Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays you all! This is the most wonderful time of the year! But it can also be the most stressful and sometimes sad time of the year. It’s especially hard for those who are away from their families or who have lost loved ones. It’s the time of year where finances seem more strained than ever before. And in this day in time it’s hard to ignore the social media posts that boast a perfect holiday season. Just remember there is a reason everyone loves A National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Everyone can relate to at least one character on this movie. If you haven’t seen it lately, then please add it to your Christmas movie rotation. We all have our holiday struggles.
Since we have had Wyatt, our Christmas traditions and worries have changed. This is actually our second Christmas on the road and in the travel trailer, and we will be spending it at the beach. Wyatt has taken more of a front seat this year in making the Christmas decisions. He picked out our Christmas “tree” which is actually a bush, he made the decorations and decided where they would all go on the tree and in the trailer. Our Christmas sea shell wreath we made, he picked out each shell and it was his decision to put silver Christmas balls on it. All I really did this year as far as decorating was wield a glue gun. Which is fine, because it was a great exercise in letting go of control. Something I am learning more and more about each day with my strong headed 4 year old.
Another aspect of Christmas, that I am sure we are not the only ones struggling with, is Santa. We haven’t pushed the Santa agenda, we knew the rest of the world would for us. This year was the first year Wyatt visited Santa, and we actually ran into Santa twice, once unexpectedly. While we were at the Outlaw Classic, a charity event Rodney is involved with, Santa made an appearance for the country club members (separate from the event we were attending). Wyatt was excited watching Santa arrive through the window escorted by police and fire trucks. It was an impressive entrance. Needless to say we ended up standing in line to see him. Sandwiched in between families dressed in their fanciest Sunday best sipping cocoa, there we were – Wyatt in his dirty pants from playing outside on the playground and a T-shirt and me with a glass of wine in hand from the party. Wyatt was also excited to meet the police officers, which is more helpful than meeting Santa.
In between that Santa visit and the next one, we had a very important talk with Wyatt. He already knew that Christmas is celebrated because it’s the birth of Jesus. He is clear on that. However, this Santa thing and presents was quickly overshadowing that. So we told him who Santa really was. That he is a character based on Saint Nicholas , who was famous for secret gift giving and the patron Saint of children (among other things). By the way, explaining sainthood to a 3 year old is super interesting. I’m just not even going to go into the myriad of questions that came with that one. So, while Wyatt now knows that people dress up as Santa Claus and ask us what we want for Christmas in the spirit of secret gift giving, his enthusiasm for meeting Santa the second time, was not dampened. Don’t worry, I heard the gasps from here! We are not Scrooges. He was still just as excited to see him and tell him he wanted Toy Story toys. I want to focus the magic of Christmas on the birth of our Savior not a fat man in a red suit fitting down a chimney to leave a Buzz Lightyear under a tree. Wyatt will still wake up to presents under our Christmas bush, some from “Santa”, but that night we will go to bed with a prayer of Thanks, we will read our Christmas books about the birth of Jesus and we will not mention where Santa might be. Besides, we don’t even have a chimney! What were we going to say? Santa is going to squish through the ceiling vent in the bathroom?
When I think back on my Christmas memories as a child I remember inspecting the packages under the tree when my mom wasn’t looking. I remember being in a house full of family and eating lots of good food. I remember being warm and a cozy feeling. I pretty clearly remember one morning waking up to see that the Barbie Dream House I wanted was in the living room, set up perfectly. It was so beautiful and pink. I remember trying to sneak down the hall to see what was going on in the living room and before I even got to the doorway, my parents yelling to get back in bed. I also remember my older brother telling me Santa was not real. He said, “Think about it Shenna, how is it that Santa wraps presents in the same wrapping paper mom and dad wraps their presents in? And Santa writes just like mom?” I was pretty young. But I don’t remember being shocked at this news, I don’t know what I did. I do remember my parents saying to all of us, repeatedly, that Christmas is not about the presents you get. I remember on more than one occasion choosing an angel off the tree and picking out presents for other kids. Most of all I remember how happy it felt to see family and have a meal together. Something that has gone by the wayside as families grow apart.
It’s rough growing up. It’s rough when you realize that you are now the parent and all the things you worry about, your parents were also worried about. You realize the work that went into keeping the holiday magical or relevant even, for you and your family. And you realize the number of times your mother probably said the word “shit” while she and your father put that Barbie Dream House together on Christmas Eve, was probably in the hundreds. And it was all worth it, because it was so exciting.
So, no matter how you celebrate this holiday, I hope it’s happy. We wish for you all the magical, warm and coziness of this season.
Christmas card designed by Cate Creative. Find them at Catecreative.com