The most wonderful time of year, you say? Great. No, really, good for you. I mean it. It makes my heart happy that other people are happy. But I’m, well I’m not. The most wonderful time of the year for almost everyone else is just not the most fun in the world for me. I’m not sure why exactly I feel the need to fake Christmas cheer.
Maybe it started when my parents separated in December over 20 years ago. Maybe losing my grandparents, who defined the holidays for me, did it to me. Or, maybe it’s just that I have trouble with seasonal depression.
Whatever the reason, Christmas is hard for me. Starting sometime in October, I start to get down in the dumps about the holiday season in general and I don’t come out of it until a few days before Christmas. It sucks.
As a Christian, I feel the need to be awed by the birth of our Savior, but even if I manage to pull that off, I just can’t feel the same cheer that everyone else seems to have. I don’t like singing Christmas songs, and I don’t bake tree-shaped cookies with sprinkle ornaments. Furthermore, I hate decorating.
There. I said it. All of you that already had your tree up before Thanksgiving, thank you. No, I mean it. You’re picking up my slack and making the world a cheerier place, and I really appreciate that when I can’t do it. But even on my good days, decorating is more of a chore than it’s worth to me. I can’t organize a pen holder, much less ornament storage. And you can forget color coordinating ornament sets. I don’t have the forethought to plan what I want to eat for lunch tomorrow, much less what color my tree is going to be next year. This makes shopping futile. I’ve got five different partial sets of decor, and none of them are close enough to piggy-back each other. So I end up either piecing stuff together or not doing it at all. Last year, we didn’t even have stockings.
I mean, I don’t hate Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. There are things I love about it. I love giving. I love it so much I give to people I don’t know. I’m not altogether a Scrooge when it comes to celebrating either, but it just takes me a lot longer to get in the spirit than most. And by that, I mean it takes me until Christmas Eve.
This all makes the fact that I have children that depend on me to be full of Christmas cheer even harder to deal with. They need me to be the conveyor of Christmas magic. And to move that forsaken elf every blasted day. Does anyone else get really, really tired of that thing?
I mean, I would rather have Christmas edition Chucky on my nightstand than have to come up with different things for that elf to do every day. Because they remember what old Scratch did last year, and if you recycle ideas, they know. And they will ask so many questions.
Anyway, back to the point. I’d love to be able to say here that my children have made Christmas easier, but they haven’t. If anything, they’ve made it more demanding, if not exactly harder. They give me a different kind of joy, watching them enjoy the magic of it all. But it’s not specifically Christmas-y joy. It’s motherly joy. And I would never, ever want to take that away from them.
So what, you ask, do I do? I fake it. I know we’re not supposed to do that. We’re supposed to be open and honest. But I am not going to take Christmas away from my kids. So I put on a smile and tell my little angels that I love Jingle Bells, too, and sing it with them for the nine hundredth time this week. And maybe one day, I’ll actually believe myself.