It's that time of year. The holiday season where people get trampled for cheap goods on Black Friday.
I'm trying to be as chipper as possible- I got to go to Costa Rica last year and I promised I would be in full holiday cheer this year.
As time goes on, I have found the traditions our family has set up creates a safe, fun place. I love Christmas Eve, when Walter and Allan come and stay at our house. There is Fondue at a friends house, and, of course, the cookies.
Jeanine makes approximately 2500 cookies to be shipped to relatives, friends all over the country and the local ones are delivered by me and the boys. Aside from the inevitable mess that my kitchen becomes during the mad rush to get everything baked in short order.
The cookies have a dark history with Jeanine and I. I hate the chaos and she loves it. I hate the mess and she doesn't notice it. We spent many an hour in couples therapy talking about the cookies.
Can't you do a craft together? The therapist suggested.
I hate crafts, I hate glue, I hate mess. NO.
The answer was one year in a warm climate without any Christmas hassle, and the next year at home, cookies and all.
I don't struggle with old ghosts anymore, although I will say I missed my mother on Thanksgiving day. For a moment, I thought- I have to call...
But there is no one to call anymore.
My problem is the loss of any real meaning. I don't care about stuff. My mother was the best present buyer in the world, always finding that perfect gift that was neither too expensive or too cheap. It let the other person know she knew who they were. Because Christmas wasn't about stuff but people.
I'm trying to install that in my kids. It's not easy.
All I want to do over the month is see people, have great food, drink amazing wine and laugh. Celebrate.
The kids are looking forward to a good haul. Can't blame them, I know that's what I did as a kid, too. I get frustrated when it's ONLY about the stuff. Ben announced his list had only two items on it this year.
A very expensive new cell phone and a trampoline.
I said to him he might want to add some things he has a chance of getting. He will not get a new cell phone- he has one. And the trampoline, we have explained over and over, will cost us our house insurance. We cannot get one.
What proceeded ended up being a barrage of how much I suck and how Christmas always sucks because we suck and never give him anything good.
I did not blow. I calmly said, try to ask for something possible so you won't be disappointed.
A friend of mine, who grew up in a family of enormous wealth, raised her kids on the notion that Christmas was time for homemade gifts and a performance. Music, a skit... something.
Maybe I'll suggest a dance of the cookies...
Any way you cut it, it's suppose to be the most wonderful time of the year.