Christmas is well and truly here in all its hustle, bustle, glitzy, shiny, new, materialistic glory. That is something I would have said a couple of years ago. This year, however, is the first year that Baby has really been caught up in the excitement of “Mis-Mas” as she likes to call it. As we wander down the main street, we stop to look at the stars, trees and father christmases that line the window sills of the shops. The morning after we bought our Christmas tree Baby wandered out into the lounge room and squealed “MIS-MAS TEE” when she caught sight of it. I thought we’d have to wait until next year for her to cotton on to the Christmas thing, but to my sparkly Christmas delight, she’s all over it.
After my parents seperated when I was 14, Christmas became a time of great stress and unease for me. Balancing seeing families, parents arguing and being shipped from one location to the next, I quickly decided that Christmas Day was actually the worst day of the year, despite having relished the festive season in my earlier years. Before long I began dreading it and experiencing deep anxiety about it from as early as August each year. Unable to please everyone, I accepted the fact that it would forever be the worst day of the year.
When I had children, I vowed that Christmas would once again become a special time for me and my family, and have since been really excited about starting new and much happier traditions. This has meant a lot of thinking about the values of Christmas, and what I want it to mean for our little family. I feel this new perspective has finally given me a fresh start.
Coming from this perspective, I was surprised to when I stumbled across some Christmas conversations on a couple of facebook pages I belong to: Christmas conversations between stressed parents worried that by telling their children the story of Father Christmas, they would be lying to their children and have hence decided not to partake in it. Some parents felt that by joining in with the “lie” their children would never trust them again when they found out it wasn’t true.
It had never crossed my mind to tell Baby that Father Christmas isn’t true. For her to be one of the only children in the playground that couldn’t get excited about the magic of Christmas with the other children. For her to miss out on the memories that I now cherish from when I was a youngster.
I thought of my early years, going to sleep on Christmas night barely able to stop my legs from jittering with the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning. Leaving out cookies and a glass of milk to find the last remaining crumbs the following day. To hear (what I later discovered was my Dad) ringing bells and stomping on the roof before bed time. Ah, the joy!
I do remember feeling disappointed when I found out that Father Christmas wasn’t real. A deep disappointment actually. But by then I had so many years (shall I admit how many?) of happy and joyous memories, the disappointment of the truth didn’t really compare to what I had gained.
I do hate the materialism of Christmas and I feel completely overwhelmed at the prospect of Baby getting too many presents. Truth be known, she still has presents from last year in the cupboard that we have not quite got around to yet. I think somewhere the magic of Christmas has been lost in advertising and cultural expectations of what Christmas really is about. Which isn’t who can get the bigger and better and best presents and purchases, but family, love, and the little things. I want Baby to appreciate the small things she already has and is given on the day, which is why we will only be giving her one present – a little wooden toaster. In future years I hope to give her one present that she will love and cherish along with a few handmade things for her and her future sibling/s.
Lucky for us we only have one television that is probably turned on two or three times a week in the evenings, and mainly onto the ABC so I have missed out on much of the glitz and glamour of big companies advertising their big things that I really have no interest in.
I’m so glad to be able to watch Baby experience our true meaning of Christmas in a happy, safe and loving environment. I feel so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to start fresh.
Merry Christmas everyone x