Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Expectations

Ah, yes the beautiful majesty of a peaceful, snowy evening spent while angelic faces listen patiently to the story " Twas the Night before Christmas". I have heard and seen evidence this actually happens but I have never experienced such a miracle. My Christmases spent with children involve crying, screaming, crashing and throwing up. Wrapping paper being shredded and boxes thrown willy nilly around the room, while I trudged through an avalanche of debris looking for the tiny pieces of the toys the grandparents bought my kids. And somewhere I hear an elf laughing hysterically! This stated out as a "how to survive Christmas" piece, but I thought that would be a bit trite. Perhaps a how to make the best of the reality of your family would be better. All parents have some idea of the perfect Christmas day spent with their children in a Norman Rockwellian portrait. Unless your children are from Stepford or on heavy medication, this probably is not a reality. The best you can hope for is noting catches on fire, no one gets hurt and no one gets sick and throws up on a weak stomached relative. Realizing the chaos and frenzy of an unorganized Christmas morning is what you will long remember will help you accept the aftermath a little easier. The kids probably will get bored with the really expensive thing they just had to have and abandon it in favor of the latest greatest x-box game, no matter how horrifying it may be for you. And that elf just keeps on laughing. So do yourself a favor this year. Take that mental picture of the perfect family gathered around the perfect tree taking turns unwrapping a gift and politely saying thank you and file it in the "yea sure" section of your brain. Replace it with "I will embrace the joy and wild activity and participate in the fun, not thinking about the mess we are making, but the memories we are creating as a family. As the teens, rip through their cards and gather their cash, give thanks they are fortunate enough to get money and delight in the fact they can be trusted to go off with their friends for a while. Remember, sooner or later, the sugar crash will set in and all the kids will be fast asleep, giving you time to reflect and enjoy that perfect Christmas by the fire. Remember soon, the kids will be grown and living their own lives. The Christmases will be shorter and harder to come by. Work schedules make Christmas visits a task instead of a joy. That magic anticipation of a child at Christmas will be just a memory. I invite all adults to play Santa Claus, or an elf this year. And always remember the reason for the season. Have a blessed Christmas!

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