Seven days and counting.
Christmas is coming.
It's right around the corner and if you're anything like me, you're nowhere near ready. Or you're not like me at all & you're completely done with shopping, wrapping and decorating. CONGRATULATIONS.
I have done NO shopping. I haven't wrapped a single present. I haven't even really thought about doing either. It's bad, I know, but December is just too overwhelming for me and for the third year in a row, we've waited WAY TOO LONG.
Pulling off a good Christmas for two kids can be difficult in the best financial situation. Pulling off a good Christmas for two kids PLUS two decent birthdays and you are doomed if you haven't been planning and stockpiling presents all year long. I told myself this. I told Jay this. I knew this in June; we should be shopping for Christmas. Did I start shopping then?? NO. If I had, I would have some shopping done and some presents to wrap.
Good thing Christmas is more than shopping and wrapping and presents, right?
Christmas is about caring and sharing and family. Its about being together and enjoying each other's company. There's the cooking and the decorating. The tree and the lights.
Oh, the lights.
The lights are my absolute favorite part of Christmas. I'd leave them up all year if it wasn't the sign of complete laziness because they are just so damned pretty.
And while I might be totally slacking off when it comes to presents and wrapping, we aren't slacking at all when it comes to Christmas spirit. Our lights have been up since the first week of December and we got our tree this last weekend. It took us awhile to find The Perfect Tree; we went to THREE different tree farms up at Apple Hill but find it, we did. Jay cut it down; I helped him carry it out and Phoenix helped net it for the ride home. It was definitely a family affair.
We got it home and set up. Jay wanted to put the lights on it, which I usually do because they have to be just a certain way but I relented and let him do it. Phoenix helped with the garland and the ornaments, of course, and I found myself repeating words I heard so often when decorating the tree as a kid --
"Move that one over there."
"Too many ornaments here."
"Oh, there's a bald spot!"
In his defense, it is kind of hard to decorate a six-foot tree when you're only four-and-a-half feet tall. Considering this height limitation, he did really well and only a few ornaments had to be 'relocated'. I'm kind of surprised by how much he really loves Christmas. He's only seven and hasn't complained to us about his birthday being so close to this other, more widely-celebrated holiday. Yet. I know it may still come, as he gets older but right now, he doesn't care and he is totally in love with Christmas.
Paxton is too young to really grasp the concept of birthdays and Christmas but he's the one who's really going to be put out as time ticks by. His birthday is on the 30th, just five days after Christmas. Everyone is burned out and overwhelmed and we're all out of Valium by this point in the holiday season; we're all just waiting for New Year's Eve and the champagne. The last week of December has to be the worst time of year for a birthday.
He doesn't have a clue, though. He's just excited to see all the pretty lights, like his Mama. He has no idea who Santa is or that this mysterious fat man will be bringing him presents. I'm not sure what he would do if I tried to take him to see Santa at the mall but I can't imagine it would be good. Avoiding the mall Santa is just fine by me; one less thing I have to worry about not getting done. Like the Christmas cards that won't be there before Christmas.
You'll be getting New Years cards instead. You're welcome.
All this stress and somehow, it's still fun. This is still a time of year I look forward to; I still get excited; I thrive on the last minute rushing around and the Christmas Eve wrapping craze. It's kind of a tradition, one my dad started many, many years ago when he'd take me out on Christmas Eve to get my mom's present but all the stress, all the hassle, all the madness are worth it when you see those little faces light up when they see the presents stacked up under the tree.
Christmas is coming and I am not prepared.
I'm not going to stress out about it, though. Why should I? It's Christmas time and I already have everything I could ever need: I have my family. I have my health. I have hope.
This year is going to be tight and tricky and it won't go down in history as the Christmas we all got everything we asked for but it will still be Christmas. We will still be together, we are still a family and we can make even the poorest, most-presentless Christmas rich with love and full of happiness because we are together.