Presents. I did make one change this year, I made a rule, NO gift cards! Gifts cards are great, but very much a let down when opening Christmas presents under the tree.
Then there was all the fuss over the food for Christmas Dinner. So much mucking about for the Perfect Turkey and Ham, usually too salty or overcooked. There was never enough white meat on the turkey (I only eat white meat) and the vegies were always over done. I did like Christmas Pudding, but with my allergies I cannot partake of that either! The adults drank too much and fell asleep, and I usually sat longingly looking at my cousins fabulous toys and my crappy ones. These days, My little family is amazing and making time for them is more fun than all the rest of the hype. Yes we make Bacon and Eggs on toast on the BBQ instead of Turkey or even a BBQ (sausages, burgers etc.) Yes we play Xbox and watch little kiddies movies and open present before Christmas Day. Frankly if we didn’t have to go to my parents house for lunch, we would stay in our PJ’s all day! There is no work, no phones, no emails, just us and we are happy (for the most part) in our little bubble.
And then there is the ‘What do you want for Christmas’ conundrum, people keep asking me (In my immediate family, including Moth) what I want, but as much as I would love something, I feel that it is just being greedy. Let’s face it I have just had a birthday a few months ago, I just got a new camera and PC, and a new watch (admittedly I bought them myself) and I feel it’s a bit much to ask for more, isn’t it? It’s not that I can’t think of anything; I just feel guilty asking for things. I ‘m sure I am not alone here. So I just say ‘I don’t really need anything, just keep it something small, something simple’, while inside I am screaming – another new lens for my camera, a new tripod, another holiday, more cloths, more jewelry. My kids are good and I usually end up with something sensible, but perfect………a spa treatment or CDs, Books, Gift Vouchers for or they take me on a shopping trip! It’s Moth, anyone would think he was related to my Mother!! At least now the girls are older, they take him shopping too!
So now I don’t look at Christmas Day so much with enthusiasm, as I do THE Holidays, because for me it is a Shutdown for 2 glorious weeks, of sleeping in, sun baking, gardening, being with friends, some real quality ME TIME! Even New Year’s Eve is never anything exciting. So we sit in the spa, watch the fire works and then go to bed. Maybe this year will be different, but I don’t think so. So even though this little rant seems filled with self-pity, it isn’t, really, it’s just reality; Christmas isn’t amazing, neither is NYE. One day I will have Grand Children (I hope) and then maybe I can look at the wonder of Christmas again, but for now I prefer to look at the wonder of my little family.
So to all of you I wish you a Merry Christmas (If that is your thing) or in my case, have a Wonderful time during the Holidays (Once you get past Christmas), enjoy your family and love them for who they are, not who you would rather them to be, because NO ONE is perfect, not even ME!!! 🙂