Yesterday, and even more so after a conversation with my friend Meghan, I realized that there are phases when it comes to the Christmas spirit. It ebbs and flows and takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and stress. This is due in part to the fact that Christmas wouldn’t happen without mom. Moms make the Christmas magic happen, which is as fun as it is exhausting. It also takes a toll on the kids. 25 days is a long wait for any kid, especially one that’s being told that they have to be on their best behavior or else they won’t get any presents. The kids go from sweetly waiting and enjoying the Christmas festivities along the way to basically telling you to cut the shit out and get to the presents.
Now with five days left until the big day, my patience is running a little thinner than usual and I am ready to get the whole thing over with so I can stop doing all the things PLUS all the Christmas things.
Phase 1: Black Friday – December 10th
You are Buddy the Elf incarnate and everything is magical and wonderful about Christmas. Smiling is your favorite! Elf on the Shelf is a wickedly fun project for you every night and the kids shriek each morning when they see his silly antics. You’re in the midst of putting up Christmas decorations and bopping along to Christmas music that invigorates your soul. You have all the energy in the world to rush the kids off to see Santa on a fire truck, eat pancakes with Santa, see Santa at the mall strategically positioned next to the Build-A-Bear. Most wonderful time of the year indeed!
Phase 2 – December 11th – December 18th: This is the “meh” phase where the shine is starting to dull a bit. You’ve gotten enough done off your Christmas checklist that you’re feeling fairly confident about where you are with things. The bulk of your Christmas shopping is done and your cards have been sent. The kids have made cookies, gingerbread houses, and had their pictures with Santa. The small things – like grocery shopping and food prep – are too far away for you to begin now. By now your kids have probably seen Santa a minimum of two times and it’s losing its luster. Santa is just some dude they know pretty well but now they’re getting frustrated because isn’t that obese elf supposed to have presents for them?
Phase 3 – December 19th – 24th: The “THIS HOLIDAY BLOWS” phase. Could there be any more people at this Target? Why am I the only good driver in the entire state of New Jersey? Hasn’t anyone else heard of Amazon? Oh God, not another ominous LAST DAY TO ORDER FOR GUARANTEED CHRISTMAS EVE DELIVERY email. Are you offering 40% or 50% off? Why is that I’m being penalized by paying more for stuff that I bought weeks ago when I should have waited until the last-minute and gotten it on deep discount? My pants are having a hard time getting over my hips from all of the candy that I’m stress eating – damn you Reese’s miniature cups! The kids are OVER waiting. The presents need to happen now. The threats of Santa and the Elf and the entire North Pole watching them are ineffective. It either causes them to meltdown because they’re legit scared they won’t get a damn thing and they’ve been waiting sooo long or they give zero Fs and act how they want because they’re popping advent calendar candy at 6am and on a sugar-fueled rager. Did I mention they’re waking up earlier than normal because of the elf? That’s it, I’m returning all of the kids’ gifts. They have too much crap anyway and I’m fed up with the over-tired, over-hyped, over-sugared attitudes they’re walking around with. Oh and now it’s time to grocery shop with the rest of the entire world. Better bring my candy cane shank so I can be sure to get the last spiral cut ham that no one really eats but I need to have it because it is a traditional Christmas Eve dinner staple. Carpal tunnel sets in from a marathon wrapping session while your husband watches over your shoulder and asks in a perfectly innocent way “Aren’t you going to wrap their stocking stuffers?” while you secretly wonder if you have powers like Eleven and could lift him up out of the chair with your mind and toss him in the other room.
Most of the day: cooking, cleaning, prepping. Kids yelling I WANT SANTA TO BE HERE NOW! Lots of closed eyes as you clenched your hands repeating your mantra: “I love them. I swear I do. And there would be so many questions. I would definitely be the prime suspect.”
Post- kids’ bedtime: glass of wine is in hand, Christmas music plays softly in the background while you snuggle with the husband that you merely scared, not harmed, with your incredible Eleven-like mind powers. You talk about how excited your precious, finally asleep, children are going to be tomorrow morning and see Santa came.
December 25th: IT’S HERE! You don’t even care that you’re awake this early as you watch your children scamper down the stairs excitedly to check out the tree. Your eyes glisten as the children gasp in utter delight at the presents that have magically appeared. It’s okay that Santa will get all the credit, they are ADORABLE and it was all worth it. You coffee, you mimosa, you stay in PJs all morning, and you enjoy a blissful one to two hours before your kids tell you they’re bored and want to know where they’re going today.
Phase 5 – December 26th and the next 330-ish days: WAAAAHHHH Christmas is over! I’m so depressed. I can’t wait for it to come back again next year!