So this year, I am trying to experience Christmas like a little kid. I'm consciously doing things and trying to see things as if I were a little kid so I can make new memories that are happy. So, our tree only has home-made decorations this year. This serves two purposes: If my 4 and 5 yr old break them, I won't cry, and it's simple enough that it's magic, not merchandising flash. My son and I pulled out his train and set it up under the tree and then played with it. That was awesome fun, too.
Now, having been married for 20 years, I've collected some Christmas things that I love in spite of not loving the holidays. I have a old Avon Bear Ornament collection that I absolutely love. (I think this stems from my love of all things miniature - like dollhouses.) But last year when I let the kids do all the decorating because I just couldn't, well... my son managed to break some of them because they're cute and fun and of course he wanted to play with them. Yes, I love my son more than toys, although there were a few moments when I had to repeat that phrase over and over to remind myself.
So, this year after doing the tree, I decided the kids and I would make "gingerbread nativities" instead of houses.
As the kids and I were making "gingerbread" houses, I had to stop myself from sitting down and making a village. My kids made their nativity set, and I told them the Christmas story while they mushed frosting onto marshmallows.
Our nativity houses are simple. If you want to see gingerbread done right and fantastic, I suggest you check out Liesl Shurtliff!
So then I realized I had a bunch of acorns stored up. And thought maybe I could make little snowmen ornaments to gift to friends and family for the holidays. I even thought it might be a fun craft to do with the kids.
Ok, so it was totally a fun craft. And I didn't want to share it at all. But hey, no finger burns from all that hot glue this year! That's a Christmas Miracle in and of itself!
But isn't that part of the magic of Christmas? I went from dreading the holidays to having fun. I have all kinds of fun things planned for Christmas morning that will make it fun and happy and a game that will have us laughing and playing as a family instead of something that is painful for me to sit through. By making a conscious effort to have fun, I AM having fun and enjoying the season. It doesn't make the old trauma go away completely, but it makes it bearable. Something I can look at and say, "yep, life was like that when I was a kid" and go on with my day without feeling the need to run. How cool is that?
--I'm still not entirely sure that I'll be able to get through opening my presents without having to take breaks, but I *think* I've managed to build in breaks this year that will let me emotionally handle having to unwrap something. Here's hoping my kids all play along!
So Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year! And Happy Holidays! I love all of you!
** If you're wondering, the frames are fabric covered sheet metal, made for my three oldest daughters using this link from Pinterest. I bought everything last year except the frames. My father-in-law had to bring his special saw up to help me cut the metal, because the Lowes and Home Depot near my house won't cut to size. So it was all ready to go, just waiting for me to put it together this year. I'm still considering making the fabric jewelry holder for myself while I'm at it... There's still a couple days left, right?