Christmas is almost here. Bah humbug.
My kids are grown and I find that the holiday just isn’t the same as when they were little. Back then, I would deck out the tree, decorate the entire house, and enjoy the sounds of laughter and excitement as the jolly old fat man’s arrival grew nearer and nearer. There’s just something about the unabashed joy children bring to the season. It’s enough to melt even my curmudgeonly heart.
In recent years, my love for a clutter free home has won out against my love for Christmas decorations. I now live vicariously through the Clark Griswolds of the world (I’m looking at you, Paul). Although, to be fair, the only reason I don’t have a tree is thanks to the ne’er-do-well. She climbed it a couple of years back, got stuck in the string of lights, and almost broke her leg while struggling to get out. Imagine waking up to the sounds of a thousand banshees in your living room. Yeah, that was fun. I ended up having to cut a perfectly good string of lights to get her loose. So now, I have an enormous collection of Christmas tree ornaments – which I add to every year – with no tree on which to hang them thanks to a very real fear of finding a cat hanging by her hindleg amongst the limbs.
I will admit, a lot of my bah humbug comes from my deep hatred of stores, people, and frigid temps. Oh, I love snow! But you see, we don’t get snow. We just get wind and -5° weather and apparently, it gets dark at noon now. Did I mention people? Yeah, they’re everywhere and even more so during the holidays. Ugh. People. Amirite? And don’t even get me started with the super holiday spirited folks singing carols for absolutely no reason whatsoever and holiday work parties with the overly extroverted coworkers you usually only see via Zoom. Did you know there’s no mute button in real life? Right!? I was disappointed to say the least.
Some rituals of the season I do enjoy despite the Grinchiness that has crept up on me in my old age. Baking with holiday music blaring in the background and Christmas movies – though it’s more Hallmark now and less Rudolph – and matching what I hope is the perfect gift to the right person, especially my children. I love my kids and of course, they did have to grow up, despite my admonishments to the contrary. If they had just listened to me, they’d still be 5 years old. But they never listen. What can you do? I miss wrapping presents late into the night on Christmas Eve and waiting for everyone to fall asleep so I could sneak in to put all the gifts under the tree before retreating to my room, trashed with discarded wrapping paper, empty label sheets, and spent tape dispensers, to get too little sleep before the rugrats burst in screaming, “Santa came! Santa came!” at an ungodly hour.
Alas, nowadays, I find myself tucked in, all nice and cozy, at a respectable hour on Christmas Eve with nary an alarm clock in sight. Christmas morning has a little less mess and a lot less toys and it no longer looks like the Christmas section at Macy’s threw up in my living room. I even get to sleep in. As luck would have it, my kids inherited my “I love sleep gene” and when they’re home, they’re more than happy to sleep in. We watch Krampus instead of Charlie Brown and have wine instead of hot chocolate. We play Cards Against Humanity instead of Mousetrap. The cookies and fudge are the same, no need to mess with perfection. And as I watch my kids laughing together while reminiscing of Christmases past, all is right in the world.