I have been known to go a little overboard at Christmas, and I don't just mean in what I consume on my plate but in my planning, spending and decorating, amongst other things.
It's no secret, Christmas is my favorite Holiday and I treat it that way. I love garland, cookies and Christmas Vacation. I have been known to drink cocoa at Christmas, and I hate cocoa. I enjoy, and I mean thoroughly, wrapping presents. I enjoy trimming my steps even though it takes hours. I laugh at my scale while I inhale another Lindt Truffle with a side of Sugar Cookie.
For the past few years Christmas around here has been escalating. The trees got bigger, the presents more numerous, the parties grander and grander. Two years ago my very best blunt friend told me that I was trying to compensate for not having children in our home over the holiday most focused on little ones. I didn't deny it (remember, I skipped straight to anger), in fact I saw it for what it was. The simple truth.
Not only did I not have my own children but all of my nieces and nephews live out of the state. I was filling stockings and making iced sugar cookies for a bunch of people who have been around since before the first Bush's administration. It was sad, but everyone played along quite nicely. I bought Christmas hats for the dogs and made Ward climb up on the roof to display one billion lights like the Grizwalds. I baked Snickerdoodles and watched How The Grinch Stole Chirstmas and Rudolph all by myself.
When my sister got pregnant in 2006 I was so excited that in less than a year I would finally have a neice or nephew to spoil throughout Christmas. On December 26th, 2006 as I ran through Target with my three carts full of 50% off merchandise I bought up everything I thought my nephew would enjoy the following year (Sorry, not kidding, I had my brother and sister each manning a cart and had to have Ward meet me at Target to help me carry my loot home, it's a wonder no one killed me, they all just sighed and shook their heads. In an even sadder footnote, all that merchandise went home and was carried by my entire family, pregnant sister and all into our very empty Nursery.).
When my nephew was born in April 2007 and I got pregnant the same month, I was overjoyed that finally after all these years we would have three children to celebrate the holidays with. I expected, as described in my very first blog post, to give birth early to mid December. What happened instead was house arrest through the week of Christmas and New Year's. I didn't get to have our annual Christmas party or cook or bake (but Ward took up the slack and baked EVERYTHING for Chirstmas Day). I didn't get to go to Christmas Eve dinner at my aunts but stayed on the couch with false contractions and self pity instead. It was sort of a bummer of a Christmas really. I was hoping the babies would be here but knew that the longer they stayed with me, the better. But I still shopped and went over the top, as usual. When I couldn't go anywhere I just shopped on-line.
Every year for the past six I have kept the reciepts of my holiday spending, sort of a form of torture I suppose. I compare them with the previous year's spending. But unfortunately I don't do this until the end of the holiday season. Every year the number grew and grew, when last year the number reached an all time high.
It was all very crazy and stupid, I know that now. I really was compensating for the hole in my holiday. I am so excited about Bailey and Cooper's first holidays I can't even describe it. It's a little sad to me that we've really no money to spend, but at the same time we can shift our focus from 'things' to where it needed to be all along. I know I had and have a wonderful support system and extended family. Their spending the holidays with us was wonderful and I don't want anything about that to change. But the addition of Bailey, Cooper and Xavier to our holidays, well that really is the best present of all. It's amazing how someone's existence, the simple fact of them being around, can mean so much.
So I guess I'm trying to say that there will be no GPS systems this year. That there will be fewer packages to unwrap. That there will be less cocoa around. But what I hope to have found in it's place is what should have been the main focus all along.
I know that this first Christmas is really all about me and Ward and the Grandparents but I can't wait for Reindeer mix spreading in the lawn, and readings of A Christmas Carol, The Gift of The Magi and The Polar Express. I look forward to holiday family portraits and hanging stockings. Letters to Santa and the trips to see him that follow. Cookies and milk left for Santa by the fireplace (and the explanations that follow about our ventless unit). Songs sang by the well lit tree. A new ornament each year. Watching Rudolph, It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. Hiding gifts where we can. School made ornaments proudly displayed at the front of the tree. Children begging us to wake up at 4 a.m. on Dec. 25th. The looks of excitement on their faces as they see the things that Santa has left for them. Baking and icing cookies together. Train rides in the mall. The Nutcrakcer. Christmas Music. Snow on the lawn. Lights in the yard. Candy cane in their hair. I know it won't all be like Norman Rockwell painted it. But then, it doesn't have to be to be absolutely perfect.