I've been kicking a blog post around in my head for a few weeks now. It goes something like this...
- I kind of hate Christmas.
- It's all my mom's fault.
- The holiday season brought out the worst of her shopping addiction/hoarding habits.
- What is a socially acceptable number of lavishly decorated Christmas trees per household (or even per room) anyways? Because I think we exceeded that number by at least five every year.
- Me and Christmas? We have a rocky relationship.
But then it occurred to me that I have a bad habit of giving my mom way too much credit for all my issues. I need to either stop whining or get a therapist. Or, ideally, do both. Plus, who am I kidding? Having a mother with compulsive shopping and hoarding tendencies isn't so bad. Thanks to her I am now the proud owner of a KitchenAid mixer, a camcorder, several iPod docks, a dvd player, a sewing machine, a rocking Barbie collection and the list goes on and on and on. But the list does not include Christmas trees. Because that's where I draw the line. I had to do Christmas on my own terms and it took a few years into our marriage until I was ready to do so.
I'm slowly coming around. Or rather, my kids are slowly dragging me around. For them, Christmas is magical. Asher somehow manages to find his way to the Christmas tree no matter where I set him down and camps out under the lights and ornaments with wide eyes and happy grins. Ike and I have a daily routine that involves bringing his stuffed dog Bolt over to the tree so Ike can brag to Bolt, "this is the tree that I carved." (We carve pumpkins, we carve turkeys, we carve Christmas trees?!?) And Booker has patiently been salivating over all the unopened doors on our advent calendar for several days now.
As I gain more distance from the Christmases of childhood past and start establishing my own family traditions, I'm discovering that the holiday season doesn't have to be such an anxious time for me. It might even be sort of... fun and maybe even a little bit... magical. I even went so far as to purchase this (despite my reservations about it being described as a "blue-eyed north pole pixie elf." Ummmm, is Santa a racist?) And I find myself checking my Amazon account more than once a day to see when it's due to arrive.
Am I turning into my mother when it comes to Christmas? And would that really be such a bad thing? My mother had some crazy ideas when it came to celebrating holidays, but there's no arguing that her heart was in the right place. I used to resent her for being so maniacal about Christmas. Now I'm trying to simply focus on her extreme generosity, however misplaced it may have been. And more importantly, I'm trying to shed my Christmas baggage so my hands are free to build memories for my own kids. Memories that they will either recall fondly or relate to a therapist when they are grown (and frankly much too old to be whining about their "relationship" with Christmas). Hopefully the former.