A secret? I don't love Christmas. In fact, I dread it. I find it ridiculously stressful. I certainly don't find it magical.
Christmas seems like a compilation of many things I don't like and/or am not good at - buying presents for other people; shopping at all; getting up early; spending lots of time at the houses of people I don't really know, but call family; being completely off schedule ; dealing with the affects of my kids eating red dye 40.
I don't want to get up early at the crack of dawn with my kids and watch them open their presents. I'd be perfectly content to just come in about 9a and let them show me everything they've already opened. I sure as hell don't want to shop for presents. Really, I suck at buying other people gifts, well, adults at least. I don't want to spend all day in a tiny house with too many people whose names I don't know, trying desperately to keep my kids from eating all the Red Dye 40 crap. I don't want to fight with them to sit appropriately (like they're old enough to do) at mass and just freaking behave. I don't want to deal with DAYS of awful behavior due to sleep getting all messed up, and naps missed. I just don't want to.
I know. I KNOW.
You may call me Ms Grinch. I completely admit that it's appropriate.
I get it. I'm supposed to love it. I know.
But I find it stressful. Exhausting. Expensive. Not joyful. Not fun. Not magical. At all.
I just want to curl up in my bed and sleep through it. Truly I do.
I suspect part of the reason I don't love it is because I remember feeling like my mom didn't love it. As a single mom, I'm sure Christmas was hard for her in many ways. We usually spent the day with my dad/his family, so she was home by herself. I remember feeling guilty about that even as a little kid. Not that she moped or anything when we'd leave. She always had a smile when we left, and a smile when we returned; she's great like that. Come to think of it, maybe she was glad to have a quiet day to herself!
I really do want my kids to love Christmastime.
So I TRY. Hard. We do the Christmas-y things. We see a Christmas play every year. We go to the Philharmonic Children's concert. We bake and decorate cookies. We take cookies to the firemen and talk about caring for others. We "adopt" a family for Christmas and the boys help shop for presents and deliver them. We drive around and look at the pretty lights. We even went to a live nativity this year, which really was magical. Until the kid started acting up and I wanted to kill him.
(And, side note, I orchestrate all these things, which probably doesn't help my feelings of stress around this holiday.)
But I still definitely can not muster up that Christmas magic attitude to go with any of it.
I hope my kids will say they had magical Christmases. I hope they don't turn out all Grinch-y like me. But often Christmas seems like just another parenting fail for me.
Today's Lesson: Take off your rings before you bake Christmas cookies. Otherwise you will be cleaning dried up dough out of them for days. This will also not help with the Christmas spirit.