If you are the type of person who turns on Christmas music the day after Halloween and has Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, you may not understand my feelings about holidays. But, if you are like most of the people I have talked to recently, I think you will get it. Not that everyone feels like I do, but it seems that most of us have some apprehension where holidays are concerned.
Sometimes I feel like a Scrooge. I don't get terribly excited about putting up Christmas decorations. I actually dislike putting up a tree. I think it's beautiful once it's up, but I almost hate putting it up and taking it down. I don't own a CD of Christmas music. It's not that I don't like it, but it's everywhere already, so I don't feel the need to put it on in my house. I sometimes get tired of spending so much money and I definitely hate thinking of the travel and logistics of getting to see everyone on Christmas Day. I don't remember feeling that way when I was younger, but back then, I didn't buy any presents and I just went where I was told. Plus, all of my family lived in the same town, so it wasn't so difficult to see everyone. It was Mimi's on Christmas Eve, Santa at our house on Christmas morning and then Nana's on Christmas Day. Easy, right? Even when I moved to Texas, it wasn't a big deal. I just traveled to Mom's and once again, let her make all the arrangements. I had a few nervous breakdowns when I started to reach an age where everyone wondered why I wasn't married, especially when my LITTLE brother got married and I got moved back to the kid table so he and his wife could sit at the grown up table. But other than my own emotional distress, the holidays were fairly easy.
Then I met Aaron. Meeting Aaron was, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wouldn't have my three beautiful babies, my wonderful life in a beautiful home, or a partner to share all of that with. But, boy, did it screw up Christmas. All of a sudden, we couldn't just travel to Mom's for the week and relax. We had to make decisions. Decisions that didn't upset everyone. The first year wasn't such a big deal except that my dad's family wondered why we weren't at Mimi's on Christmas Eve. That was easy to explain...I got married. You gotta split it up, right? We would spend Christmas Eve with Aaron's family and then get up and drive to Oklahoma on Christmas Day. No, we didn't like driving on Christmas Day, because we missed Christmas dinner at Nana's, but we loved hanging out with my family and shaking it down on Christmas Night, so it was worth it.
Then we had kids. All of a sudden, driving on Christmas Day was even less of a fun idea. It was one thing to drive 4 1/2 hours when it was just us, but add a screaming baby who hates her car seat, drag the drive out to 5-6 hours and it just doesn't feel too Christmas-y. But we didn't want to upset Aaron's family, so we couldn't change the Christmas Eve plans. The first few years of Avery's life, we had Santa come visit on Christmas Eve morning and actually drove in the night, arriving at Mom's at 1 or 2 in the morning so we could be in Oklahoma on Christmas instead of driving. And it's became something I dreaded.
And now, the kids are getting old enough to notice that they are the only kids who have Santa gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We also feel fairly strongly that Santa come to our house instead of Mom's. Besides the fact that we want Christmas at our own house, think of the logistics of having big Santa gifts delivered to Oklahoma so the kids won't see them in the back of the car. But if we have Santa come Christmas morning and then get in the car, the kids don't get to enjoy their new gifts for any time at all. Sheesh...I get tired just thinking of all of it. I lost a lot of sleep at night thinking about it.
Then, my mom saved the day. She suggested that we have our family Christmas the weekend before Christmas. Everyone has so many places to be and so many people to see, that it feels too rushed anyway. And then I talked to Aaron's sister-in-law. They want to be in Oklahoma on Christmas too, so we changed our tradition as well. We're having a New Year's Eve slumber party instead of trying to cram our Christmas in before we all travel. So now, we're going to be in our own house on Christmas Eve, Santa will come visit and we'll get to stay home and enjoy our kids and they get to enjoy their gifts on Christmas Day. But, for the first time in a long time, I'm actually excited about Christmas. I even lit a pine needle candle and turned the holiday radio station on. I've been able to sleep. I'm not dreading the holiday. I feel like we get to enjoy our family without rushing and relax this year. And focus on our kids. After all, that's what it's all about, right?