Squandering Christmas

JCPenny Christmas Wish Book

I Remember This One!

When I was a child, it took forever for Christmas Eve to arrive.  The month from Thanksgiving to December 24 was agony.  Decorations everywhere, Christmas music, making my list from the Sears and JCPenny Wish Books, and the preliminary parties at school and with extended family added to the excitement and the suspense.  Would Christmas EVER get here?

Now, Christmas music and decorations show up in stores weeks before Halloween.  “Too early,” I complain.  Christmas trees in commercials on Halloween.  “Too early.”  The radio station goes all Christmas, all the time on November 1.  Again, “too early.”

“Too early” is now ingrained in my brain.  It’s planted itself in my subconscious, so that when Black Friday is come and gone, my mind is still saying, “too early.”  It’s so entrenched that when Christmas Eve is here, I’m sitting in my living room, staring at the Christmas tree, and telling my kids to go to sleep or Santa won’t come, and I’m in shock.

How is today Christmas Eve?  I haven’t watched that one Christmas movie yet.  I didn’t make baklava.  We didn’t go out looking at Christmas lights in our pajamas.  What have I been doing for the past month?

The answer isn’t pretty.

I’ve been yelling at my kids.  A lot.  I’ve been hating my job.  I’ve been tired, no, exhausted.  I’ve been complaining–my back/feet/neck/head hurts, I’m broke, I’m too busy.  It’s TOO EARLY.

And now, it’s too late.

Christmas is over and done.  It’s time to take down the meager decorations I put up this year.  School and work starts back in less than a week.  The wonderful Salvation Army man who sings Christmas carols has packed up his bell and bucket from the grocery store entryway.  Worst of all, when I turn on the radio, Burl Ives isn’t singing “Holly Jolly Christmas,”  Maroon Five and Christina Aguilera are singing “Moves Like Jagger.”  (Gag.)

Christmas is over and I’ve missed it because I was being a Grinch.

I can handle missing some movies, Christmas lights, and baklava but I am guilt-ridden mess for the way I’ve treated my kids.  Were they loud?  Yes.  Did they stay up too late?  Yep.  Did they argue a lot?  Oh yeah.  Were they bouncing off the walls and making messes and talking too much and generally annoying the crap out of me?  Absolutely.  

But so what?  They were excited about Christmas.  Like I was when I was their age.  And, like them, I’m sure I was loud and obnoxious, but I don’t remember my mom yelling at me for it.  Who does that?   Kids express excitement by doing all those things above.  They can’t help it.  Me, as Mom, knows that and should cut them some slack.  Instead, I ranted and raved at them and about them for most of the Christmas vacation.  For shame.

Well, I have exactly 6 more days to make up for that.  I’ll be more understanding.  I’ll not yell.  I’ll gently break up arguments and fights.  I’ll find something constructive for them to do when they moan, “I’m booooorrrrred.”  Look out, June Cleaver, there’s a new mom in town.

As for next Christmas?  As soon as I see Christmas decorations on the store shelves, I’m putting up the Christmas lights, using the house from the movie “Christmas Vacation” (which will be in the Blu-Ray player) as inspiration, and starting the honey sauce for the baklava.  Judging from current trends, this might happen in September.  If so, maybe everyone will assume I’m celebrating Constitution Week.

Christmas will not sneak up on me next year!  In fact, I’m telling the husband that if he hears me utter the words, “too early,” he has permission to hit me upside the head with a roll of Christmas wrapping paper or perhaps a decorative tin full of santa cookies.  If he balks at the idea, I’ll just remind him of Christmas 2011.  I’ll be seeing stars in no time.

How festive.


12 thoughts on “Squandering Christmas

  1. I do think that stores are a little ridiculous with putting out Christmas stuff right after Halloween but it is unfortunate to miss out. We just got our household goods a few days before Christmas so I didn’t finally get out my Christmas tree until Christmas day. I missed watching my favorite Christmas movie, so I watched it the day after. I will probably also decorate early next year to make up for missing so much of this season.

    • Your tree went up on Christmas Day? That’s awful. You should just leave it up all year to make up for it. Like we do our outside Christmas lights. (just kidding. We took them down by the 4th of July last year.) 🙂

    • Oh man, you used the “b” word. 🙂 I can’t imagine hearing “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon and the Screeching Cat, er, I mean Yoko Ono, over and over again, day in and day out. *shudder* I love The Beatles and John Lennon and all, but that song is god-awful.

  2. You have let life get in the way of… well… life! I have been guilty of that many times too. Getting so wrapped up with life and work and the things going on around me that I’ve “missed” stuff, whether it be Christmas or whatever. Sure I’m physically there, but not mentally and emotionally there, and that makes a huge difference, especially when kids are involved, whether it results in yelling at them or just not really wanting to deal with and enjoy them. It’s hard, no doubt about it, to set aside all the stressful stuff that we deal with everyday and live in the moment, but it’s SOOO important to not let all that other stuff creep in. Not sure what the answer is, but I absolutely understand where you’re coming from! I think you’re on the right track. Good post.

    • I do need to focus on the big picture. I do not want my kids to think back on their childhood and remember a mother who yelled all the time and who always had an angry face. Here’s to more smiling and using my “inside voice” in 2012. Cheers!

  3. I understand too. We are trying in some small way to invest in our own relationship in a few days. For us, that is a priority after a whirlwind 7 months of life crowding in on us.

    Erin, there will be other Christmases. Just do what you have done – look on this one as one you do not want to repeat. We live and learn, even when we are not 10 any more!

    • Oh boy, do I have a lot of less than stellar moments to learn from. I should be the best parent ever by the time #5 grows up. Lucky her. The others? Not so much. 🙂

  4. HEY, I recognize this blog theme 😛

    I understand what you mean about Christmas zipping by so quickly. Next year, I’m tempted to decorate on Halloween, since after two years, I’ve learned that getting Christmas decorations up during NaNo is just not going to happen . . .

    • Oh, it’s the same as your theme, but with different colors, isn’t it? I like it. It’s more “me.”

      The entire year is zipping by. How can we slow down 2012? If you figure that out, let me know.

  5. My mom used to say that kids behavior deteriorated as Christmas got closer. She had 5 kids, so she was probably right. She yelled a bit and laughed a bit.

    Just like me. And probably just like you.

    I always figure that the first Christmas after I win the lottery I will be completely chipper…

    This is my first visit to your blog — I’m looking forward to coming back! Happy New Year!

    • Welcome! I like new visitors, especially when they become frequent visitors. 🙂

      You’re right. I have laughed some and winning the lottery would certainly improve the mood around here.

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