I really do love everything about Christmas -- the twinkling lights, pine boughs, freshly baked treats -- the whole Advent season is usually a joyful time for me.
Not this year, though, and I don't know why. I'm not feeling the usual post-Christmas letdown; this year I never felt the Christmas spirit at all.
I did all the right things: I sent Christmas cards (partially homemade), I baked pumpkin bread, I put up the tree and reminisced about all the ornaments, I bought all the gifts (including the gifts from one of the grandmothers, who wasn't able to shop this year), I wrapped all the gifts, I hand-stamped the annual calendars, I did the nightly nativity reading with the kids. So why is it so blah humbug?
Part of the problem is logistical -- I put the Christmas tree upstairs this year and haven't spent one evening up there enjoying the lights. The gameroom is a bloody disaster because the attic ladder is still broken and we have an over-abundance of Christmas tubs and junk cluttering up the room. And I don't deal well with clutter so I'm just avoiding the upstairs altogether.
Part of it was familial. The kids didn't get out of school until December 21, so life was going at breakneck speed until then with school functions and parties. Then we had to pack up the van and truck over to Houston since Kevin's mom can't travel post-surgery. We've never shared Christmas Eve and Day with them before. It was nice, but not what I wanted. I wanted our old traditions and our own quiet family, but instead I got thrust into a huge celebration of people I haven't seen since our wedding 12 years ago. The introvert in me wanted to run and hide, but I put on my game face and did the best I could.
Part of it was just the fact that I'm the grownup now. I really miss the magic of Christmas, where my parents surprised us with unexpected gifts and where the traditional foods just appeared on the holiday table. Now that I'm the mommy, I have to do all the planning and shopping and cooking and, well, all of it. I think I'm mourning the fact that I'm in charge and if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. (Hint to husband -- I'd like a surprise under the tree next year.)
Of course I know that the season has been over-commercialized and over-Americanized and overblown entirely, but I'm still a sucker for all things traditional and familiar so I like the festivities and gifts. And I'm not taking down the tree until I have some Christmas joy.