Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Husband and Christmas

It's no secret that Christmas is not my favorite time of year.
Through no fault of her own, my mother hated Christmas, and we all knew it. My father didn't help with Christmas. He didn't know what we kids were getting until we opened the presents. He never addressed a Christmas card or baked a cookie.
Honestly, I don't know if he was any different from any other man of his generation. Heck, he was not all that different from many men of my generation.

My problem with Christmas is partly my upbringing, and mostly self made.
I put stress on myself to have the perfect Christmas.
Everyone must get exactly what they asked for--the 'big' present. No one should be disappointed. There should be an abundance of cookies and the perfect Christmas letter (not too perfect, not too whiny) in each card. I should attend and participate in all activities at church and in my personal life that pertain to Christmas. The tree should be decorated with reminders of our lives. Everyone should participate in the decorating---and be happy about it. I shouldn't want to hurry through the Christmas story on Christmas morning so the kids can open their gifts. Jesus is the reason for the season, after all. I should have a cheery disposition from Thanksgiving through January 5th. I should take down the tree and decorations and revel in the perfectness of another Christmas.

All that the list above involves is stress. You know why? Because it is IMPOSSIBLE. There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas. Any event that involves several people and gifts and priorities will never, ever, be perfect. Someone has to do the work--often alone. Someone will be disappointed.
Think back to any wedding, birthday party, or even family vacation that you've attended. Someone was unhappy. Someone was disappointed. Someone did not find the event to be uplifting. Someone was stressed.

So, I should give myself a break. I should give my family a break and not pass along my drama like my mother, unwittingly, did. I have a much, much better chance at it because of Lee.

He loves Christmas. He shops knowing that things will be returned. He addresses cards knowing that we may not receive a card in return. He bakes without caring about the mess. He puts up the tree knowing that our teenagers would rather be 1,000 other places. He reads the Christmas story out of the bible on Christmas morning, knowing that our kids aren't really listening. He doesn't volunteer for every Christmas function. He wraps presents until 2 am if that's what it takes.
In short, he doesn't stress. He takes the good with the bad. He takes the whining with the laughter.

This year he has done 99.9% of the shopping. I am working on stocking stuffers and stressing (surprise!) over the one person I have to shop for---Lee. He doesn't want anything. Well, he wants some things, but nothing out of the ordinary. I can't think one thing that would make him think, "Wow, she really thinks I'm special." I so want him to think he's special. He does so much for me and our family. He's taken all the stress out of Christmas for me. I really think he hung the moon and want him to know it.
So, what do you get the man who has everything? I'm working on it.
I'm also working on not expecting too much out of this time of year. I'm working on finding that place in me that remembers that Christmas is ultimately the celebration of God's gift to us.
Not our gifts to others.


  1. That's one great guy you've got there. I wish you luck on figuring out what to give him for Christmas. The holidays .. we put so much pressure on ourselves, wanting everything just right! It ends up being such a stressful time. Sounds like you are working on de-stressing though... good luck!

  2. Sounds like your sweet husband understands the true meaning of Christmas.....keeping it simple and focusing on family.

    Last year was my last "Perfect" Christmas. I didn't even send any cards, nor am I doing it this year. There is no rush to bake cookies....we bake cookies all year long anyway. And everyone is getting just one reasonable, but special gift and a few stocking stuffers. We have no functions to attend and nothing to sign up for.
    Our decorations are simple and many of them are still packed up.

    My stepmother spent so much time in the kitchen and going to events and volunteering for holiday things growing up, that we hardly ever saw her and she was always preoccupied and quite bossy.

    Our new way of handling Christmas in our house is so much easier, and closer and more peaceful. I wish we would have done this a long time ago.

    Remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!


  3. That was beautiful and you summed it up well on your last line Christmas is the celebration of God's gift to us not our gifts to others. Thank you and have a lovely stress free christmas :)

  4. It's hard to let go of the past, isn't it? I'm a very happy gal, but this season kicks my butt every year. Comes from years and years of family drama and sadness.
    We carry so much of our childhood with us as adults - the good with the bad. I know exactly why I'm feeling the way I am and why it's so hard, but it is still almost impossible to let it go and just feel...normal.
    Can we please gift each other with two small boxes of peace this year, cee cee?

  5. Sounds like your hubby is a true gem. Very well written post-I kinda needed to be reminded to quit worrying about stuff and remember the reason for the season.

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  7. Don't get me wrong, while I love opening presents, my favorite gift of all is a card. It's crazy but true. It doesn't have to be from Hallmark, it can be a piece of paper folded in half with my name on the outside, notebook paper or scrap paper, whatever is available. On the inside, a heartfelt note telling me how much I mean to you and why you love having me in your life.

    That is my suggestion for Lee as well. It's a gift money can't buy, it's the gift of your endless, unconditional love. he'd never admit that it's a gift that he would want, but I'm sure he won't forget it! You might even find it stashed away in his sock drawer a year from now :)