What I love about Christmas?

The story of a humble birth in a stable.

Christmas Lights.

Cookies.

Snuggling watching a Christmas Movie.

Speaking of which, listening to my husband quote Clark Griswold for the 100 millionth time and actually relating to every scene of that movie. ” I don’t know what to say Audrey, but is Christmas and we are all in misery” as Ellen the mom lights the cigarette up in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love Cousin Eddie? You know we all have one 🙂

Little kids dressed up as sheep and angels and whispering about where they need to stand on stage.

My daughter’s excitement.

Why Christmas drives me bonkers:

The expectations.

The extra stress of presents, shopping, end of year work, end of year business duties, etc. etc. The frantic stress that people impose because you are going to be off for a couple of days and it needed to be done yesterday while you were sleeping.

The let down on people’s faces when they open their gifts. I got the wrong pattern didn’t I? Every. Single. Year. I mess the gifts up.

Not knowing what people actually want to eat.

Fighting the Grocery Store. Really, where are all these people during the rest of the months of the year?

Trying to figure out why in the world we need all THIS stuff/junk to celebrate Jesus and his humble birth? Why not have a fantastic meal, a nice gift, and call it a day?

I get pretty run down and by the time Christmas is here, I am usually sick, frazzled, and mentally and physically exhausted. One year I had bronchitis so bad (avoided the doctor- too much to do!) that it turned into walking pneumonia. I was laid up until New Year’s. Not the exact Christmas break I was dreaming of. While everyone else was laughing and having a grand time, I was left to the couch coughing with a six month old who had ear infections.

This year our daughter was sick at Thanksgiving and two rounds later on antibiotics, is still not great. Little sleep for the entire family. I think the cat is even exhausted from all the sleepless nights of coughing. We’ve limited activities and just said no to a bunch of extra. Yup, I’m that mom. Call me mean.

I’ve been told to “take it easy” a million and one times by my OB. I actually looked at her last week and had a crazy laugh and said, “you do realize I have a 5 year old, work full time and its Christmas!!” She chuckled. “Yes. I do, but take it easy.” I have my husband running around like a mad man doing my Christmas errands. I’m lucky he sees it the same way and is so willing to pitch in. I decided with this pregnancy that if we didn’t have it on Christmas, we can get it in January. Meanwhile, Amazon you are this girl’s best friend! =)

So I started a list of the priorities of what needed to be done and what really was the extras.

Priorities:

My daughter’s memories and that she understands the true meaning of Christmas. So I kept the traditional cookie day, the day of making Jesus a birthday cake, added a day to shop for the upcoming baby brother, and a day to relax and watch Santa Paws. I made sure she attend her Daisy meeting where she shopped for another little girl who needed more than she can ever imagine. I made sure she saw Santa. I made sure she had an Elf. I’ve made sure she sang Christmas Carols, not once but will make sure she does it twice to elderly folks and not just the churchy kind either. The fun kind!

——- > Side note. Also, no I’m not making Christmas horrible on my kid. She needs to realize that Christmas is not all about her, because trust me ON actual Christmas Day – IT IS ALL ABOUT HER and she is exhausted from the present opening and all the extra attention.

My Grandma Scott’s memory. I decided to tackle the annual Scott Christmas Dinner. Luckily, I have an awesome Dad, a friend, and husband who are supportive and insisted I stay off my feet more than normal. For some reason, my heart just needs to plan this dinner for my sweet Grandma who I love and miss daily to keep her spirit alive.

Planning a trip for our family after all that chaos. That means don’t worry about who is fed, what bill is or isn’t paid for the business, if I need to teach on Sunday, school homework, dance/scouts obligations, if that MOU was reviewed and landed on my boss’s desk on time…… yup. All those million in one tabs that run in a Mom’s head every second of the day. A trip is what our family needs after all the chaos. Even if it’s just for two days.

Those were the few things that were on my list. Sure, the rest is important but the other stuff –others can do it or it can just wait. Or I can just be deemed a bad friend, bad mom, and bad whatever. At this point (here are my hands flying up- you see them don’t you? )- I don’t even care.

So, no I didn’t send Christmas Cards out. Nope, I didn’t bake cookies for everyone on my street. Nope, didn’t even put together a little treat for the mail lady at the office. Sorry- I really do love you and our jokes! Nope, didn’t attend the Christmas party at the Clubhouse. Nope, didn’t make pounds and pounds of fudge. Nope, didn’t get the most wanted item off of somebody’s list – a gift card should do? Nope, Christmas is not perfect this year— nor is it any year, but it will just have to be a little less perfect.

and then after feeling semi guilty for not doing and trying to create the most wonderful bestest memories for my family — this happened:

Last Friday, I took Mallie with a group of long-time friends to sing at the Nursing homes in Blacksburg. It was a late evening when we got home. 10:00 p.m. late for her. She goes to bed between 7:30 and 8. She was starting the coughing business that we have been dealing with for a solid three weeks. Here we go again I thought. Another sleepless night and it was, but just as we were laying in her bed she said “Momma I have a very important question….”

“Sure Baby… what is it….??”

“How come those people, you know who we singed to, were all alone and some of them were sad?”

“Well because they are older and their kids are grown and that is what just happens….sometimes seeing little kiddos like you and your friends makes them happy or makes them miss their own children who are all grown up.”

“Okay Momma. I let that lady kiss me and she said it was Kissmass and not Christmas and gave me a big kiss! I didn’t really like it because I didn’t know her, but she lives alone so I guess its okay. Was that okay Momma?”

“I think you are precious and wonderful and you probably made that lady very very happy since you gave her a hug and a kiss…. I think you realized that other people are sad and when you give them a smile, it helps them not feel sad for a minute. I’m proud of you. You are growing right up on me.”

“I bet she was a good Momma and made good cookies too. She did give good hugs, but Kissmass!” and then she laughed hysterically.

…..and in that moment, I realized, even after being told that I might ruin the spirit of Christmas in her eyes, that I actually had not. That skipping out on all those ridiculous “extras” is what we needed to feel the actual spirit of Christmas.

She continues to teach me. She is my sunshine, even in the chaos of the Holiday season.

So, just to clarify— I don’t hate Christmas. I hate the stress that it brings. I hate the expectations that I feel and that I can never do enough. I’m sure I’ll hear a gripe or two within the next few days, but oh well. (Here are my hands going up again….see them?? LOL)

Christmas is about being humble. Christmas is about seeing others through your eyes and feeling their feelings with all your heart. Chrismas is that feeling on Christmas morning when all the presents are open ( happy or not) and you are full as a tick and everyone you love is home. All that love is busting open and resting right on your heart to feel.

Without the feeling of love, you can never truly know the feeling of Christmas. Christ was sent to all of us because the Father loves us unconditionally, forever and always.  For me, that is the same love I feel for my daughter and I want her to know that forever unconditionally love always. Even when I’m long gone. Even when she is stressed out over not doing enough for everyone else at 33, may she will remember the Kissmas year and the sweet spirit it brought her heart.

and just like that, this old Grinch’s heart as they say ” grew three sizes that day….”

xoxoxo

Liv

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