Santa’s feeling a bit Scrooge-y these days.
I’m not sure why, but I am having a hard time getting excited about playing Santa this year. Last week, my husband and I went Christmas shopping. We paced up and down every aisle, randomly tossing board games and Dora books into our cart. But, although we picked out some great stuff, I just couldn’t get excited, and I started feeling guilty. What kind of terrible mom am I? How can I not be excited about shopping for my kids, and picturing their faces on Christmas morning when they open all of their gifts?
I’ve never been terribly materialistic (although I DO love a good cross-border outlet shopping trip from time to time…or at least I did back in my skinnier days). Now that I have kids, I find that I care even less about stuff than ever before. My kids have so many things, sometimes I feel overwhelmed. There are days that I feel downright disgusted with it all. And it’s not like we are constantly buying things for them either. Except for the tiny souvenirs we bought on vacation last week (one per child, less than $10 each) and some clothes, I can’t remember the last time I bought my kids anything. Instead, it’s the birthday party loot bags, the Halloween gifts from our neighbour, the crappy prizes they won at the fair this summer, the “have a nice vacation” toys from Grandma. I don’t remember having that much stuff when I was a kid. When did every little moment in life become an opportunity to shower our kids with presents?
But today, I realized that I’m not all bah humbug. This evening, as I was driving my almost two-year-old home from daycare, she started shouting “kiss-muss, kiss-muss!!” and pointing excitedly. Following her little outstretched finger I noticed a small snowman hanging from some lights on a storefront. I said, “yes, Kailyn…that’s a snowman and those are Christmas lights.” The rest of the way home, she stared intently out the window, shouting “ooohhh kiss-muss light!” every time we passed a house with decorations. As I watched her chubby face fill with delight in the rearview mirror, I felt something inside me. I started feeling a glimmer of excitement when I thought about cutting down the tree with the kids, decorating our gingerbread house, and having our annual Christmas Eve movie night in our basement. And I realized my problem: I was trying to get excited about the wrong thing. Yes, it is fun to give gifts but for me, that’s not what the holidays are about. It is about the magical glow of a decorated tree in our living room, the smell of Christmas cookies baking on a cold winter’s night, and the time we spend as a family making memories.
So, perhaps I am not a Scrooge after all. I just need to remind myself not to get too caught up in the materialistic side of the holidays and instead, just stop and admire the “kiss-muss” lights.