Since I found out the horrible truth about Santa, I have always been a huge Christmas Curmudgeon. I had been concerned as a small child, as our house didn’t have a chimney. My parents explained that Santa was not only wise but clever, and could crawl through the opening of our swamp cooler on the roof. Year after year, I would diligently wait for the jolly old man, only to just barely miss him after falling asleep, and one year after going out for ice cream, I missed him by a reported only five minutes.
But somewhere, Christmas became less about Jesus (and presents) and family (and good food), and more a time of year when I would get sad, depressed even. If I decorated at all, it was with an eighteen inch “tree” made out of bare branches, with one or two gifted ornaments. (Think Tim Burton’s house).
I hated the lights and decorations, because they just reminded me what time of year it was. I was annoyed at the wasting of electricity.
I would send cards to the people who had sent them the previous year, and made a list of family members and friends who hadn’t reciprocated and made sure never to send them anything again. I called it my “Christmas Grudge List”.
Then came two beautiful children.
A two year old who gets excited by an honorary aunt’s Elf on the Shelf, calling it, “Santa! Santa! Santa!” and a five year old who was beside himself last year riding around looking at the lights. Yes, we deliberately got in the car with no purpose other than to actually drive around and seek out people’s houses with Christmas decorations. And he loved it. And I even enjoyed myself.
As my son grew from infancy, I bought a pre-lit tree and cursed quietly under my breath every time I scratched myself on its branches walking past it, as it stuck out too far in our smallish great room. I bought hard-to-break plastic ornaments, and stockings that repeatedly fell off my mantle (though Santa does have a chimney to slide down in my house).
This year, I found the most wonderful thing; a “pencil tree”! I put it together while my children slept one morning after Thanksgiving. It looked beautiful and didn’t stick out. My kids were utterly unimpressed.
My son, “I want the other tree. Can we get the other tree down from the attic?”
“But we have this tree. Isn’t it beautiful?”
“We can have two trees! Let’s have two trees!”
And later, my son asked, “When are we putting our lights up on our house, Mommy?”
When designing our custom family cards, I bought an extra package of twenty so we wouldn’t run out.
In our yard is our brand new projector light to put reindeer dancing on our house. We were the first house on our block to get lights up. Both Christmas trees stand guard over a singing and dancing Santa that my daughter found, contributing in her own way.
Bah humbug? Not in this house!