So, I’m going to try this again, since the tree story only served to make my mom cry (oops). I’m just going to be straight up with you guys: I’m not really that into Christmas. Maybe it’s just where I am in life right now, but to me? Christmas is a frustrating pain in the ass that costs me a lot of money that I don’t have. It’s hard enough for me to get out to the stores with three kids in Michigan in December (I haven’t been to Target in ages. I’m not sure I even remember how to get there). Squeezing in extra trips to extra stores is a super-big pain in my balls. I try to get people good presents, but besides a select group of people (my immediate family and a few friends), I am absolutely terrible at buying presents for people. Those displays you see in the store that have all those bizarre but slightly intriguing gift sets, like travel backgammon and insulated flasks? Those were made for people like me. Also, when you’re stretched to the limit every month in terms of budget, Christmas is the equivalent of getting a $400 bill from your auto insurance company suddenly dumped in your lap. It’s expensive, and it’s not something you can skip or put off until later.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to watching my kids open their presents Christmas morning, and getting together with my family is always fun (for serious), but the whole shopping, decorating, baking, etc. that comes with Christmas? I could easily skip with no problem at all. That’s why Thanksgiving is ultimately the best holiday on Earth. Good food, good family, and THAT’S IT. Unfortunately, to a four- and two-year-old, it’s the opposite: Thanksgiving is the most boring holiday on Earth, and Christmas is like the fucking Super Bowl of holidays. Which means you have to put at least a little bit of effort into making it magical and festive and all that crap.
The infamous Christmas tree, including (mostly) unbreakable ornaments, is up. It’s amazing how much quicker and easier it is to get Christmas boxes out of the attic when all you have to retrieve is the tree and two small boxes. We had the tree up and decorated within an hour, tops. It’s almost like Bella did me a favor by smashing all of our ornaments.
It’s really not a bad-looking tree, to tell you the truth. It was much more fun for Phaedra to decorate as well, since she could hang any ornament pretty much anywhere she wanted. Bella still treats the tree like a toy buffet, but who cares?
The tree doesn’t have lights, since the strand I usually use gradually burned out segment by segment last year, and I’m not making a special trip to Target to get Christmas lights. Whatever couldn’t be accomplished within that magic hour just wasn’t happening, Christmas decorating-wise. When I say “magic hour”, I mean that literally; after a pleasant hour of decorating, “oohs” and “aahs” over forgotten ornaments and stockings and listening to the official soundtrack for Christmas, Sing Along with Mitch, everyone turned back into pumpkins:
Post-decorating; or, next year’s Christmas card!
Our Santa picture went amazingly well. Apparently, Santa has been given a reprieve this year by Phaedra. Bella was very leery of the enormous Santa display, and refused to go near. She apparently felt much more comfortable in Hallmark, where I spent twenty heart-pounding minutes hovering over her and praying she didn’t break anything worth more than $20.00 (while trying not to break anything myself as I lugged Surrey around in her enormous carseat. Because, you know, we wouldn’t need the stroller because we were just running in and out. I swear to Christ, you’d think I’d never done any of this before). We were saved at the last minute by a surprise appearance by Grandma, who helped rustle Bella to the front of the Santa line. Once she saw that Santa was just another strange man with facial hair that she’s never laid eyes on before, she felt much more comfortable. She adores strange men. I’m choosing not to worry about it right now.
Also, as you can see, after opening my fat mouth and promising a trip to see Santa directly after preschool, I realized that it was Pajama Day at preschool. So, I said, “Fuck it” and dressed Bella in pajamas, too. WIN!
I have yet to buy a single present for Surrey for Christmas. Seriously, she’s four months old. She gives even less of a shit about Christmas than I do. However, the girls might get upset if Surrey doesn’t have any presents to unwrap, so I’m considering wrapping up a few old baby toys they haven’t seen in awhile and letting them unwrap them for her. No one will for real know the difference.
So, overall, things are not really as sad and mopey as I may have made them seem. Yeah, new baby makes things tougher, but also, incredibly cuter. Every picture is cuter with a smiling baby sitting in the middle. Everyone’s happy and healthy. Despite my constant worries, our family of five is generally thriving, which is definitely worth celebrating.
Speaking of celebrating, there is one more thing that I’m definitely celebrating this holiday season:
I AM NOT PREGNANT! HOLLA!!!!!
You wanna celebrate along with me? Let’s go!!! RAISE THE ROOF, Y’ALL!!!!!! Since 2006, I have been pregnant every other Christmas. Here’s hoping this is the first in a looooong series of years I can celebrate a holly jolly (not pregnant) Christmas.