Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm not a scrooge, but Christmas makes me stabby.

Never mind the fact that Wal-mart already had their Christmas display up when I went to look for the kids' Halloween costumes. Or that I had to shop for my Thanksgiving groceries with Bruce Springsteen singing, "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" blaring from the grocery store speakers, I'm just not a fan of Christmas. I've said more than once, "I hate Christmas." Which is not entirely true, if I could just fast forward to Christmas Eve and not deal with all the B.S. in between.

I would love to be able to decorate for Christmas, I just don't know how. We drag our tree from the basement, all tightly packed in it's little box, and we put the bottom, middle and top together. We try our best to bend every branch so it "fills out" and covers the five outlets we must intricately string together in order to light it up. It ruins the whole effect of the brilliant lighting of the tree when I have to tell everyone to close their eyes while I plug it in just to make sure all the connections are working. I hate our pre-lighted tree. Rainbow colors seemed the way to go at the time, but really have no congruity in theme. My tree is showing its nearly 8 years of age. It is not elegant, nothing matches, and honestly, I don't know how to decorate it.

One year, I bought tinsel and just threw it at the tree hoping it would stick and create a random effect. Not only did it end up in here and there clumps, but my dogs had some very sparkly poop. My mother cross-stitched some wonderful ornaments to represent significant times in my life. But now, some have to do with my previous marriage and find themselves on the back of the tree, hidden, but on the tree just because my mother made them.

Decorating the tree was always a special night when I was growing up, but not so much with my kids. During the time it takes me to unravel the ball of paperclips used to hang the ornaments, my kids have become bored, and now are engrossed in some re-run of "Johnny Test." My cheap felt tree skirt, is already pulling apart from itself and ends up in a crumpled ball within 3 hours of being perfectly positioned. Lights? Would love to make my living room a winter wonderland, but the duct tape just really doesn't do much for the ambiance.

I tried to be creative one year and spell out "NOEL" in lights in our window. Due to a technical malfunction, our window blinked, "NO...NO...NO..." the entire season.

How do your compete with this?!

I get depressed because, even though I can't force myself to actually buy foundation that matches my "winter skin," or despite the fact I have been piecing and smoothing my last bit of deodorant together for lack of money, I feel like I have to "spoil" the kids at Christmas. When I told them that we couldn't afford a new X-box 360, they told me not to worry, because "Santa would bring it." How do you tell a 5 and 7 year old that Santa's profit margin wasn't what he expected, he had to lay off a lot of elves this season, and really just can't afford to bring that this year?

It's not just about not being able to get my kids what they want either. I would LOVE to get everyone who is near and dear to me....something. My neighbors bring us food and treats during the holiday season, for which I am eternally grateful, because, with my baking skills, there would be nothing. But how fun would it be to decorate sugar cookies with the boys without having to scrape off the burnt parts? I have no idea what a dutch oven is, or a double boiler, or even how to use a candy thermometer. I do, however, know how to make microwave peanut brittle.

I would LOVE to be able to pay my daycare provider an extra week of pay, knowing that after only 2 days on the weekend, I'm ready to give them back to her. And just like the commercials suggest, I would give anything to hand out McDonald's certificates to my sons' teachers, bus drivers and mailman. Not going to happen. Those Christmas cards with a family in front of their tree dressed in identical atrocious Christmas sweaters? Yeah right. Mine would show the boys hitting each other, Kam making some sort of face, and the vein in my forehead being a pulsating prominent feature.

One year, I totally ruined Christmas for everyone. Our family tradition was to open gifts one at a time, enjoying the reaction as each present was opened and taking the time to thank the person who gave it to you. Apparently, this is NOT the tradition in my husband's family and he was totally okay with an opening frenzy, wrapping paper flying everywhere with a nano-second of a pause before moving on to the next. Well, I blew up, and pretty soon no one was talking to anybody and my parents considered going home early. Yea me.

Wrapping sucks. That's it. I just can't master that. No matter how hard I try, the gifts end up wrapped with a 1" strip of radically different paper, because I measured short and had to substitute. Not to mention I had to seal everything with packing tape, because that was all I had.

My oldest has come of age where he wonders if Santa Claus is real. He asked my husband point blank, and despite my violent shaking of head and hand across the throat motion behind my son's back, he told him the truth. I've been fighting that one ever since. DON'T DO IT! ALLOW THEM TO BELIEVE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!

I don't have to travel this year, but, if I did, add that to my list of stressors. North Dakota weather can change in a heartbeat.

I love seeing the kids' faces Christmas morning, but I just don't do "surprised" at 4 am until at least 3 cups of coffee has been consumed.

My favorite Christmas TV show is "Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer," which I'm sure my sons will dub as lame the minute it doesn't live up to the animated graphics of "Up."

Remember this?

You know what I DO enjoy about Christmas? Tom and Jerry's. The end.

I know, I know, Christmas is not about gifts, or Santa, or what you can give or receive, but about Jesus' birth. And when we go to church, I always cry. I'm pretty sure it's the guilt I feel for missing the true meaning of Christmas, not being able to sing Christmas hymns like I used to, or just realizing we survived another year and have so many gifts that aren't the kind that are wrapped and sitting under the tree.


  1. I'm a Grinch and a scrooge and I get a little stabby too. The fight over "happy holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" doesn't help:

  2. Did you write that just for me??? You described me and my Christmas stress to a T.
    I really do love Christmas, but I don't have the money to love it like I want to. Or the baking skills, or the wrapping skills, or the tree decorating skills!