Man, I have a hard time with Christmas. I used to love it. LOVE. IT. When I was a kid the whole month was awesome with school parties, church parties, Christmas carols, all the lights, and a couple weeks of freedom. Every Christmas Eve as long as I can remember, was spent at our house when our cousins and Granny and Grandpa came over to eat a big dinner, play games, and have the annual talent show.
Christmas morning we'd wake up and call Granny and Grandpa who would come over as quickly as possible, no matter how early it was. They were with us while we opened our gifts, oohing and ahhing with each and every one of us. Then that night everyone came back over to play with all the new toys and finish off the left-overs.
Christmas was fun. It was magical. It provided some of the happiest times of my childhood.
Adulthood came and it all changed in the blink of an eye. Mom and dad divorced when I was 19; the four siblings above me left the nest and flew far away to begin their own family traditions. A couple years later Grandpa died. I literally didn't know what to do with myself when I was met with Christmas Eves that I weren't right.
Soon my own kids came into being and the Christmas spirit renewed itself within me, through their eyes. It was ok that Christmas Eve wasn't the huge family party it once was, because now new memories were being made with kids experiencing the magic of their own childhoods. Watching them learn to love Christmas was worth everything to me.
The separation between me and their dad obviously changed things, but we made Christmas work the best we could. One year I spent the night on his couch so we could all be together Christmas morning. The next year he spent the night on mine, and we were able to get presents opened and the house disastered before I had to leave for work.
It wasn't perfect but we made do. We made it work.
Last year the kids went to Denver to spend a couple weeks with their dad over Christmas. It was the worst Christmas of my life. When people asked how my holidays were going, I literally told them it was terrible and I couldn't wait for them to be over. This year they will be with me, and I imagine it will be a bitter day for their dad.
I have to work Christmas day. I should have had the day off, but because someone took leave, someone whose kids are already grown and out of the house, I have to work. I'll be there at 5:00 am.
Fucking hate it.
I told the kids that they will come to work with me (as I sit around 90% of the day literally doing nothing as it is). I don't care if I get fired, I'm not making them stay home and look at the presents under the tree until 2:00 in the afternoon. So they will call me when they wake up and I'll come get them.
What a way to spend Christmas.
I could do without this holiday. Were it not for my kids, I would do without it. I wouldn't bother with a tree; I wouldn't make the month any different than any other month of the year. It gives me anxiety. It makes me sad that I can't give my kids what I once had. I hate that I have to work and ruin their day.
I often wonder what they will say as adults, what memories and feelings will stick within their hearts. Will they go on to love it as I did in spite of the bullshit they've had to go through? Will they be eager to start whatever traditions they can find to distance themselves from their childhood experiences?
As I sit here looking at the lights on the tree on this dark snowy morning, I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy. I hope they are happy with their gifts. I hope they have at least an ok Christmas. The only thing that would make it a great one is if their dad were able to make it, which he won't, only because he can't.
Please hurry Santa. Please get here and do your thing so we can get on with normal again until you come around again next year.