Last weekend, we celebrated week two of our “Christmas month” with several holiday traditions. First, Cakes performed at our local hometown holidays event. This was a first, and her first Irish step dancing performance ever!
She was just adorable! A lady sitting next to me asked, “Is your daughter the little dark-haired girl with the cheeks? I can see the resemblance!” As I always say, regardless of whether my children take after me or their father, the cheeks come through for me with every kid!
We don’t attend this event every year, though the kids do enjoy it. They especially like riding the old-fashioned trolley, which takes visitors all around town for free,
and the live reindeer, sponsored by one of the local banks. They give out little packets of “magic reindeer food” for kids to sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas Eve (it’s just oats mixed with glitter).
While Cakes was at dress rehearsal, we enjoyed eating dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, while being serenaded by violinists playing Christmas carols.
Over the weekend, the children got to open their “something they need” gifts.
Bee, who always needs clothes because she outgrows everything immediately, got a plush robe and a new sweater. Cakes, who goes through paper, pencils, paint, tape, and markers at an alarming rate, got a box of art supplies.
DJ, who has insisted for months that he needs his own tools to help Daddy in the shop, got a kids’ tool box that he’d been eyeing at Ace Hardware since September.
This is the week when my children also receive their movie package, a tradition I started with them several years ago. Every year they get new pajamas, their favorite movie candy, and a new DVD. This year it was the Lego Movie.
On Saturday, my husband took DJ to Home Depot for their monthly kids’ workshop. DJ loves these workshops and looks forward to them all month. This month they made cute Christmas lawn ornaments.
This year I’ve found the month of December to be significantly less stressful, and far more enjoyable than in previous years. I credit this partly to the fact that my husband is around more, and he’s more relaxed and cheerful now that he’s not appraising houses, but it’s also because I’ve made some pretty big changes this year.
I think we can all agree that women are the ones who make Christmas happen, particularly in homes where children live, and this year I decided to do only the activities that give me genuine enjoyment during the holidays. In the past I’ve felt that I MUST contribute something, whether it be my time, money, effort, or all three, to every cause, any time I was asked, but this year I’ve felt very free to just say NO. It’s been a great relief, and very freeing.
The holidays are never an easy time for me, largely because I associate them with painful family drama when I was growing up. For many, Christmas is a time when buried hurt and resentment often come to the surface, and I used to respond by trying just that much harder to make Christmas “perfect.” Of course, we all know that there’s no such thing, but I’ve always been a person who cares and makes an effort, sometimes to my own detriment, and even the most giving and conscientious person has a limit. I have reached mine.
This year I’m on a mission – a mission to reclaim Christmas. Not just for me, but for my family, because I know that when I’m unhappy it puts a damper on their enjoyment of the holidays. I don’t want my kids’ Christmas memories to be like mine.
My Christmas Mission
I will not attempt to organize holiday events that go unappreciated.
I do not have to listen to anyone complain.
I will not spend time with people who have no regard for my feelings.
I will not give to causes that I’m not passionate about, simply because I’m asked.
I will not sacrifice my own happiness and enjoyment of the holidays in order to be “polite.”
It’s OK for me to be myself. I am a person and my feelings count.
My family deserves a happy Mom, and we all deserve happy holiday memories.
You can’t please everyone, and some people just really need to grow up. So take it from someone who knows – you don’t have to let other people ruin things for you. It’s much better to take control of your own life, enjoy your family, and focus your time and effort on those who deserve it.[print-me/]