Wednesday, December 17, 2014

To tree, or not to tree?

I just looked at my calendar.
And I am in trouble.
I am quickly running out of time to get all of these "Christmas things" done.
Luckily, some of the gifts I ordered arrived today.
If I remember where I hid them, and then remember to wrap them...I will be set for Christmas morning.
I think my mantel is the only part of the house that is going to get decorated this year.  I mean, if it's not done yet, why bother, right?
And then there is the tree.
I feel like I should get one...just because I would really suck as a mom to not provide my children with memories of a Christmas with a beautiful tree, and all of the other traditions that I am supposed to be sharing with them.
I really do have to wonder what they will think when they look back on their childhood.  
For me, there were definite holiday traditions.
St. Nicholas always came on December 7th. (I think that's the right date?)  Obviously, he usually forgets to stop by here...because some people in this house can never remember what day that "holiday" actually falls on.

We ALWAYS had a Christmas tree....and we always hung all of our mismatched ornaments, and handmade baubles that we had crafted at school over the years on the tree.
Yeah...that doesn't happen here.  If my kids want to hang ugly stuff on a tree...they can do it in their bedrooms.  The big tree can only contain beautiful ornaments that coordinate with that year's color scheme.
No yarn and glue projects on mama's tree.
(I know...I'm a horrible parent.)

Every year, we would hang our homemade stockings up in their special spots.
Here, we all have very nice homemade stockings...but the ones that "make the cut" for the fireplace mantel once again have to coordinate with the color scheme.
Our actual stockings are usually hung somewhere over by the tree. 
When we were kids, I vividly remember how every Christmas Eve we would head to church at around 9:30pm after our family gathering (which sucked, because we were the only ones who had to leave early.) We would get there early, because mom and dad were in the choir, and had to sing all of that prelude music before Mass started.
Afterward, around midnight or so, we would change into our pj's, and crawl into the back of the station wagon, cover up with blankets, and sleep while dad drove us to Red Wing for Christmas with mom's side of the family.
I really remember being cold, tired, and a little nervous that Santa was going to get confused because we wouldn't be at our house Christmas morning.
Somehow...he always figured it out.
Even if he didn't bring the stuff I asked for.
One year, all I wanted was baby alive.  She was the cutest doll ever.  She looked like a real baby, and you could feed her, and her mouth would move, and then she would crap all of her doll food out, and you could change her diaper.
Who wouldn't want baby alive??!!
Santa thought he could fool me...and brought me this great big, ugly doll with the nastiest hair ever.  She was as far from a cute little baby as you could get.
She looked like a 2 year old who was strung out on meth.  Not the baby of my dreams.  
My disappointment must have shown...because he stepped up and brought the REAL baby alive the following year.
I don't remember how I figured out Santa wasn't real...but I certainly do remember when my kids did.
My husband, being the brilliant man he is, decided to hide the Easter baskets in his bathroom closet one year.  One of the kids went to grab a towel or something, and all of the Easter stuff fell out on their head.  Very subtle.
We all just went about our day without saying a word.
A few weeks later, the kids and I were out eating somewhere, and I could tell they wanted to talk about something.  I finally just said "Spill it, you two."
One of them said " obviously we have figured out that you are the Easter bunny.  But what we really need to know is.....are you Santa too?"
I asked them what they thought.  They replied "Yes...but we are afraid to stop believing in him, because then he might stop coming."
I thought that was pretty cute.
Santa didn't stop coming to visit me until I was around 23. 
He still puts stuff in my stocking. :)
Part of me feels like a failure for not creating a more magical holiday season for my kids.  It's hard when the big holidays are the most stressful and busiest times of the year for me, as far as my work goes.
I wish I had taken more time to create traditions for our family.  
However, as they are getting older, it's hard to get them to participate anyway.
We have always gone out to the tree farm to cut down a tree.  Two years ago, Mark and I just went by ourselves, because the kids didn't want to go.

I think I use my childhood as an example of how things are "supposed" to be done.  We got together with everyone in the family...all of the aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents...for all of the holidays, each year.  

My dad would build us an ice rink in the backyard each winter, and we would stick our tape recorder (yep...that's what we used) with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" cassette tape in the bathroom window, and skate to that.  Of course, my sister Kris and I would fight over who was going to marry Michael.  (He was a total hottie back then.)  I also prayed every night before I went to bed that I would wake up and be black...and have an amazing voice.
I also kissed my Michael Jackson poster before I went to bed each night.
These are important things when you are a fifth grader in the 80's.
Our holidays now tend to be more work than play.  Mark is usually playing trombone at the Cathedral, and I, of course, am playing for all of the Masses at my church.  The rest of our day is usually nice and quiet...just the four of us.  And I kind of love that.  I spent years traveling for every holiday, or going from work to spending the day with huge groups of people.
Being able to just go home and spend it with my little family is kind of wonderful.  Making a nice meal, sitting by the fire, watching a is so relaxing and stress free.
I think I will quit worrying about all of the things I'm NOT doing...and just focus on all of the things I AM doing.
I have a feeling that my kids probably have tons of great memories of things we have done that I've long forgotten.
In fact, I think I will let them take the lead this year...and decide what they would like to do to make this holiday special.
Like, for we need to go get a tree?
Then I can focus on everything else I need to get done!

Have a great Wednesday!

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