This Christmas was a little different than some Christmases past. Our two main sources of Christmas money had either dried up completely or dried out significantly. Indeed, the only source still producing didn’t show up until December 19. Until that point, I had no idea how we were going to do Christmas this year. Being that uncertain was very weird. It has been years since we’ve had any trouble buying Christmas gifts. Work bonuses have been given every year on the first Friday of December, just in time for a jolly Christmas, but the economy saw to it that the bonuses disappeared this year.
I tried to prepare the kids that things would be a little different this year, and I worried about it day and night. At best, Christmas is always a source of stress for me as I try to balance all the juggling balls called “materialism,” “clutter,” “buying for someone who has everything and can buy anything they don’t already have,” and, of course, the one I am best at, “GUILT.”
I have one child whose love language must surely be receiving gifts, and he dearly loves the Christmas bonanza. So, for him, after we had opened all the gifts, I needed to snuggle with him on the love seat and help him process his disappointment. He was so sad, but he remembered all the things I had told him ahead of time about fewer gifts, but no less love, and about how to be grateful in the face of some disappointment. He felt better after we talked, and then he enjoyed his new Scrubs DVD while I went back to bed for awhile.
The second round of disappointment for him came when everyone else started posting their Christmas gifts on Facebook. Wow, iMacs, iphones, ipods, expensive cameras; some of his friends received even more than one from that list. I was very proud of him though as he acknowledged his disappointment but again remembered to focus on being thankful for what he has been given, and to acknowledge that the love of his family is pretty wonderful.
It made my day to hear this particular boy tell me that he thinks this is our best Christmas ever. I agreed, and I’m not sure why. But, even though it was small, it really was one of the best ever. I hope yours was, too.