Ten Reasons Why Parents Aren’t Overjoyed for the Coming of Christmas
Fall is here, and I’m finding the Christmas decorations are already making their appearance. I look at my daughter staring at the ornaments at CVS and sigh while thinking, “NO”. Yes Christmas is awesome with all the pretty lights, holiday cheer, various foods, cookies (especially cookies) and of course presents. I know I’m going to sound like a total Grinch, but let’s be honest, being a parent at Christmas time kinda sucks. Of course I love picking out gifts for my daughter, and there is nothing I love more than seeing that look on her face when she stares at the glittery Christmas tree, looks up at Santa with wonder, and that moment she comprehends that all those wrapped boxes in the living room on Christmas Day are all for her. Those moments are fantastic; however, being a parent means making the magic more than experiencing it. Several reasons immediately come to mind as to why I get that feeling of pending doom when Christmas is near.
- I hate making Christmas lists. Making the Christmas list is as annoying as making a list of wedding guests, because someone is bound to be left off and completely upset, and the last thing you want is for a child to feel left out or a parent to feel insulted. Deciding appropriate, “meaningful” gifts for everyone is an equal pain in the ass. Every year the list grows longer, and every year I am one step closer to saying “screw it,” and buying everyone a gift card at Stop & Shop like I used to shame my husband for doing in his bachelor days.
- It’s freaking expensive. Whether you are living off one income, or both working and paying for daycare, being a parent is far from inexpensive. Trying to be budget conscious during the holidays is always walking the tightrope between fiscally responsible, and being that cheapskate everyone gives the fake smile to as they inwardly curse the piece of crap you found for them.
- There is always someone who decides that this is the year they are going to buy you a present. Every year someone unexpected always pops up and says, “Hey! Wait till you see what I got for your daughter!” and I less than gracefully respond, “Oh cool. Can’t wait for you to see yours too,” as I frantically toss a coat on my child, and pushing her out the door for yet another last minute purchase.
- People are rushing around like it’s the apocalypse. Driving around during the last few weeks in December is absolute hell on earth, and being stuck listening to the endless holiday music over the radio isn’t helping. There is no spirit of safety. People are running red lights, cutting each other off, speeding through parking lots, and you’re just praying you and the kids make it to Christmas alive.
- I don’t really need anything. I’m a mom. I don’t want any more junk to dust, and I can’t think of anything I’d like for Christmas that wouldn’t prompt a dirty look from my husband who doesn’t want to hear, “I’d like to pay off the credit cards,” or “what I really want is a night in a hotel room all to myself with a bottle of wine, chick flicks, and a bag containing Pad Thai take out.
- People give too many toys. I understand that the fun part of buying toys for children is like reliving ones childhood, but please, enough with the toys. My house already looks like a Toys R Us breeding ground, and if anyone is going to enjoy reliving childhood for a few short minutes, it’s going to be me.
- There is always one overly generous person. It’s like they have a money tree growing in their front lawn, and anything you buy for their children will appear to be as insignificant as a bag of socks from the dollar store. I know it’s the thought that counts, but please! You’re making me look bad.
- There are always people who have birthdays right next to Christmas. Not only do I need to come up with awesome ideas for Christmas presents, I need to come up with an equally amazing, unique gift for their birthday as well. Also, they cannot be wrapped in holiday paper. We must do this because it isn’t their fault that their birthday is on Christmas, and every kid deserves to know their birthday is special.
- The holiday has become more of a working holiday. As parents we get to spend the “holidays” carting our children around to various households so no one feels slighted. Just because it’s a holiday does not mean I get to have a relaxing hot meal with family. More than likely I’ll be in the living room entertaining my child as everyone else eats before sneaking into the kitchen afterward like a crow to pick at the leftovers. The rest of the time is spent praying that my child will not have a meltdown from too much sugar/ lack of nap, and making sure our child doesn’t stumble through open basement doors that people who no longer have children forget to close. After a long day of not relaxing we get to haul the crap home in big, awkward bags, and attempt to make space where there is none.
- The aftermath. When all is said and done we have the joyous job of cleaning up boxes, paper, ribbons, pine needles, glitter, decorations, and tangled webs of lights, followed by Five Months of Bills.
I miss the days when Christmas just appeared before my eyes in a blur of blinding glitter, dazzling lights and a mountain of awesome presents waiting for me under the tree. I miss the days I didn’t have to make lists of people with corresponding potential presents while hoping I can stay within a reasonable budget. I long for the times I spent just farting around, doing nothing on December 25th but eating, and watching the Christmas Story marathon all day long; but alas, those days are over. Now I can appreciate all the time, effort, and frustration my parents went through to give my brother and me the best of holidays. As Ellen Griswold said, “I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.” The torch has been passed; it’s my turn to stop being the child and put a smile on my own kid’s face. I’ll probably complain a lot, I already am, but I wholeheartedly know it’s worth it.