Advent Day Eight, Nine, and Ten: The Lull

Dear Christmas:  You Can Suck It.  Love, Elizabeth

I believe we have officially entered what shall heretofore be referred to as the Dreaded Christmas Lull.  Or just the Lull for short.

I’m not sure how to explain this Lull, exactly. It will probably take all of my most fancy tricky writing.  Luckily fancy tricky writing is really what I am best at, so it’s all good.  Hold on to your hats, ladies.

Right around this time every year I have all the Christmas presents ordered or bought or mailed off.  I like to get that shit DONE, yo.  But when I click that last “buy it now” button somehow I think the joy of Christmas really starts to wane for me.  I am a self confessed lover of gift giving and somehow the buying is almost the best part.  I love it when I hear that someone just loved something I sent them, of course, but I also love the anticipation and the brainstorming and the clicking around the internet, the shopping at shiny lit up stores and the last minute impulse buying and the wrapping and the guessing and all that shazam, I just love it.  When it’s over and I can’t cram one more thing into my overburdened budget and I’m really and truly done, and yet nothing much from anyone else has shown up  at our house yet, there’s this strange let down, and I try to temper it with hot chocolate and parties and cookies but it still feels like I’m already past the balled up wrapping paper and the scattered bows, convinced that nothing fun and wonderful will ever happen again.

I think I envisioned these advent activities as a shield against that feeling, but unfortunately forcing your sreaming children and your absentminded husband into Target at 8 am on Sunday morning to pick out a new Christmas ornament doesn’t really put the shine back on the thing as much as you might hope.  I try to absorb the message of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but part of me is too beaten down by a teething 18 month old and a caged wild  beast of a 4 year old to feel much enlightenment.  I wish I were better at feeling holidayish.

Some of you might wonder why I do these advent activities at all, if they’re just going to stress me out, if I’m just going to end up wishing I’d gone and picked out ornaments by myself, and the answer is that dammit, my family will participate in these goddamned Christmas activities with me even if it kills them!

Ha ha no, kidding. Sort of.

Mostly I do these things because I still remember this stuff from when I was a kid, and it’s important to me that my kids have that too.  I can remember the gingerbread house my baby sitter made when I was three years old, but that we never had one of our own. I can remember every single christmas decoration my parents brought out every year – the orange dala horses, the angels made from cardboard ice cream boxes and spray painted gold, the felt root beer magnets that only went on the refrigerator in December.  I can remember the muddy trip to get the tree and the times I saw the Nutcracker and ice skating and hot chocolate.  I am sure not all kids remember these things in such detail, but I did, and I do.

The other reason that I do these advent activities, the reason that I made Merry Christmas chalkboards and the reason I make glittered acorns and I swag my front porch in fir garland is because I want to do it.  Some of these things are not for my kids, but you know what? I COUNT TOO.  The Christmas I want to have is also important.  The things I think are fun, I get to do those things if I want.  Christmas is about spoiling kids, sure, and it’s about buying that extra large peppermint lollipop for $15.95 because you know it’s going to BLOW YOUR KIDS MIND when he sees it sticking out of his stocking on Christmas morning, but it’s also about me.  I may be a mom and there may be more toys under the christmas tree than diamonds  but still.  I COUNT TOO.  What I want matters, even though I have kids.

Which is to say – we bought ornaments, we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we saw Santa, I asked for a break from teething and some new perfume.  I might try to forget that dismal trip to Target and the screaming on Santa’s lap, but I’ll remember forever my afternoon with Amy and the homemade marshmallows at Ginger Elizabeth’s and that endless pink frilly glittery dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Today we’re going to decorate cookies, but we’re also going to go to Target and I’m going to buy the reddest damn lipstick in the store.  Some times, some things are just for me.

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6 Responses

  1. You are correct; you are quite good at the fancy tricky writing.

  2. It’s hard being a Christmas elf for your family. And you’re right, even Christmas elves should get to enjoy the holiday.

    Cheers from one damn elf to another!

  3. We are cut from the same cloth, my friend! I am doing an advent calendar too since I remember the one I had so vividly (my step-mother was horrible in many ways but she WAS crafty and liked buying gifts for little girls). This weekend I made two gingerbread houses from scratch- one for the kids and a mid-century modern one that is supposed to be a replica of our house (I sound like a total tool, huh?) and tonight we decorated the kids’ one. I have a 2 y.o. and a 3.5 year old and in the middle of it all my husband called from the other room “BOY you sound like you are having fun. Is this what memories are made of?” because all I was doing was shrieking at them. Ah… Christmas. I have to assume that this stuff will become more magical with older children?

  4. It is hard pulling Christmas out of your butt. The beings in this house seem to think that Christmas just happens and, dammit, I want some of the magic, too! :sigh: Having back stage passes to Christmas isn’t always worth it… I thanked my parents the other day for all their work that they put into making our holiday mornings so wonderful. I never knew how much they sacrificed to make every detail count.

  5. A-freakin’-men. The part I have a hard time remembering is that doing things for me has to be enough. Like, I can’t feel put upon that I’m the only one decorating the tree when it’s because it’s important to ME that we’re doing a tree in the first place. And I can’t feel hurt that my husband doesn’t appreciate all the hard work I put into picking the perfect decorations because I didn’t do it for HIM, I did it for me. That’s a tough one for me.

  6. I was just driving along tonight seeing a bunch of Christmas lights and thinking “I cannot believe people keep DOING this year after year. What a hassle.”

    And I love Christmas. It just sometimes. . . .boggles my mind, you know.

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