I’ve always loved the holidays — and if it were up to me and money weren’t an issue, I’d buy everyone I know whatever they want. My dream is to walk around draped in faux furs passing out gifts and homemade cookies and be happy as a pig in poop doing it. But alas, I have a job and other responsibilities, so going big for Christmas this year in my four walls will have to do.
When I was married, I was always more into the holidays than my ex-husband, and we had a few arguments on how much money we spent on our kids. He wanted to keep it more conservative, and share more experiences together. I wanted the experiences and to spoil them senseless.
Then when I became a single mother, I had no idea what Christmas would be like. It’s been hard for me to sacrifice Christmas gifts some years so I could put on a new roof, save for my kids’ college, or just keep up with life, but I’ve managed to juggle things around and I’m thankful we’ve always been able to have a Christmas. It’s a privilege that will never be lost on me.
I know now (after having both light Christmases and over-the-top Christmases) that my kids don’t care or even notice much. What they notice more than anything is if their parents are stressed or anxious over the holidays. Sure they want new things, but I think as parents we are more aware of what we are able to give our kids than they are.
However, this year I am going all out for the simple fact that I want to. I started my Christmas shopping early in the summer so I could spread it out a bit. I’ve worked really hard without taking much time off because after the few years we’ve had dealing with COVID, being isolated, not knowing what’s going on with school, and my kids missing out on more than enough, we freaking deserve it.
I’m not spoiling my kids this year because they think life is unfair, and they don’t have an attitude of entitlement. In fact, they don’t even know (yet) that I’ll be going big for Christmas. They have been really resilient through the stresses of this pandemic and have not asked for much. They seemed to have a better understanding and handle on all of it than I did at times. There were many days when they were the ones who pulled me through this ever-changing madness.
The thing is, this year I feel happier than I have for a while. I am thankful my family and friends are healthy. I have a better grip on what’s important and what matters. I’ve gotten to know my kids in a different way these past few years. They are growing up and I am not sure how many more Christmases we will all be under the same roof. I’ve coped with the past few years by trying to stay focused on me and my kids and doing what I think will make us happy. I’ve learned how unsatisfying “being busy” really is.
For those reasons, I want to celebrate big — and not just by filling the living room floor with gifts.
I want to take them to their favorite places to eat. I want to make all their favorite Christmas cookies. I want them to have their friends over so we can have a Christmas party. I want to sponsor a family, maybe two. I want to watch holiday movies with them, and make sure they have a really great, memorable holiday.
I know that doesn’t always come from manufacturing moments and experiences. A lot of that comes from having the time and space to be spontaneous and not busy. So we won’t be going to every invite, and I won’t commit to anything that won’t aid in helping us have an amazing Christmas. I refuse to do a ton of things that will stress me out because that has such a trickle down effect, especially this time of year.
This year, for so many reasons I am going big for Christmas. I literally wake up every day now filled with excitement about it. If you ask me, that’s the biggest reward: the anticipation of celebrating big and going hard this year. My kids are worth it; I am worth it, and really, there’s no reason to hold back, so let the celebration begin.