I do enjoy Christmas, but by the time Christmas arrives, I'm almost ready to be done with it.
One of my favoritest days in the entire year is the day after Christmas Day.
It's not that I'm a grinch. I love the music, the lights, the simple traditions we engage in with the kids every year - cookie baking, tree decorating, singing mutilated versions of Christmas carols - it adds some festivity and brightness to a normally dark time of year.
I grew up fully engulfed in the religious context of Christmas, but as history and the religious holiday don't quite match up, I'm not going to dwell on the religious. Those who truly celebrate the holiday in a fully religious capacity aren't affected by.... Santa, elves and the crushing realization that Santa provides presents solely based on your parents' economic status.
Right now, my kids love it - Santa, presents and stockings and all.
But really, Santa is us telling our kids some magical, mythical creature exists solely to bring them toys in some mythical place called the North Pole. Lets hush up about the poor, starving kids that get nothing.
I'm guilty, I really am. I perpetuate Santa.
I justify it by my belief that childhood belief in magic and myth helps kids' imaginations. It helps stave off the ho-hum reality of life and helps transition them from belief in magic to fascination in science - why no, a big fat man isn't going to come down a chimney we don't have and drop off presents, but we can TOTALLY travel in space and build a bio-dome on Mars.
I will say, though, at 8, this is their last year of belief. Mr. logic, Turbo Boy has already figured it out but is hanging on to the dream, while Bear suddenly realized that um, if Santa is magical, why didn't he get a DS? And how come Santa always brings things that Target sells? And um, the kids at school, they got DS' and consoles and snowboards and a trip to Bali and ummm... hmmm....
This is what I think ultimately breaks the myth of Santa -- Johnny Rich Kid and siblings gets snowboard and gear, a season pass, a new console - elite version - for the entertainment centers in their bedrooms, 5 best selling games to match, and a crap ton of designer clothing. Danny Dad Works The Night Shift gets 1 new game and a console for the whole family, some socks and a sled, but that's okay because hey, sleds are cool.
But that's the kids. Me? Presents? Ack! No, anything. Ask me to do anything, but do not ask me to find meaningful gifts my family will cherish every. single. year. Inevitably, I fail. There's so much pressure! Even if I had deeper pockets than I do, I can't do it. I. Just. Can't give the perfect gift.
Get your child the best gizmo! And the gizmo games! Do something big - buy your husband a new toolbox, with all the tools, in a new workshop. Give the gift of diamonds. Spend more money than you actually have because if you don't, you're admitting you're you know... economically challenged (to be fair, being economically challenged is very 2011, and is rumored to remain the smokin' hot trend of 2012...).
The entire point of 2012 for my "economically challenged" and so-smokin-hot-trending-2012 family is to become less 'stuff' oriented. Christmas defeats that entire purpose. It's the time of year when you buy a bunch of random stuff for people who only think they want it. Inevitably, one or two gifts are used, kept and loved and the rest become destined for basements, yard sales and re-gifts. Then, of course, there's the silent disappointment - oh, is this what you got me? Do you even you know, know me?
So here's to the Day After Christmas Day.
My favoritest day of the year.
The day where everyone is chill, the kids aren't yet bored by all their loot and the brand-spankin' New Year hangs over us all, about to come in all blinged out and optimistic, where the only thing you need to buy is some good wine and Chinese take-out.