I hate Christmas.
I know that sounds a bit harsh, so let me back-pedal a bit. I love everything that Christmas represents; the cheesy decorations, the cheery greetings, the way the working world slows to a crawl and we all get to eat and drink too much. I love to wear my red glittery sweater and silver Christmas tree earrings. I love that there’s no school and no schedules and that I can go see the girl next door as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker.
I just hate that I am too busy, too poor and too stressed to enjoy it. I hate dragging the decorations down from the attic and rearranging my living space to make room for the garlands and angels and jingle bells and nativity scenes. I hate putting up the Christmas tree. I hate the way the brand new red table cloth gets stained on the very first day in an unhideable spot. I hate that I purposely schedule my haircut for after New Year’s and hide from the UPS guy so I don’t have to give a holiday tip. I hate that I got in the habit of baking cookies for every human being I know. I hate the gifts I buy to give to people I don’t even like and I hate the inordinate amount of presents I pile on our kids who already have more than any reasonable human being could ever want or need. I hate the guilt I feel that I haven’t bought, done or been enough.
I hate that I color-code my family’s Christmas gifts. Yes, it’s true. Molly’s gifts are wrapped in blue angel paper, Max’s are red reindeers and Leo’s are your basic green and white stripes. My husband’s gifts are wrapped in whatever was leftover from the year before and the few gifts I buy for myself are done up in the expensive gold wrapping paper from the school fundraiser. I won’t put the gifts under the tree until everyone has gone to bed even though it’s been well over 10 years since the youngest stopped believing in Santa Claus. Understand that I don’t have babies. Remember, I am on the road to the empty nest. My kids are almost 22, almost 20 and close enough to18 years-old.
I hate that when it’s all over I have regrets. I regret that I spent too much money. I regret that I ate too many cookies. I regret that snapped at my spouse. And my kids. And my dog.
But most of all, I regret that I missed another opportunity to be the kind of friend and wife and mother that I know I could be.
If only I didn’t hate Christmas.