These are some Christmas activities which I have traditionally enjoyed: shopping, gift wrapping, story reading, daily devotions, baking and candy making, music, decorating, kid crafts, advent calendars, letter writing, card mailing, family photos, and tree hunting. Interestingly enough, attending advent services at church has never been a high point for me. I prefer Lent. Also, no matter how cute my kiddos were or are, I have always hated their Christmas pageants, concerts, and programs.
We've never done this, but, isn't that Elf on the Shelf cute? We. We've never done it. Come to think of it, WE have never done most of those things. It's pretty much always just been I who has done all that.
When I was a kid, sometimes I'd say things like "we need to clean." My Dad's response to that was, "who's 'we'? You got a mouse in your pocket?" That meant that I needed to clean and he had no intention of helping, right?
Well, as the old poem says, "and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." Yes, that's right. No one else had to stir because good ole Mom was doing everything while the rest of the lot lazied around enjoying her efforts.
Christmas used to be awesome before it became a job. I really have enjoyed all of those activities at some point in the past. The problem arose when an expectation grew that it was my responsibility to pull those things off year after year. Alone. Cheerfully. Willingly.
If I don't, I'm a Scrooge. Only Scrooges decide that they just don't feel like making fudge. Only Scrooges believe you can have a very nice Christmas without a tree. Honestly, only Scrooges dislike watching 20 first graders sing while loudly shaking homemade, pipe cleaner, jingle bells. I get the stink eye for that one every year.
Here is the message I have for my family. You ruined my Christmas. You ruined it when you made me feel like I HAD to do things for you and took away the joy I used to feel when I GOT to do those things just because I wanted to. You ruined it when you made me feel like I was an asshole just because I wasn't in the mood to watch It's A Wonderful Life. You ruined it when you whined that there wasn't any rock candy, but refused to help me make it. You all suck, and I'm telling Santa.
This year, I will only do what I want to do when I want to do it. The only thing that I am requiring of myself is to set up the nativity scene and to, at least once, tell my kids the story of when Christ was born.
I have already bought some presents, but I think I might just stop, now. We'll see whether I get a hankering to whip up a batch of fudge. Chances are, that at some point this season, I will feel a desire to do something special for someone else's family. Please pull your tops out of your bottoms and recognize that this is how Christmas is supposed to be.
I love you, family, but I am not your own personal Christmas house elf. Feel free to talk to Santa about me, too. I don't need his presents, anyway. I have God's.
Chicken Fried Vogue
For 15 years and most of her adult life, Bubblez lived in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city. She enjoyed taking her children to museums, parks, and dates at Starbucks. Then Bubblez moved to the country and her En Vogue attitude got chicken fried. Her yard is a park where the neighbor's rooster won't stop crowing, Starbucks is almost an hour away, and her large collection of fancy shoes is worthless. But, living in the acres of green has presented more opportunities for living "green" as Bubblez travels the path toward self-sufficiency (and bitches ((and prays)) along the way).