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.