Tomorrow Is Not Christmas

by Jennifer on December 24, 2014

pexels-photo-190931“The penny frame sale doesn’t start until the day after Christmas,” said the fluorescent pink painted lips of the store employee as she unceremoniously shoved my purchases into a plastic bag.

“Oh. Okay, I thought I saw a sign over there…”

“No, those should all be covered up,” Painted Lips said, shaking her head from left to right and leaving streaks of bright pink trailers across my field of vision.

I took my bag and headed for the exit, not having the will to whip out the skills I received during my outstanding legal education, my overstuffed purse smacking the uncovered “SALE” sign on the way out the door.

You know, the “SALE” sign that reads in fine print “buy any photo frame and receive the second photo frame of equal or lesser value for 1 cent.”

And then it occurred to me.

Tomorrow is not Christmas anyway. I could come back for the penny sale on the 26th and still have the frames wrapped and under the tree in time for Christmas.

Tomorrow is not Christmas.

I flipped open my computer and typed in the name of our church, the keys clicking away in the silence of our home at nap time. Scrolling through the menu for “worship”, my eyes scanned the times of the various Christmas Eve services.  My eyes travelled the page until I stopped at the one listed as “Family Service”.  I clicked my laptop closed.

Today may be Christmas Eve, but tomorrow is not Christmas.

I pushed the stroller off the sidewalk and into the wood chips of the playground and released Little Boy S into the wind. He ran to the slide to greet the other child with a squeal that carried clear across the lake.

Yoga Pants turned to face me with a knowing smile, “Is he excited for Christmas tomorrow?”

Tomorrow is not Christmas.

“We celebrate Christmas on the 27th. My oldest son is in Dallas with his father this year so we put Christmas on hold until he comes back.” I waited for The Look and The SemiSmile of those whose lives are not parceled out weekend by weekend and Yoga Pants did not disappoint.

“That must be tough with him,” she said, tilting her head toward Little Boy S.

“Nah, he is still three so Christmas is whenever we choose to celebrate it, for now.”

Tomorrow is not Christmas.

I sat on the couch, Baby E asleep on my lap, and looked at the three long stockings hanging from stars on our fireplace. I heard my husband on the baby monitor, reading The Grinch to Little Boy S.

“I must stop this Christmas from coming. But how?”

Yes, how?

How to build a dam for the tidal wave of magic that Christmas Day brings so that it does not swallow my family when one of its members is missing…

How to kiss my two little sugarplums good night tonight without opening the door of the third…

How to watch Rudolph with them and not acknowledge the lack of requests for hot cocoa and the missing personality that can swallow a room when it is truly excited…

How to stay sitting on the couch and distract myself when I know I should be setting out the presents, just so, so that when they come running down the hall in the morning everything looks magical…

Tomorrow is not Christmas.

Except that I know that it is.

“He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming. It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same,” rang through the baby monitor.

No, tomorrow is not Christmas.


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Vanessa D. December 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Oh that is a tough one!

I wish you lots of magic when Christmas comes to your house.
Vanessa D. recently posted..Finding Our Own Meaning of ChristmasMy Profile

Rowan December 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

You just keep picking at that empty place like a lost tooth, until everyone is together again and the holiday is complete. (Also, you captured “The Look” perfectly.)

Nancy Lowell December 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

Jennifer, you said it so well, Christmas is when you choose to celebrate it! In fact, for many years Christmas and Easter were celebrated on the same day, Christmas Day was moved more than once through history, what’s one more day?
Nancy Lowell recently posted..Christmas Day PoemMy Profile

Mamarific December 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I love how you told this story and kept me wondering why it couldn’t be Christmas. Finding out the reason just makes all the details of Painted Lips and the playground mom take on a new light. Must be so hard to be away from him, but I know you will all have a wonderful Christmas on the 27th. You are making the most of a tough situation.
Mamarific recently posted..Ghost of Christmas PastMy Profile

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