I Quit Christmas
It’s been no real secret that this year has been a hard one for me. For whatever reason, it seems that this has been the year where losing Ariana has really crashed into me. It might be that I spend four days a week with kids who are the same age she should be, so I am reminded daily of all her milestones, events and special things she’s missed out on, and we with her. It might be that having had Oliver means that I get daily comments from well meaning strangers about how ‘a pigeon pair is just perfect’. I always feel torn between telling them that he’s actually our third child, not our second. But then they give me that look, and most days I just can’t deal with that look, so I lie, and then beat myself up internally for a few hours.
But, I digress. The point is, it’s been a long, stressful year for more than just me. Lucy started and finished prep, Oliver was diagnosed failure to thrive and has been undergoing a whole host of tests every couple of months. Matt has had some stuff going on in the background as well, and we’ve all just really fought through to this point with not much of anything left except gritted teeth and the knowledge that this too shall pass.
Matt and I have never really created any Christmas day traditions with the kids. We put up a tree somewhere around December, and we take the kids for a drive one night to look at lights. The kids get in the car with their favourite teddy, a blanket and a drink bottle and we drive around for hours, spotting lights and commenting on displays. The kids fall asleep in the car, and we carry them up to bed. Somewhere between June & December I fight the stores to do laybuys and pick up bits and pieces from Santa and then we whack it all together on Christmas eve, go to bed and wait for the present opening on the big day.
Last year, for whatever reason (I swear I lost my mind entirely) I offered to host Christmas. I won’t go into all of the gory details but it was not a disaster but it broke me into about sixty pieces and I learned a valuable lesson about not lying to ones-self about their capabilities at any given time.
This year, I’ve quit Christmas. After a heart to heart with Matt we came to the decision that it’s time for us to have new family traditions, new ways to celebrate, and to put down some ground rules.
Our kids both still nap (yes, even the 5.5 year old). Dragging them out after an early morning on Christmas day to have Lunch with all of the family seems like the polite thing to do. But it’s not the right thing to do – not for us. This year our Christmas day will be at home. Just my husband, my kids and I. We aren’t going to lunch, we’re not doing Christmas dinner. The oven won’t be getting turned on, and I’m not buying twenty different kinds of salad and meat. The door will be open, and we will have juice and coffee on tap, biscuits and cakes, and anybody who wants to pop in to visit us is more than welcome.
But this year, we’re creating new traditions. And this year, I will enjoy Christmas because it will be at home, pressure free and finally, without expectation of being ‘the best Christmas ever’. There won’t be religious debate, fighting across the table or stress. There are many wonderful things about my family Christmases in the years gone by. But for my mental state, this year, it has to be this way.
I’m excited about Christmas this year – for the first Christmas in three years, I can’t wait.