Okay, so it’s five days before Christmas and I’m exhausted. We had over two weeks of a really nasty virus hit our little family, each of us dropping like dominoes one after the other until we were all sneezing and miserable on the couch together.
Then to add to it, the youngest suffered a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics she was given for her ear infection she got from the virus and that has consumed every minute of my entire last three weeks. We are still not out of the woods, I’m up every few hours to make sure the new spots that just popped up go away and that the old ones that are fading stay faded. She is on a hard core dose of a steroid and taking diphenhydramine and ibuprofen around the clock to keep the swelling in her hands and feet down and also to control the pain of the severe itching. I’m not sure, because I’ve never really had it, but I’m guessing this is just about as bad if not worse than chicken pox.
In my mind, it’s still December 5th because that was the last day things were normal in my house. Lottie had a little cold- no big deal, and I was on target with my gift shopping, crafting, baking and my funds for all those things. Now, I’ve got 5 days left, everyone is exhausted, recovering from sickness and the majority of my extra money has been sucked up by doctor bills, creams, all sorts of things to try and make her feel better so I’m working on ways to make magic happen that doesn’t cost money. Things like flour foot prints and glitter, soot on the hearth or maybe some half eaten carrots that I could pull off for about a dollar.
Lottie is better, but only because the reaction is being controlled. It’s no where near gone yet. The swelling is down and she’s in pretty good spirits for the most part, just a little itchy, but noticeably better than she was even just 2 days ago and the spots are fading, so we are doing better.
With all of this going on, I’ve only occasionally been able to get online for any reason and my brain hasn’t had the energy to pay much attention to any one thing or to reply to posts, but I keep seeing something that has continued to flare up enough of a flame that I had to set aside some time today to write it down because next week it will likely be irrelevant.
There’s no easy way to lead up to this and I’m honestly too tired to care about segue so here’s the deal;
I keep seeing these posts about not giving your kids too much on Christmas, or telling them that Santa didn’t bring you all these toys because other kids that you don’t know didn’t get as many from Santa and well, that’s not fair so you shouldn’t do it. I’ve also seen SO MUCH HATE against the Elf on a Shelf this year, it’s ridiculous. Seriously people, whole blog entries and legit news articles written by psychologists about a freaking elf doll and how it’s ruining our culture?? I GUARANTEE YOU there are a multitude of things ruining our culture and our children that may actually be worth talking about, but… no. You’re rather spend your energy bashing someone else’s holiday practices. Does that make you feel like a better person? To tear down the ways another family inspires creativity and magic for the holidays?
Oh, and lord help your spoiled rotten children if you go on Pintrest for ideas or if you take a few hours a week to do some awesome holiday craft! You’re going to RUIN YOUR CHILD, don’t you know?? That and, well, those poor moms who don’t have time or don’t really like doing crafts will just feel terrible and we can’t do anything to offend them, right? *Ugh*… It’s getting stupid out there, people… REALLY STUPID.
It can also be confusing, so I’ve created a handy little check-list for you to easily navigate the holiday in the most PC way possible. Here is the “How Not To Offend People” Holiday Guide:
* Only one gift from Santa because other kids don’t get any. It’s too hard to explain why Santa appears to like some kids better than others, so we should all gift the same way; modest, moderate and basic. Because really, your holiday gift giving totally depends on what your kid’s friends at school are getting. You can’t do more than this because some kid you don’t know might feel bad. Some kid’s mom who didn’t bother to stock up throughout the year didn’t have any money in December and it will totally be your fault if that random child you don’t know is disappointed. You need to think about that random child’s random mother when deciding what to buy your kid for Christmas.
* Stay the hell away from the Devil’s minion, that agent of deception… the dreaded, the feared… Elf on a Shelf. *Gasp!* The very existence of that elf makes parents who don’t have time or desire to be creative feel like bad parents. Their feelings are way more important than anyone in your own family, so just stop before someone gets hurt. You know YOUR holiday magic can only be beneficial if EVERYONE gets to do it, right? Oh, and it also perpetuates a “quid pro quo” situation where apparently a child will ONLY learn that they have to be good so they can get stuff. Doing the Elf on a Shelf will cause them to never gain any sort of intrinsic motivation for doing good otherwise. You see, the elf apparently wipes out a child’s memory of the whole rest of the year and they will ONLY learn to be good in December when they want things. Tricky, tricky, agent of the Darkness! We should also ban the 1930’s song “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” while we are at it, since it basically says the same thing. I mean after all, you all know how horribly selfish and nasty those children from the 1930’s were, right? Ugh… it’s a wonder our nation survived the 40’s with all those nasty, entitled children running around as young adults ruining our country… *is there enough sarcasm here to get my point across? If not, feel free to add some more of your own.
* Don’t give too many gifts in general because that creates a spoiled child who will expect to be handed everything in life. Because getting awesome presents one day out of the year will totally make my kid think he can be a little jerk all year with zero consequences. That totally makes sense.
* Don’t be a “Pintrest mom” with creative ideas and home craft projects or holiday gifts and packaging to save money because you know you’re only doing it to one-up your friends on Facebook. It just makes those poor moms who don’t have creative ability or the time to do it feel terrible about themselves and that’s not fair for them. We all must be the same, don’t you know? Just wear your mask and watch TV like a good little housewife and don’t try to stand out because it might hurt someone’s feelings.
* Don’t share any of your holiday successes on social media because it will infuriate the masses who will think you’re a horrible person only sharing the magic and your child’s smiles it to rub it in others’ faces. It couldn’t possibly be because you are proud of your accomplishments and you want to share them with the people you love… oh no, that has nothing to do with it. The world knows better- all you want to do is look better than little Jimmy’s playdate mom who always seems to have better snacks than you and posting a photo of your Star Wars snowflakes and hand-painted decorations is a sure fire way to make sure she knows you really are better than she is. *involuntary eye-rolling taking place*
*If you build a gingerbread house or make cookies, you best post your failures along with the successes or everyone will just assume you’re a perfect Betty Crocker and will hate you for your “perfection”. In fact, just don’t bother doing a gingerbread house, they’re bad for your kids anyway and it probably makes them think they can go around eating people’s houses, the entitled little brats.
For all of you mamas out there who are deeply concerned about the number of gifts, the types of gifts or the holiday activities I engage in inside my own home… go suck a big, fat bah humbug candy cane and leave me alone. Don’t like it? Don’t look. Or at least just be honest. Admit that you really don’t want the responsibility. Admit that people who appreciate gifts and holiday magic make you angry because you can’t, won’t or don’t feel like doing anything similar and your children get disappointed by it. Admit that because you can’t come up with a creative way to make what you do have mean more, you condemn those who can.
You preach the horrors of the “entitlement generation”, telling me that a toy on someone’s shelf will make things worse with the same breath that you cry about how I shouldn’t get to celebrate the holidays my way because it makes you feel bad. How is that not entitlement??
It’s the same as Christians who get angry when people ask them to take down their crosses and then refuse to allow anyone else to put up their symbols anywhere in pubic. It is just as bad as the people who cry “every life matters” when it comes to violence and racism, but then scream about the right to kill an unborn baby because it’s too much trouble and a woman should get to do whatever she wants. These stupid double standards are what is ruining our culture. YOU are the ones ruining our culture, NOT the stupid elf on the shelf that encourages a child to behave and to do nice things for others. YOU are the entitled ones that are destroying the fundamentals our nation was built on. YOU are doing this- NOT the parents who are trying to create a magical experience to fill their children with wonder and magic and the spirit of joy and giving.
What is frustrating and disappointing is the fact that every time I do something fun with my kids, according to these new rules set down by all of you who hate when anyone else does something fun, not only do I have to consider what will make my own kids happy, but now I have to consider what won’t make other kids, or their parents, sad. I have to defend my choices to others who feel bad or guilty because they’re not doing that same thing with their own kids. I have to justify why I’m taking the time and energy to do something special for my family to those who just don’t see the value in all that effort.
I should not have to worry about posting something awesome that we’ve done because it might make a friend feel bad. I shouldn’t have to hesitate before I share our happiness because it might offend someone else who is going through a hard time. It just seems to be getting worse and worse and at the time of year that should be full of magic and wonder and happiness, we are being yelled at by everyone to tone it down, cut it out and stop making things so darn fun for our kids because OTHER kids don’t get those things and it isn’t fair.
Why can’t we all just teach our children to love and appreciate what they have been given and teach them the TRUE meaning of Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Solstice? Why can’t we just keep Christmas in our own way and love our fellow man like the old holiday stories tell us to? Is your want really so much stronger than your appreciation that you cannot see the beauty in other’s traditions even if you don’t personally keep them yourself? Is it really about entitlement and money? Or is it because you don’t want to be reminded that you are being lazy and you don’t feel like going the extra mile? Is it because you REALLY think it’s bad for kids or is it because your kids look at you with disappointment when they ask you if they can do something similar and you just don’t feel like it or you don’t have the money to pull it off?
Look. Money is the worst excuse in the world for not wanting to deal with holiday magic and my family is the proof of this. Our family is struggling financially. It’s REALLY HARD right now and between husband’s crappy job and our sick family for the entire month of December, we really don’t have any money left. But y’know what? I’m not going to sit here and look down on others because they have more than we do or get angry that they are posting how awesome their holidays are because they are doing better than we are or because they have “mother’s helpers” to get their tasks done and people who clean their houses and no sick kids. Those moms get to make dozens of baked goods to give away to everyone they know. I am praying I have time to make a few things to give as gifts because I have no money left to buy anything for anyone.
All that in mind, none of it means I have a right to be all nasty to everyone who has it better than me. I’m happy for them and honestly, happy for us, too. We have what we need and we are doing fine. We will have an awesome Christmas no matter what because it’s not about how many presents you have it’s about the love that you share and understanding the deeper meaning behind gifts at Christmas.
Remember, I chose this life- I chose to quit my job and raise my kids. I could return to work and make more money and give them more, but instead, I’m here so they can have the gift of a full time parent instead of stuff and things and more random crap. So Christmas will be nice no matter what and I make up in fun that is free what I might not be able to do in presents that cost money.
The bottom line is, I’m done trying to justify to the Facebook critics. I’m done silently listening to this magic-hating culture that wants to just be brutally honest with our kids about how much adulthood sucks, to strip away every shred of imagination and creativity because it will hurt someone’s feelings if we are more creative than our neighbors.
I will create magic for my kids whether or not I have any money because magic doesn’t cost money. I couldn’t care less if you don’t like it… I only care if THEY like it.
You can all do whatever you want. If you don’t care about any of this stuff, that’s fine. Me, I’m going to relish these years of innocence and magic. I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth and deliver glitter on sliver platters and fairy princess wings with breakfast on a random Tuesday. They will be allowed to think they have toys that talk when they sleep and angels that protect them when they get scared. They’ll get to believe that Mickey Mouse really does live in Disneyland and Santa really does hear your secret wishes, even if sometimes he can’t let you have what you want.
I’m going to dish out the magic and encourage second helpings of creativity because these years… they only happen for a short time and when they are gone, you don’t get a second chance. You can’t take back reality. You can’t unbreak a heart that has been taught magic isn’t real or that money is the only reason they are not allowed to believe in Santa.
So, while everyone is passing around memes and stories about how we should minimize what magic we create for our families for the sake of others’ limitations, I will be defiantly making magic at my house, in SPITE of ours and you’re welcome to come by.
There’s always room at our craft table (which is also our kitchen table, our office table, our bill-paying table and our baking table) and there is always an extra bowl of glitter and every single thing we do is done with the reminder- Christmas doesn’t come from a store. It’s not about the gifts, the tree, the food or the stuff. It’s about the love, the joy, the spending time and the knowing that no matter how hard it is, no matter what stress might try to take over, magic, love and the gift of Christmas can still be a magical, wonder-full time of happiness. Magic is what you make it, so make it magical and no matter what you do or how much of it you do or how much it costs, it will always be worth it.
Merry Christmas, friends.