Monday, December 7, 2009
Tis the season to be...stressed?
I believe its supposed to be "Tis the season to be jolly" and I find myself a tad bit less stressed than I usually am at this time of year. I have always considered myself somewhat of a Scrooge and suffer from an over abundance of stress. I do enjoy certain things about this holiday season, but there are a couple that I find extremely annoying. So annoying that they usually over-shadow any joy that the season may bring. Santa and the idea that kids need a bunch of presents are the two biggest thorns in my side during the holidays.
I don't really remember whether I believed in Santa as a child. If I did it was short-lived. My fondest childhood Christmas memories seem to be centered around the decorations, the music, the food and, of course, the gazillion presents that surrounded our tree each year. I come from a family of 5 kids and our parents always over-extended themselves financially each Christmas. It seemed like it took us hours to finish opening all of our packages, and then the next morning our stockings would be over-stuffed with more treasures. It saddens me to think that the one thing that brought so much joy to us kids, more than likely caused strife among our parents. I have a feeling that watching the joy in our faces as we unwrapped each new gift made it seem worth it to our parents. But was it really?
I struggle each year with the urge to over-indulge the Littles. I feel guilty when there are only a few presents under the tree. I would love to be able to give them every item on their wish list. It would be easy to remedy. We could just max out a few credit cards each year and pay them off in time to do the whole thing over again the next year. I really just don't want to give the Littles the message that this time of year is only magical if you receive, receive, receive. I feel like that is the message I received. I can remember the let down when my parents finally had no choice, but to cut back. And I was an adult when that happened. So we don't over-indulge the Littles, but I do feel that we need to have a special holiday tradition to make up for the small amount of gifts they receive.
Please feel free to share whatever the holiday traditions that your family celebrates. I would love to gather ideas.
The other issue is centered around Santa. I think that this is the number one issue that turns me Scroogish. I have not liked how I feel like a liar. I don't like misleading the Littles into believing in this make-believe giver of gifts. I hate answering questions like why do my friends get things like Nintendo DS and Wii from Santa and we don't. Why do some kids get nothing from Santa? I don't even know how I responded to those questions, but I'm sure it was a lame answer. To me anything but the truth feels like a lame answer.
I remember when Not-so-Little #1 found out the truth about Santa. She was not happy with me. Not because I lied to her, but because I told her the truth. She didn't want to know. She wanted to hold on to the magic. Not-so-Little #2 was more like me, he just came to know and was fine with it. That brings me to Little #3. He is 11 years old and refuses to believe that his parents are Santa. I have never told him this and he is wise not to ask. All he ever says is that friends at school tell him that Santa is his parents and he chooses not to believe them. Is this healthy? Should I be concerned? I did overhear him tell his younger brother (who I am sure knows the truth and doesn't care) that he was afraid to ask me for the truth, because that would mean that I had lied to him. I did lie.
I am at a point where I am no longer comfortable with the Santa lie. I know that millions and millions of children are told the same thing and they are all fine, but I associate too much negativity around this fib. Yet when I watch movies like The Polar Express I am filled with the wonder and magic of the season. I get a good feeling when I see adults wearing t-shirts that say I believe in Santa. We have a wall hanging in our house that says "this house believes in Santa", and I really like the idea of holding on to a child-like wonder around the holidays. So I am conflicted as what to do. How can I be honest with the Littles, and still allow them to be filled with wonder and joy? I am really at a loss as to what to do.
Have any of you ever dealt with this conflict? Maybe you could share how you have handled it.
I know that even with these two issues I have with the holidays, this holiday will be wonderful. I know that this year the gratitude I feel for all the blessings I have in my life will be more powerful then the conflicts. I hope that no matter how you celebrate this time of year that you are filled with joy and gratitude. I hope that you are able to enjoy the simple things and not get wrapped up in the hype. Peace be to you all.
Just my thoughts.
Posted by Jill at 9:10 AM