It's getting close. Are you ready? I'm not. Not even close. Actually, I'm closer than I was a couple of days ago. Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and got a huge chunk of my shopping done. And, today I put up the tree. Well, sorta, kinda, maybe. It is STANDING. Standing there waiting for the lights to jump on! As I was assembling the tree the thought of "pre-lit" kept crossing my mind. I suppose we should join the modern world and get a pre-lit tree...but where's the fun in that when I can spend hours untangling light strands?
So, here it is a week and some change from the BIG day...and all I can think is "WHATEVER". So much for holiday spirit. I don't know, but I'm wondering if it is just my age and stage in life. I used to LOVE Christmas when my kids were little. Sure, it was a crazy, crazy, crazy time but it was fun and exciting too. Those were the days of preparing for Santa, decorating the tree and house, attending Christmas programs, concerts and dance shows, planning classroom parties, shopping for teacher gifts, making Christmas dresses, shopping for the "hot" toys at Toys R Us, taking the kids to pick out their new ornament, practicing for the Christmas program at church, making cookies, taking pictures for the Christmas card and on and on.
Now the kids pick out their own gifts (obviously I can't be trusted to pick out clothes or video games!), wince when I suggest taking a family picture and barely notice the decorations. Gone are the Christmas mornings of assembling toys, extricating Barbie from her box, and searching for the missing game piece in the rubble of gift wrap. I suppose those days will return when grandkids start showing up...but for now Christmas seems to be missing the WONDER and EXCITMENT that it once had.
I'd think it was just me...but I've been hearing it from a lot of my friends lately too. People commenting that they haven't gotten their tree up yet or haven't started shopping or just can't get into the Christmas spirit.
Are our expectations out of whack? Are we burned out and don't relish the idea of more to add to our TO DO list? Do we really HAVE to have the perfectly decorated house, a diabetic-coma-inducing stash of fresh baked cookies and treats, and gifts wrapped Martha Stewart style? Do we NEED to have so many presents under the tree that we can't even get to the tree?
When I was a child we received gifts on Christmas and our birthdays. The rest of the year we received the necessities and maybe we could coax some treats or little toy out of Grandma when we tagged along to the store with her. These days kids are used to GETTING STUFF all the time. As soon as they WANT something they expect to get it. That instant gratification makes it difficult to receive SPECIAL gifts when it comes time for Christmas or birthdays. Every gift needs to be bigger and better (as in more expensive) than the last gift. No wonder we're stressed out.
I ran across a blog post that resonated with me and kind of reflects the feelings I've had towards Christmas the past few years. The blog is City Scraps and the post can be found here. I can't really go that extreme because unlike the author, I have kids and the mom in me still wants to make it special for them...but it's tempting!
What are your thoughts on the hustle and bustle, unrealistic expectations and over-spending of Christmas?
Ok...now back to those lights....