I like Christmas, I really do. But it has been difficult getting into the spirit this year. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Christmas has been in the stores and on the radio since Halloween, or perhaps it is the fact that instead of snow it is currently a balmy 60 degrees out, or perhaps my head isn't screwed on just right. Whatever the reason, the stores or the snow, I just can't seem to find joy this season. Last year at this time my husband's family was dealing with the fatal illness of my father-in-law. We were able to spend the holiday with him before he passed, so I know this year is going to be sad and painful for the family. I can remember the first Christmas after my grandmother died, I fell to the floor in tears when I tried making cookies in her old mixer. It will be hard to stay upbeat during our first Christmas without Pop-pop. But my melancholy stems from more than the empty place at the table. Because of my lack of work this fall, we've had to pinch pennies, and I fear the boys will be disappointed to find out just how tight Santa's budget was. Thankfully they each kept their lists short, but Paul somehow managed to single out the most expensive, discontinued toys on the market. Instead of circling in the catalogs this year, he went into one of his collector's books to find ideas. I blame the stores again. Their giant toy catalogs came out in early November and I recycled them. Oops. Alas, I have been exploring the wonders of E-bay and hoping there aren't crazy man-children living in their parents' basement waiting to outbid me at the last second. Sorry, that was a cruel stereotype. I just spent time yesterday watching in depth videos of children's toys narrated by men. Weird.
But as the Grinch discovers, Christmas came without "packages, boxes or bags." It should be about family, togetherness and tradition. Hubby and I have been trying to develop new traditions with the boys and hopefully some of them will stay in their hearts long after the wrapping paper has been tossed into the recycling bin. My big sister is coming in this weekend to make cookies with me and the boys and I plan to make a mess and not be overly controlling if that is genetically possible. John is excited about making snow flakes to decorate the kitchen (and make up for the mud outside). Somehow I'll get myself in the spirit. But I will not, under any circumstances, be carving the roast beast.