Monday, December 16, 2013

No Gifts for You !

I can be a little like Scrooge at Christmas.  Or maybe more like the Grinch... all green and ugly and ready to steal the roast beast from little children.  At least my husband and boys think so -  because David says every year.... EVERY year, I get all frustrated and stressed about buying the right gifts for the boys.  And then I usually buy a bunch of nonsense useless stuff - like the $278 I just spent at Marshall's -  and my husband said a lot of it looks like girl stuff.  Because this mother of 3 boys is a girl.  And I don't know what 13 year old boys want for Christmas, except for maybe a 13 year old girl. 

So I end up declaring a no gift zone every Christmas.  Because I don't like way the boys start sounding and looking all selfish -  like kids, maybe ??  - and just making lists of gifts they want because it's gift getting season.  

And what have WE done as parents ?  ..... apparently create gift wishing, list making Christmas monsters who want things like giant blingy Super Bowl replica rings studded in fake bedazzles - to be worn on his tiny 10 year old finger.  David and I both think a gold tooth is soon to follow.

So I get all mad that the kids make want lists and don't make giving lists.... and I end up sounding like like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, No Soup for You!.... No gifts for you !!! It's the season of giving, not the season of getting,..... people !  (And really, as far as Seinfeld characters go,  I would much rather be the Soup Nazi than the woman with man hands.  Remember that one?)

But after a little thought I remembered one of the happiest days of the entire year for me as a kid was the day the Sears toy catalog arrived in the mail.  And gosh I loved that giant beauty shop Barbie head - that I used to put curlers in her hair and paint on blue eye shadow.  And I loved my easy bake oven and those Charlie's Angels look alike flare leg jeans.  And I super loved our Christmas tree so full with presents each year.... because I saw Christmas through the eyes of a child, not through the meanie mom adult eyes that I have now.  And growing up, Christmas was one of the things my family did right.  One of the only ways we knew how to show love well.  (That's me on the far right holding my sister's Mrs. Beasley doll that I later sat on and broke. Merry Christmas.)

And in this picture, taken somewhere around 1970 sometime - when we didn't make kids wear seat belts - we were headed over to my grandparents house to open gifts on Christmas Eve.  All piled into the station wagon of Christmas goodness. 

And I wasn't concerned as a child with giving the perfect gift to my loved ones.... not sure it ever crossed my little girl mind.  But yet I expect it to walk right into my boys as if it were natural.  I'm not even really sure I turned into a god fearing, notice anyone but myself kind of girl up until recent years.... possibly a wonderful side effect of motherhood.  But before that, I was as useless as the next guy. 

So I had a talk with the boys last night.  About my no gift proclamation.  And how I've let the business of being an adult make me forget the business of being a kid at Christmas.  And they yawned and maybe listened....

Christmas is the season of tradition.  Of having your favorite ornaments on the tree and seeing the same decorations show up every year.  It's the season of comfort and repetition from years past,  of renewed familiarity with things that we've lost touch with over time.  And yes, the season of getting gifts - not because we deserve them.  But because someone loves us enough to give.  

And maybe my kids don't fully feel the giving spirit right now that I might like.  The giving spirit that I try to force.  But I was a kid, too.  And my eyes lit up at the lights and the gift wrap and the possibility that there might be something for me under that tree. 

Maybe each Christmas as the recipient of gifts useful or not, good or bad, they are slowly seeing that they receive -  not because they were good or bad, and not because they earned any extra favor in my eyes.  But because they are part of a family that loves them no matter what. 

Through the eyes of a child, we can see Christmas as the wonderful season of getting.  And of hoping. And of receiving things that surprise us beyond our expectations.  Of joyful wishes come true.  All wrapped up in a Christmas gift from someone who loves us dearly.  Kinda' like that very first Christmas in a stable, long ago.

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