When you hear the word Christmas, what is the first thing that pops into your head? For me, it is work.
I loved Christmas as a kid and I loved it when my kids were little. But anymore it feels like one endless obligation. I try to take joy in it and get into the spirit. But more often than not I’m force-feeding Christmas songs down my throat and singing the word “Gay” way more than normal. Come to think of it I never use that word except at Christmas time.
When I was little we would go to church on Christmas Eve and all get to pick one present to open. My parents would get a babysitter who was the girl who lived across the street. She smoked and partied and was always talking about her boyfriends. They would leave for the next door neighbors Christmas Eve party while babysitter Barbara tried to scare us that the reindeer were on our roof and we had to go to sleep or Santa wouldn’t come down the chimney.
When I had little ones I was a teacher and I always got November 11, Veteran’s Day off so my husband would take that day off work and we would shop til we dropped and get all the presents wrapped and mailed off to our long-distance relatives in plenty of time. As we and our kids got older we lost our enthusiasm. We moved back to California where most of our relatives lived and spent most Christmas Eve’s wrapping, and wrapping, and wrapping. It became work.
I began hosting Christmas day for upwards of 35 people for a sit down meal as is tradition in our family and that also was lots of work. In fact the last year my ex was living at home we hosted the meal and unwrapping of presents. I remember my uncle and aunt who were in from out-of-town and had heard of our troubles caught us out of the corner of their eye giving each other a hug in the kitchen after everything was all cleaned up. I caught them out of the corner of my eye smiling and thinking, “Awe, it’s all gonna be okay.” And I thought to myself, “No, this means nothing, it’s all for show.” And it was. Three months later he had moved out.
This year I haven’t a clue what I’m doing Christmas Eve. I don’t want to dwell on the negative but my picture of how this Christmas would be was very different a few months ago. Now I’ll be alone and I need to come up with some kind of plan. Something to make it special without being too much WORK.
My kids are teenagers and its hard to rally the troops. I’m at a loss other than coming home and having a meal and opening a present – like always.
I want to start a new tradition. Something fun and happy and easy.