IN my family i am the scrooge. i have not enjoyed Christmas in a very long time. its all about the presents. kids these days dont seem to be appreciative of anything. and if they dont get the latest and greatest all hell is to be had. when i was young we got what we got. and we were so excited to get it. when i sit back and watch old VCR tapes you can hear the squeals and see the happiness on both mine and my brothers faces. the air was full of 'thank you's and 'oh my's. when kids now-a-days open gifts there are just 'really's and 'its not the right one's. what have we done? i know we were not raised like that. so why have we created a generation of ungrateful, self absorbed, entitled children? do not get me wrong. my kids impress me everyday. they are funny, creative, intelligent, and in general... great little people. but there are times like the holidays that i get so frustrated with the 'i am entitled' attitude.
I think part of the reason for the scrooged yaya are some of the crappy Christmas pasts i have had. the holiday before i left for the army after everyone had opened gifts, i looked to my dad as to say "WTF where are my gifts?". he turned to my stepmonster in much the same fashion with the same question. the answer was "well she is getting ready to leave and cannot take anything with her". woo hoo thanks. there were other awesome holidays just like that one but mostly it is because most years it comes down to the wire on whether or not we will even have a christmas. there was a time of at least two years that i know of for sure that we didnt even put up a tree because of financial issues. why have a tree if there is nothing to go under it? on those years we just celebrated Christmas at one of the many other houses we go to. it is sad when every year is a guessing game as to whether or not Santa will show his rosey face. my children still believe (if you believe you shall receive) but they understand that in this day and time Santa does not work for free. he has elves to pay, reindeer to feed, and a wife to support. so Santa can only deliver as many presents as mom can pay for. at a discounted price, of course.
NORMALLY, because the scrooge in me takes over, my tree doesnt go up until the week before Christmas. which means my kids have to see all of our neighbors, friends, and family putting up their trees and lights and decorations. but we... have none. year after year we are the last ones to get the tree up. and i know on some level that has to be disheartening to the girls. so this year i decided to not have such a scrooge heart and go ahead and put the tree up. this year has been a decent one. we are back in the home town that we wanted to be in, the girls are in the home they remember growing up the most in, and Poppi was here with us. it was gonna be a great christmas this year. and financially it really has not been that bad either. with Poppi here, things were a little better.
SO i went ahead and let the holiday spirit grab aholt of my scrooge heart and up the tree and stockings went. there are no expensive ornaments on this tree. all of them are either hand made, wooden hand painted, or red velvet bows. the angel that sits on top has lights that do not work, her dress is torn, and her wings are bent. the skirt is older than both my children combined and im pretty sure possibly older than i am. the week before Christmas candy canes are usually added and complete the whole package. they are for eating. so pull one off and have at it. the dollar stockings were hand painted by me with glitter glue pens and are badly in need of being replaced. but still we put up the tree all the time smiling and wondering where each ornament will hang. while some have ribbons flowing, expensive hand blown glass ornaments and trees that match their living rooms, ours is a little ... well... homely. but it is ok. it fits us. and we love it. it is dubbed lovingly and simply ... the Charlie Brown tree.
THE day the tree went up was the day we got bad news. Poppi moved out and that meant things changed. financially. emotionally. in many ways. so now, karma has it, the tree is up and yet again no idea if there will be anything under it. how do you explain these things to children? i remember being poor growing up. we went through waves. we would have good money and happy times or we would be dirt poor. but the happy times were still there. now looking back it is really hard for me to remember why i knew we were poor. as an adult i can look back and see what the signs were. but then, as a child, i truly had no idea. my parents did everything they could to keep us from seeing it. but in this time and age our children know everything. and my girls know this is going to be a tough year. and they understand. which is awesome. for me it is very depressing. not being able to do what you want to for your children. i think that is the worst part. but much like me when i was younger...it is as if they do not realize. the tree is up and so are their spirits. they are happy. knowing that we may not have a good Christmas, if only because of the number of presents. and even knowing that i cannot do all that i want to it makes me happy to see them smile. the finances are a problem, and i wish so often that i was rich. just so i could give the girls what they truly deserve. (not what they think they deserve or are entitled to) but reality is a bitch. and i know i am not rich with money.
BUT i have to say...sitting here with the girls and our Charlie Brown tree watching the old favorite rudolph the red nosed reindeer... it occurred to me ...although there may end up being only a handful of gifts sitting under the branches ... i have to say i know i am rich...
IF in nothing else...i am rich in love.
AND that is a present in itself. even if it cannot be wrapped and set on my corny tree skirt.