On a regular year, I love Christmas. Like super love it. It’s my very favorite holiday. And I haven’t lost all my Christmas spirit this year. Our tree is sparkling away in the corner. Every window on the front of my house is sporting a sweet holly wreath, and my children have an appointment to visit an outdoor, no-contact Santa this weekend. We are doing all the usual stuff as well as we can.
I honestly love getting gifts usually, too. I am a sucker for anything sparkly or sentimental. It makes me feel all the things when someone thinks of me and brings me a gift. A few weeks ago, my friend dropped off matching Christmas PJs for my kids just because she loves me, and I literally wept because it was so nice. I’m not a total Scrooge. I promise.
It’s just that I’ve been in my house almost non-stop since March, and I am now acutely aware that we are already very overrun with crap. I have more kitchen appliances than any one household should own. I threw away probably twenty expired, stinky old lotions, and I have at least that many left. We have enough clothes to make the mountains of laundry I wash every day of my life.
There is just no Christmas gift I can remotely think of that I want more than I want to NOT amass more belongings.
My family of five spends hours every day making a gigantic mess with all the crap we already own. My husband and I tuck the kids in every night, exchange a WTF glance, and then spend at least an hour trying to make the place livable again.
Then we do it all again the next day.
My mom called to ask what I wanted for my Christmas gift this year, and I told her the same thing I have told my husband, my dad, every single one of my aunts, my grandmother, and my mother-in-law.
I actually want absolutely nothing. If you just really can’t fathom the idea of giving me nothing, I just want some time to myself in peace and silence. You can’t buy that, but you can help replace my kids’ swing set.
The old cheap one finally kicked the bucket, and we are investing in a good one. Instead of buying gifts for any member of my family this year (kids included!) just take whatever you would have spent on my family, and throw it in that pot. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for years to come.
They all responded the same exact way: “That’s not something for YOU!”
Exactly! That’s why I love the idea!
What could be more “for me” than an apparatus that goes OUTSIDE? I don’t have to clean it. It doesn’t have seventy gazillion small pieces. It doesn’t contain slime or play-doh or magic sand. I don’t have to find a place to store it.
And best of all, it will entertain my beautiful cherubs.
As in, not indoors where I am, stuck in the pandemic loop of virtual school, baby care, doing laundry and washing dishes. We are home A LOT, and indoors sometimes feels like some kind of domestic Groundhog Day hellscape that we cannot seem to escape.
Outside is a wonderland of imagination and possibilities.
Or it will be once we install the new swing set. If you really want to get me something priceless, help us make that bad boy a reality, pronto.
And if not, no hard feelings. Absolutely nothing will be absolutely fine. Pinky promise.
Usually, I love the kitchen gadgets, bath bombs, snuggly blankets and makeup that my family generously bestows on me. Last year, my dad got me a Roomba, and I named it Alfred. I love it like a fourth child. I’m not taking this “no gifts” stance because I am just picky about what I get for Christmas. Not one bit.
It’s just that this isn’t a regular year, and I’m not a regular me. I am anxious, overwhelmed and ready to light a match to the massive amounts of crap I have collected over the years. I’m realizing how terrible I have been at editing my space and only keeping what I love and need. I started to embark on a decluttering journey last year, but I didn’t follow through. I really need to get that taken care of before I bring one more blessed thing into this house.
Honestly, my kids don’t need a damn thing either, but I’m not a monster. I know I can’t exactly tell my children that Christmas is canceled because Mommy has been watching a lot of Marie Kondo and The Home Edit on Netflix during this pandemic. I can’t explain that my anxiety disorder has decided we are not doing presents.
2020 has been a bitch already. These kids want a bunch of plastic crap under the tree, and they’re going to get it. I’ve spent the last few months seeking out the best deals on things they’ll love for exactly 11 minutes each. I’ll wrap them all up and delight in their joy and wonder. We will have a beautiful Christmas morning.
But I am really, truly, totally fine with receiving absolutely no gifts whatsoever for myself this Christmas. As a matter of fact, it would thrill me to my core. Call or FaceTime me and say your merry merries. Let me see your smiling face. Tell me 2020 is almost over, a vaccine is coming, a grownup is about to be in the White House again, and next Christmas might feel something close to normal again.
That’s all the gift I need.