So That Was Christmas

The half-decorated tree with a string of burnt out lights is a good indication of what this Christmas has been like for us: well-intentioned, but ultimately depressing. It has been a hard month for me. I say that a lot, but my usual anxiety and depression is kicked into overdrive when there are BIG! IMPORTANT! holidays involved. Throw in financial stress and pregnancy and you have a recipe for disaster. Disaster in the form of late nights staying awake and fretting or late nights staying awake and sobbing.

I feel like I have failed Lorelei. This time of year should be magical for little kids. Twinkling lights, late nights watching movies, making and eating too many cookies, hot chocolate snuggled on the sofa, meeting Santa. She’s not quite old enough to really understand what’s going on but I feel like now is the time to really start making new traditions as a family of three almost four. And I did almost nothing. Not for lack of trying or planning but through a complete lack of follow through. Like the tree:

It was supposed to be a nice little activity for Lorelei and I to do one afternoon post-nap. Brian and I had put up the tree and hung the lights the night before. I put on White Christmas and got out a few of ornaments – mostly the non-bauble variety – and I gave her a few. I tried to explain that she was supposed to show me where she wanted them and I would help her hang them on the branches. Well, our language skills – despite the recent explosion of words – were not up to the task and she had a meltdown when I tried to help her. Melt. Down. Followed by throwing of the ornaments because, yes I did get out a few balls and that was a terrible, terrible mistake. I was reluctant to finish decorating the tree after that and so it sits in the corner with a dozen or so ornaments placed on it at random. It really is a sad little tree.

The new tradition that turned out to be a complete success – even though it lead to a no-nap day (kill me now) – was taking her to St Charles for their little “Victorian” Christmas. I don’t know if I can accurately describe this event because it is kind of hilarious and so…St Charles-y but it was a huge hit with the little one.

Don’t let the surly expression fool you. If we had met Santa at the mall, there probably would have been tears. And screaming and Mommy really, really wishing she could have a bottle of wine or five afterwards. Meeting Santas from around the world or whatever (some of which, I swear, sounded like they just made up – Frontier Santa, really?) as we wandered down brick sidewalks on a mild December day was a much, much better idea. (Pictures above: Lorelei, Brian and Père Noël) Bonus: the various characters gave out trading cards for the kids to collect. Lorelei loves her some cards.

New tradition achieved!

What really got me down this year was the presents. (I know Christmas isn’t really about the presents or even Santa but try to explain that to a kid and then get back to me. Hell, explain that to most people my age and let me know how that works out for you.) Unfortunately, Christmas has turned into something obnoxiously materialistic. I felt like I couldn’t turn around without having to hear about what people were getting for their kids or what people wanted from their spouse/significant other/parent/whatever and it is just infuriating. It’s like Christmas has turned into a way for people to show how much money they have and to get into a competition with people they know about who can get the most expensive thing. It’s disgusting.

However…

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a small big (I’ll admit it) part of me that is insanely jealous. We don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. Things are tight but we managed to save enough to at least put a few gifts under the tree. Right now, Lorelei doesn’t really get it. In a few years, however, when her school friends are bragging about the new bike or iPod or video game system or whatever is the next big thing that they got for Christmas, I don’t want her to feel left out. It’s a strange thing to worry about, the future Lorelei. But I do. It was actually giving me anxiety attacks. Here’s the thing, though, Lorelei still got lots of presents (thanks family!) and she still got things that she really loves. Why do I care so much? She is very happy and I should be to.

This has turned into a completely incoherent ramble. But what I think I’ve decided, realized, whatever…I’m not going to change things. She (and her sister) will get a few new toys from us, a few books and maybe something to wear (her kitty/rabbit/mouse/ whatever hat was one of the biggest hits) and that’s it. Nothing fancy. And if (hopefully when) money is less of an issue, we can pass the extra along to those who aren’t so lucky. I think that is a much more important thing for her them learn.

I need to stop now. Want to see a cute picture of Lorelei on Christmas morning?

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About Kirsten

Wife, mother, writer and all around knerd. Maker of cookies, scarves and really big messes.

Posted on December 27, 2011, in Musings, Notes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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