Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday FAIL :: A Letter to my Kids

Dearest children,
We got our Christmas tree last weekend, and trust me when I say that I am sure we aren't the only semi-Jewish family in the universe that cheats a little when it comes to this particular holiday. I can poo-poo Easter, quite easily, and I can let Good Friday come and go without so much as a sideways glance.
But having grown up celebrating Christmas and then married into a world of latkes and Dreidels, it is just that party I don't want to miss, the vice I admit to having. Trust me, there are plenty more I deny. But you girls don't want to hear all about that! Let's talk about Holiday cheer. Let me admit something to you.
The honest truth is that I suck. I suck at celebrating Christmas.
I am always so completely broke that buying gifts for others seems like the world's most foolish endeavor, and this year is no exception.

Most years, I make all of my gifts by hand -- which is great for that new friend who hasn't seen all the tricks up my sleeve, but not so good for the sister who has been the recipient of my homemade gifts for 37 years and is getting a little stocked up on embroidered dish towels and crappy oozy bars of soap made from a kit at the craft store.
And it certainly isn't good enough for the three of you -- who want new shoes and clothes and the latest technology.
I don't even actually buy gifts for you guys -- the main reason we spend Christmas at Auntie's house is that I am always hoping that her Santa will be much more generous than ours.
I know you want me to be the mom that throws tinsel over every surface and has cinnamon scented candles in hurricane holders mounted in ivy-strewn sconces throughout the house. You want singing snowman music boxes and mistletoe and flags and placemats and specials kitschy signs on the door. You want blinking lights and laughing fits over power outages that occur because our lighting display can be seen from Mars.
Here's the raw deal:  You didn't get that mom.
You got the mom who is so completely frazzled she can't get out of her own way. The mom who  cheers on Dec. 26th because it's over. Who fumbles in her purse for the keys that are in her pocket simply to avoid the glance of the ringing Santa guy outside the stores. Who owns exactly four stupid little Christmas decorations and likes it that way.
Our Christmas cards will go out on Dec. 20th, if at all, and the pictures will probably be of you guys in your bathing suits. I will finish whatever shopping I do at the same time, and hope to pay off the credit card bill within 6 months, and I will be bitter. Extremely bitter. For most of it.
I suck at Christmas.
So one day, when you are tossing your tinsel and dusting off your porcelein nativity scene and lamenting to your kids about how your mother was a bah humbug and all-around no fun at Christmas, remember to cut me some slack.
And please take just a fraction of a moment to remember -- and maybe even tell your kids -- how very extremely good I was at loving you. In the end -- I hope it's the 364 other days of love you remember most, even more than what Santa has in his bag for you on that one day.
But Merry Christmas, all the same, little ones. I will always regard you as my greatest gift.

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