Today I want to write about Christmas. The way Christmas makes me feel, the traditions I grew up with, the ones we've started with our kids and the ones I wish would go straight in the garbage bin.
The way I feel about Christmas? I love it. I love every single thing about Christmas. Family, food, presents, laughter, days and days of celebrating. Stockings (that's the best part).
There is something so calming about Christmas for me. Church pageants, collecting toys for the toy drive, spending time with people you love. The lights, the sounds, the smells. Everything. I love every damned thing about Christmastime.
Christmas in my memory always comes back to the year I was 6 or 7 years old. This was the best Christmas ever- and most of them were pretty close to this.
This particular year, every person in my family got together at my gramma's house. All gramma's kids, all their spouses, all the children. And back then there weren't many of us grandkids, so the 3 of us were spoiled completely by all the different adults. Our stockings were so big that they were put into green garbage bags to hold all of it. Awesome.
There was food, delicious food. There were boxes of chocolates on the countertops, cakes, tarts, pies, turkey, gravy, bread, potatoes- well, you probably have all those things too. But when you're 6, and there is such an array of food, you just get absolutely blasted by it.
So, that was us. Crackers got cracked, and all of us have to wear our paper hats, tell the joke to everyone else. Then the stories start. Things my mom and her siblings did as children- told by some of the absolute funniest people on Earth. All of it told at a volume that could deafen an apple. It's incredible.
My family- both sides- have done this year after year. The stories are just as funny today as they were 30 years ago. The food is just as good. The stockings have (unfortunately) gotten less impressive, and they are less of a surprise every year (I now have to buy my own stocking stuffers). But the feeling is the same. Sheer love and joy. Being with people I love, who love me- who always will.
The traditions we've kept with our kids are much the same. My in laws come over, my father and stepmother come over, we invite friends- Christmas Eve is a happy time here.
The new traditions are computer/ tv related. The kids track Santa on the www.noradsanta.org Norad Santa Tracker website. We turn the "Holiday Firelog" on the tv and listen to Christmas music. My children go to bed, and I make the stocking- laughing with the other adults while I do.
There are so many things to be grateful for, to be thankful for. Family is top. Friends, God, gifts (of any size, price point or usefulness), food, love. But here is one thing I don't think we should keep up. I don't think we should keep up the consumerism.
There are so many things I want my kids to have. That's true. I want them to have the best I can give them of everything. But I don't want them to believe that something has to be expensive/ paid for in order to be worthwhile. And I think overall the kids know that- we make gifts every year for the people we love.
But then, the top TV commercials for the last month started me thinking. My daughter keeps asking for a DSi. She can't have one. It's not the money. It's the fact that she's 5 years old. What the bloody buggering hell could she possibly need a DSi for? She doesn't know how to play video games. But, she overheard one of the other moms telling a classmate that "Santa will probably bring you a DS".
I wish Santa brought only a stocking. Apparently, Santa gifts are expensive. I wonder how long I have before Brat points out to me that Santa brings her a 'crappier/ cheaper' gift than he brings her friends. Ohh, poopballs. What age do kids figure out that the real Santa is the spirit of sharing- NOT the bringer of DSi's???