Do you have it? Do you know what it is? I think that it is lost on quite a few people in this day and age. I know I lost it these past two weeks. I've been dreading tomorrow like the plague. I forgot the Reason for the Season, and fell into the commercialization trap.
Buy this, buy that, get them this, get them that. WTF does any of that have to do with the real reason of Christmas? Not a damn thing – that's what.
I grew up knowing that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I went to midnight service on Christmas Eve with my family every year till I moved out. I sang Christmas carols as well as Christmas hymns all month long. I went out of my way to be kind and courteous and giving to those less fortunate than me, and I always challenged myself to think of something new to do each year to give something back to those less fortunate – be it donating my gently used clothing or toys to a shelter, helping someone who needed an extra set of hands – I knew the season was about giving – of yourself, of your heart, of your love.
I failed my children in this respect. We do not go to Christmas Eve services. I do not read the Christmas story from the bible to them. I do not ask them each year what they would like to do to help someone less fortunate than them during the holiday season. They have never sung a Christmas hymn, or held a candle during Christmas Eve service. They know the story of the birth of Jesus – but I don't think that comes to their mind first and foremost when you mention Christmas. Their first thought is "what are we going to get?"
I stressed myself out so much yesterday, that I seriously thought I would have a nervous breakdown. I couldn't find a store that had the presents they'd requested in stock. None of them locally had the Paper Jamz guitars that T. and J. wanted, or the Cabella's Big Game Hunter 2012 w/gun for the Wii, the Sports Resort w/Motion Sensor for the Wii, or WWE 2012 for the Wii that J. asked for, nor could I find the acoustic guitar in stock that J. wanted, or the special pencils I wanted to get J. to go with his sketch pad. I could have gone to other stores and possibly found them – but since I don't drive and need to rely on a dear friend or TMT to take me where I need to go – my travels were limited to a few select stores. So I shopped with my dear friend and she helped me pick out items that she knew T. and J. would like as well...and consistently told me to stop stressing. It finally started to sink in, and I could feel the muscles in my neck starting to relax – and hurt.
I went to bed last night exhausted with a horrid tension headache, and woke up this morning feeling as though I'd been beaten with a baseball bat. T. got a video message from Santa this afternoon (ahem) that told him Santa wasn't sure if he would make it on the nice list this year because he couldn't keep his room neat and tidy like mom and dad have asked him to all year long. While Santa did say that he still had time to change things around and get on the nice list....T. didn't hear any of that. He was busy collapsing in a pile of tears. While it had the desired effect (his room is so clean you could eat off the floor now), I traumatized my son by having him think Santa might not bring him anything. Talk about feeling like a total bitch.
This is not what Christmas is about.
I made myself a promise that I would write about all of this so that next year I would be reminded of the hell that I put myself through, and that I would do whatever was necessary to ensure that my children (and I) remembered the true meaning of Christmas, and not fall prey to the commercialization of the season and the gimme-gimme-gimme mentality. So if any of you see me slipping next year and forgetting – smack me upside the head and remind me, okay?
I'm off to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" with my children and try to salvage (and enjoy) what is left of the holiday season with them.