Making Christmas

by Jennifer on December 24, 2013

I looked over the Christmas list with a sigh.  It listed each gift, whether it was from Santa or Mommy and Daddy and whether or not it had been wrapped.  I actually had to scroll down to see the whole thing, the fact that made my stomach turn over.

Why did I buy so much when I work so hard to be sure I’m not raising entitled little boys?

The size of the list felt very un-Christmas like and the feeling in my chest felt even worse.   What was I doing?

This had been a working list.  I watched it grow longer and longer as the days went by and I was the one responsible for managing its heft.  I could have and should have cut it off at many points.

But with each new gift I bought, I never felt finished.  I never felt Christmas was “ready”.  It was always just one more thing and I will be done.  It didn’t feel like Christmas yet so I must not be finished with my shopping.

It didn’t stop at presents either.  I bought massive amounts of outdoor Christmas lights with the grand plan of creating a truly fabulous yard display for the kids.  It just didn’t feel like Christmas so surely a yard full of lights would help.
I ended up returning them to the store.

I bought tiny trees for each boy’s room and the playroom.  I bought ornaments for the trees and we decorated them together.  With Christmas tunes.

I recorded every Christmas show I could find that was age-appropriate on the UVerse.

It must be the weather.  Except that the weather has been unusually chilly for Texas this year.

So why does it still feel wrong?  I have done – no, overdone – everything I can imagine to make it feel like Christmas is, well, tomorrow.

I thought about our last Christmas in our old house, the way the lights from our tree would fill the whole room at night, the way we had to be extra quiet when putting out the presents because the boys’ rooms were so close.  I remembered, with a smile, hanging the boys’ stockings on either side of the television in our fireplaceless house.  I thought of the sound of footie-pajama feet shuffling down the hallway in the morning.  That special day felt like a big cuddly snuggle.  That was Christmas.

This house still feels cold and empty and my efforts to make it feel warm and full of life seem to have failed.  No matter how long that Christmas list is, I won’t feel “finished” this year.

I wish I had realized that from the beginning.  It would have been good to know several stores ago.

I’m so thankful to have my sweet boys and for us all to be healthy and comfortable and the last thing I want to be is ungrateful.  I’m not – I’m very appreciative for those two little blessings of which I feel completely unworthy.

But I’ve had a hard time making Christmas this year.  And my time is up.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Mamarific December 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Aw, hugs to you today. It always takes awhile to settle into a new environment. I bet the kids had a blast, though. You are probably still in mourning for your old house and your old life, which you are allowed to be, BTW. Change is hard.
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Jennifer December 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm

I think the boys had a great Christmas and there was a moment when we were snuggled on the couch together reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas when everything felt right. And that moment was enough for me this year.

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William Dameron December 26, 2013 at 5:21 am

I hope when you woke up on Christmas Day it felt fulfilling! Wishing you all best the season has to offer.

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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

Christmas morning was so busy, I didn’t have time to think about it! I need to get over my missing our old place and suck it up. I guess it just came as a surprise to me that I would miss it at all.

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that cynking feeling December 26, 2013 at 6:47 am

Why does it seem like it takes us doing all the wrong things to figure out what is really at the root of our problems?
I hope you were able to enjoy Christmas.
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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

I enjoyed it because they did. And they are lucky to be young and not preoccupied with all the silliness that their mom worries about. Merry Christmas!

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Kim @ The G is Silent December 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

I’m at a loss for words other then I’m so sorry this Christmas wasn’t as golden as you like for it to be. So this year you got a pass. Next year you have to put on the smile and pretend to enjoy and eventually your mind will accept and not realize you are forcing it. My aunt once told me, “Say something positive and your heart will match your words.” I think the same can be said for you. Happy merry everything. Nothing is forever.

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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

I try the think positive thing, I’m just not very good at convincing myself. :)

Happy holidays!

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Christie December 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

This is really hitting home for me. Our posts are so similar– trying to create something that maybe it isn’t our place to create. I applaud your self awareness. A lovely read.

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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm

As their mother, I have this compelling need to make things “right” because it feels like my job/duty to create the perfect Christmas. Unfortunately, the Martha Stewart gene must have missed my family.

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Michelle Longo December 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

“Making Christmas.” Yes. I get that. It seems like if the spirit isn’t within us at any particular moment, we need to DO something to get it there. I’m finding more and more that we are together in this feeling that something is off, all of us for a variety of reasons. It’s peculiar and it makes me feel less alone at the same time. Hope your day was wonderful just the same.
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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm

The boys and I love watching the Nightmare Before Christmas and the Making Christmas song always puts a smirk on my face. They are trying so hard to make Christmas but it all just turns out wrong and even the music in a minor key and the plodding rhythm sound just like I feel. Laughably missing it.

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Ben @ DadoftheDecade December 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Christmas never feels ready. I have presents from Santa and from Rudolph, and from Mrs. Claus and even a few from me. Every time I go to the store, there’s something new for the stocking, or to tuck under the tree. I don’t know how it happens!
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Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Why is that I wonder? Even as I’m putting out all the gifts after the kids have fallen asleep, I’m going over everything in my head to make sure I haven’t forgotten something. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I have, I guess I just hate to have my shortcoming be the cause of a botched Christmas morning.

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