It’s Christmas week, and I love my kids, but we really don’t need two full weeks off. Really. For they have forgotten how to do life, to be human. Somehow, simple tasks like going to the grocery store or picking up their crap without a wrestling match has escaped them. They aren’t speaking in complete sentences nor are they capable of sustaining life apart from a screen. It’s pathetic, and I’m afraid we are doing something seriously wrong. Then, I posted something similar on Facebook today, only to hear that maybe, just maybe, we’re all doing something wrong, because all of our children have officially gone off the rails. At least I’m not alone.
I totally squandered last week, my final week of freedom, in favor of restorative yoga over running millions of miles and Gilmore Girls over shopping for stocking stuffers. Do you know how bad I’ll want to end it all tomorrow if I have to drag them all to Target for stocking stuffer’s?
I desperately want to enjoy Christmas this year. No fuss. No stress case. No fighting or bickering or complaining(so far we are not off to a good start, but we’re working on it). Is it sad I have to force myself to sit down and actually watch a movie with my kids instead of rushing around trying to get things done while they are occupied? The other night, we turned on one of our favorite Christmas movies. I sat, smooshed between hello kitty and ninja turtles blankets, with the fireplace on and hot chocolate in their cups. We watched, and laughed until we cried. Josh couldn’t control himself he was laughing so hard. So. Stinking. Simple. Just a movie and taking the time to sit and watch it. We had the most fun.
What is it about getting older that has me all anti crazy at Christmas? I’ve dropped things over the years that I thought I would ALWAYS do. Christmas cards. 7 days worth of decorating. 23 batches of cookies(trying to do my hips some favors by cutting back a bit, which just feels stupid), rushing around to buy a million gifts that my kids don’t need, and won’t use.
Simple. It’s better yes?
I don’t know. I love Christmas and the feeling of it. I love tradition and am generally a really nostalgic person, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten less into the rush. I’m tired people. And I honestly just don’t want to miss the fire in the fire-place while we eat pizza(also not helping the hips, but did I say who cares?) watching our favorite movie, laughing til we cry. Because that’s the good stuff.
And when I start to rebel against the crazy, I seem to wonder, what is wrong with me?
Because if choosing to simplify makes this Christmas more meaningful, despite what Pinterest tells me, then that’s what I need to do. And maybe you do to.
I haven’t made to do lists and I haven’t wrapped a single present. I’m in some sick sort of denial. Have I turned into a Scrooge at the ripe old age of 35? We spent all of yesterday hunkered down at home making oreo balls and truffles. And making my kids do chores, because again, they had lost their ever lovin minds.
We always made fun of my dad for being a bit of a Scrooge. He never really got into all the hype at Christmas, whereas I was a total sap. I wanted our lights up by November 1st and I had to drink hot chocolate while listening to Amy Grant belt Tennessee Christmas while mom and I decorated the tree. And it all had to happen in unison. Every. Single. Year. And I was convinced I’d be a crazy person every single Christmas trying to make it perfect. I assumed it would all transfer into adulthood, but it didn’t.
As a kid, I wanted the tradition and the cousins and the chicken and dumplings. The sitting at the top of the stairs and the Santa and the stockings. I wanted the snow and cold crisp air and the chain that we tore a link off of each day as Christmas got closer. I wanted the Santa shaped sugar cookies. And most of our traditions are the simplest ones that have carried over from childhood. But as for much of the other stuff, something happened.
I got old I guess, and became a parent. I want my kids to have the traditions, but I don’t want to miss it all for the sake of making Christmas more than it’s meant to be, or needs to be. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss all the good stuff, the simple stuff. I don’t want to miss Christmas.
Christmas is Jesus, and Jesus isn’t fancy or frantic. My fireplace is lit and my kitchen is stocked. My kids are here, playing Xbox and frying their brains and helping me do laundry. We’ll see family and have lunch and movies with friends, but we may skip the mall. And the heart attack I give myself due to all of the unrealistic expectations that come with this time of year. I’m thinking maybe we should let each other off the hook. Maybe it’s time we slow down. Soak in the moments. Because I’m ALWAYS shocked at how quickly Christmas rushes in, and how in a flash it’s over. I want to drive around looking at Christmas lights and have a Christmas movie marathon every night between now and Christmas.
I guess I’m learning you can have tradition and fun, without feeling like death. Shedding the guilt that comes with the expectations we place on ourselves and just living in the moment. Maybe this year comes with loss or a diagnosis or a cut in pay. Maybe it doesn’t involve presents or ski trips or Christmas cards. Maybe it comes with more heart ache or simplicity out of necessity. Maybe life’s circumstances have forced you to slow down, to do less. If that is you I pray you feel the presence of Christ this Christmas and are reminded of the simply things we have in this life. That you feel joy in the midst of your circumstances.
Maybe things are wonderful and you thrive on the speed at which we propel ourselves through this season, and that’s ok too. It’s so completely ok. In fact, it’s awesome because we are all so very different, and that’s a beautiful thing. There is no right or wrong to how you navigate Christmas.
I however seem to be falling into this place where I’m choosing to take myself out of the race. To just be. Sometimes that comes with guilt, my subconscious telling me I should do more and more and more. But I’m simply telling it to hush. To leave me alone and let me do what I feel is best this year. And this week, that is to simply enjoy Christmas. To eat the homemade goodness, to spend time with people and to invest. To visit neighbors doorsteps with loads of sugary treats and remind my kids that this holiday, this life, is so much more about other’s than it is about us. I’m no saint or perfect parent. I’m pretty sure I told my oldest he totally and completely sucked yesterday.
Mom of the year.
But, I do know that as they grow up, I don’t want them to miss it. I don’t want them thinking this is about them, because it’s not. Jesus came to save and to seek those who were lost. He came to serve. To love. To invest in the lives of people, regardless of their station or appearance or personality. He came to be nothing so we could have life. And that my friends is Christmas. To do for other’s and simply slow down. Because otherwise, we miss it.
Praying you have the most blessed Christmas and that you slow down to enjoy it. Take a walk in the snow, bake some goodies, laugh with your kids. Serve the least of these and love on those who live next door to you. Love on the world a bit this Christmas, and it will be one you never forget.