It might say something about my nature that as a little girl, I would start the Christmas countdown sometime in late October. Cutting strips of red and green construction paper, I would create a humongously long Advent chain, weeks before Advent was even set to start. A blue link at the top meant Christmas Eve and the final link, the yellow one, meant Christmas day. Every night, I would tear off another link, knowing I was a little bit closer to the magic of Christmas.
So when did I start dreading the Christmas season? There, I said it. I know, there are entire songs and movies and plays written about grumps like me who aren't in the holiday spirit. It's ironic that as a kid, Christmas couldn't come fast enough, but as a grown-up, I am resentful of how it is has invaded the fall. Sirius has been playing holidays songs while I still had Halloween candy in a pumpkin and when I had some time to shop on Veterans Day, I was serenaded by "White Christmas".
The little kid I used to be would LOVE how Christmas is front and center far earlier than it used to be, but the grown-up, Mommy-me is drowning in the holiday "to-do's" on top of all the regular "to-do's" that haven't been getting done. While there has been no time for things like, say, putting away laundry (anyone else leave their clean laundry in baskets for weeks at a time?), now I need to get two preschoolers to look festive and presentable and make them sit while I take pictures for holiday cards. Then I need to order said holiday cards, label them, stamp them, and send them out in between lesson planning, grading, writing report cards, shopping for presents, and decorating our home.
I've often thought to myself that the difference between being a kid and being an adult is how you look at the snow- when it ceases to be magical and becomes an annoying hindrance, you know you aren't that starry eyed little kid anymore. Maybe it's that way for Christmas, too.
Yet.....some of my happiest memories growing up relate to the cozy,loving feeling that Christmas brought. Rolling out cookies with my mom and decorating them with icing, unwrapping the delicate ornaments from the shoeboxes where they lived all year long and feeling like I rediscovered a treasured friend. The soft, sparking lights of the tree in the evening. The anticipation of Christmas morning, new pajamas, hot chocolate, togetherness.
There are little people looking to me for what Christmas is all about, looking to me for memories to be made. I guess the laundry can sit a little longer- I've got halls to deck.