Not So Bah Humbug

I always do what Heather tells me.

Okay, not always.  And this wasn’t even directed at me, specifically, but I know her and she’s very sneaky about getting what she wants…so it probably WAS directed at me, but she won’t ever come right out and say that.  Because that’s how she is.  Except for when she’s not.

So, by now I’m sure you’re all wondering just what I’m on about.

If you’re not already following the fabulously talented Heather D, pop on over to her blog today and read what she’s got to say about getting into the Christmas Spirit.

Now, I’m never full of holiday cheer (see last year’s post on the subject here) so, frankly, trying to come up with something for #6 on Heather’s list has had me in minor panic mode all day.

If you’re too lazy to click over there, this is what I’m referring to:

6) Share your memories. I love to talk about favorite Christmas memories. Bringing back the magic of my childhood warms my heart. Find someone to share your stories with, and listen to theirs. In fact, what I want most for Christmas is for my friends and loved ones to write out their favorite memories for me.

I had a mini-meltdown (they happen frequently when I’m sick) trying to come up with happy Christmas memories.  I don’t have many from my childhood, which is probably one of the myriad reasons I don’t care for this time of year.

See?  Magic.

See? Magic.

I almost decided to talk about the few years that we had season passes to Disneyland when my boys were younger, because the Magic Kingdom truly is magical in the winter, but passed that by in favour of a different story.

I’m warning you, now, though, it starts out a little sad.

5 or so years ago, I lost my job the week before Christmas.

At the time, my husband was recovering from an injury he’d received while on the job, and mine was our only income.  He stayed home with the kids, and I had a really good job that I’d been at for close to 6 years, but there were issues that I don’t need to go into here and now that led to my being fired right before the holidays.

Strangely for us, we’d already gone a bit overboard for Christmas that year.  We don’t generally go all out, but this year we had.  Most of the gifts we’d purchased ended up being returned or exchanged for their less elaborate counterparts.

I was totally distraught.  I’d been expecting to have a great Christmas (for once, something better than what I’d grown up with) and even though I’m usually not a commercial BUY ALL THE THINGS, BUY THEIR LOVE! type of parent, I’d wanted my boys to have ONE YEAR where they actually got the things they’d asked Santa for, damnit.

Anyway.  Fast forward to Christmas morning.

The oldest, of course, ripped into everything and exclaimed how much he loved everything (but this is the kid that was excited for receiving a BIG TUBE! one year, because he didn’t even think to look INSIDE the tube).

The littlies were mostly enthusiastic about the paper (smallest boy was only a little over a year old at the time)…until middle son opened what was LITERALLY the last thing purchased and wrapped.

A box of crayons and some colouring books.

He started colouring immediately.  He spent the ENTIRE DAY in his chair with his “colours” and didn’t want to eat or take a nap.  He just wanted to colour.

I’d been in tears the night before, not only because of the stress of losing my job, but because I felt like a crappy parent that couldn’t do anything nice for her kids for the holidays.  Watching his excitement and intensity with what amounted to a $3 gift is what brought me out of my holiday depression that day.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly down at this time of year, I look at this picture of him and remember how very little it takes to make him happy.

And then I try to be more like him.

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25 thoughts on “Not So Bah Humbug

  1. I love all of this, but the thing that I love love LOVED was this:

    “…but this is the kid that was excited for receiving a BIG TUBE! one year, because he didn’t even think to look INSIDE the tube.”

    BIG TUBE! made me smile, and love him EVEN MORE. I love being grateful for what you have, even when it’s not the real present at all. What a great kid.

    Also, I’m just this excited about crayons and coloring books. I love to color. Still. At my age.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE SJ FAMILY!!!!!

    • Amusingly enough, my parents were reminiscing over Thanksgiving about how the best present they ever gave me was the box from their new refrigerator when I was four.

    • Thank you. I can’t believe how big he is now compared to this picture. He’s SEVEN! It blows my mind. When he’s frustrating me to no end, I have to remember when he was small to keep from strangling him.

  2. Aww, your kids just get more and more awesome! My little brother was so excited one year when he opened the packet of BATTERIES attached to the actual present. He was all, “Thank you!!!” (I think he was thinking of one of his old toys that had run out of power recently, and now we gave him new batteries!)

    And I’m going to go ahead and quote Community (’cause I’m temporarily obsessed with that show now) — the meaning of Christmas is that it has meaning, and it can mean anything you want. Or something like that. I.e. It doesn’t have to be religious, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate, and it doesn’t even have to mean something super-deep. Whatever makes you happy this time of year, do that!

    Now, where the heck did this soapbox come from? I don’t remember climbing up on this thing… ^_^;;

  3. I love this story!

    It really isn’t about the stuff. I grew up poor, but I barely noticed it. My mom picked out such special gifts at Christmas that we wouldn’t have had eyes for more stuff had it been under our tree. I’ll share the story and some pics sometime!

  4. I’m that most perpetually wounded of souls – the idealist. I still hold on to the concept of Christmas and the holidays as so beautiful and full of wonder and hope. And then every single time there’s crass commercialism, or selfishness, or cruelty, it’s like I can’t believe it, and then I hate humanity. Then I go back to idealizing.

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