I wrote most of this before Christmas, and then I got busy and never finished it. So I’m way behind, but I’m giving it a shot now.
I am ready for Christmas. Basically. Mostly.
There are presents under the tree. There are shortbreads and containers of homemade Chex Mix and hostess gifts and stocking stuffers all lined up in a row, ready to be delivered where they need to go.
It has not been without its challenges. For example, one gift was going to involve a group of framed photos. I got the photos, I got the frames, I put the photos into the frames, and when I got to the last frame, I realized that it was broken. Awesome.
So now I had to go and find a replacement frame, but of course I wanted it to match frames that I already had, and at that point the merchandise was picked-over, and it was a struggle. I considered two different kinds of frames (didn’t look good), I thought about going in an entirely different direction (couldn’t find the number of matching frames I needed for the sizes I needed), and searched fruitlessly for what I thought would be a matching frame, only to realize that I was misremembering the colors of the frames at home. Finally found a new matching frame! Arrived at home in triumph, my final gift complete. Opened the car door and shoved my way out of the car, in my now-it’s-pretty-cold coat, hands full of merchandise. Realized I’d knocked roughly against the car door on my way out and dropped something. Looked down and saw this:
I had broken the new frame!
I came inside cursing and muttering and M, who had arrived home from college, took pity on me and said that she would exchange the frame later that day.
Because she is a full-on adult. She can drive to the store and do errands. She knows that I have been elf-ing the heck out of Christmas, decorating and baking and cooking her favorite meals since she arrived home. And even more important, she knows that her dad and I are Santa.
The Christmas season is hectic, but this year I’ve been thinking about how much easier it is now that I don’t have to completely hide the effort that goes behind getting ready. Like the years I had to move that stupid Elf or running to the mall during school hours or sneaking to Target on Christmas Eve night to maintain the magic when a daughter wonders aloud what Santa will be bringing our goldfish. I’d dash in from shopping trips and have to quickly-and-casually stash away gifts, then oh-so-quietly search the entire house to find them all again on Christmas Eve. The girls would go through cookies at such a rapid pace that I’d make multiple batches of cookies. There were elementary school teachers who needed not-lame gifts. I hosted multiple “crafty girl parties.” Those were wonderful, magical, super-fun years, but they were a ton of work. If you are still providing gifts to little Believers, I salute you. I celebrate your stamina and your commitment to Christmas Magic. But I really don’t envy you.