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The Ghosts of Shitmas Past

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all are enjoying the family fun, the traditions, hunting for the perfect gifts for your favorite people, and the many fun moments that the holiday season brings. I’m a mess at Christmas every year. I tend to overthink every detail {thanks anxiety} and let the stress bring out my inner grinch! It’s not that I don’t love Christmas, I do! It’s that I never seem to make it the Christmas I envisioned for mythreefold and I.

Christmas has been hard for me for 14 years now. {No #2 not because of you} It’s been the heaviness around the holidays that makes me nearly unbearable. Christmas means so much to me. It’s always been the biggest celebration of the year for me especially growing up and into my early adulthood. I looked forward to Christmas and the hustle bustle. I loved every aspect from the Christmas music, decorations, cooking, shopping and all the gatherings. Now I still love these things but it’s so different than it used to be way back then.

My mom loved Christmas. She went all out at Christmas. We were so spoiled. She didn’t think about the money except that she made sure it was ‘fair’ across the board. She was going to spend close to the same amount on each kid and she would wrap strategically to make sure the number of presents we each had to open was the same. She knew that we wonder as kids why someone got more than we did. I’ve adopted that thought process as how I have done with my threefold too. My mom held all the cards at Christmas and she knew how to play them. Every Christmas I can remember with her was always magical. The floor covered with presents, the baking, the decorations inside and out. Everything was spot on. I will always remember she was so excited to give us everything on our list and stuff you forgot you said you wanted months prior. As I got older I caught onto her theme. The presents always were numbered. The first few were the smaller things and the less expensive. The further you got into the gifts they would get a little more extravagant. You would open them all one at a time and it was rotated. One kid opens, then the next, another and so on. She was insistent on one person at a time because she wanted to see the reaction and the happiness on your face. The end was the big finale. Everyone would think it was over and be looking through their things and she would sneak away. When she came back she would have a final gift for everyone. It would be the best gift ever, every year, without fail it was always the perfect gift. One year we got a Disney cruise vacation, another I got my first puppy that I had for 14 years. Another it was a four wheeler. Game systems, voice lessons for a year, a car. It was over the top in every way. She was like this with everyone. If you were coming to Christmas at my momma’s you were getting the Christmas you never knew existed outside of Hallmark movies.

After mom died, Christmas became disappointing and those big family meals on Christmas, the Santa gifts, the floor to ceiling stacks of gifts all died with her. We went from having Christmas morning breakfast and Santa with our little family to Christmas Day dinner with my momma to not celebrating together until weeks or months later some years. We would all have several family gatherings to attend with grandparents, in-laws and extended family. Somehow that all disappeared too. Suddenly, Christmas was optional for our family when before it was mandatory attendance and shared calendars to coordinate our multiple family gatherings. I might see my dad or I might not. My brother and I haven’t seen each other on Christmas in years. I’ve been to a handful of Christmas gatherings over the years with my grandparents and extended family. It lost the magic it once had. I hate it’s so hard to get everyone in the same place now for anything.

In addition to not having that experience with my parents, brother, nieces and nephews and extended family, I now feel all the pressure to recreate the magic for my threefold and our little family. Unfortunately I have yet to be able to. My finances don’t allow for the big presents and the thousands of dollars I didn’t realize my mom was spending to make that magic for us. I have a difficult time getting just the few things I do. It’s not all about the money, it’s about so much more.

The past Christmases that my threefold experienced that I was shut down and didn’t want to celebrate at all because I was feeling like I wasn’t giving them enough. My anxiety over family gatherings and having to take my threefold to most of them alone. The Christmas they didn’t get anything. The Christmas that I fought with their dad so much they all scattered into hiding. The Christmas their presents were taken away as cruel punishment. Every year has been marked with some shit memory turning Christmas into yet another Shitmas.

Last year, I wanted the big Christmas, but I had just gotten our home and made sure it had the stuff we needed like lights, water, wifi, and they each had rooms where they needed to have things. I wanted the big Christmas and I wanted to for once my way! I didn’t have anyone telling me what I could do with my money and I didn’t have to go by the lists that someone else decided was what I could buy or how much I could spend. Unfortunately, my financial situation was the determining factor in the end. With it being amidst the pandemic we didn’t get to even go celebrate with people.

This year, we’ve added more people to the celebration and into our family. With my bonus kid and with ‘E’ here I want even more this year to be special. I want our first Christmas as a family to be one for the books. A memory they can hold onto forever. It’s been such a difficult year and we have overcome so much. All of DEFCON Four {my term when speaking about all 4 of the girls} have accomplished, overcome and grown so much that I feel I should celebrate the end of a hard year with this big Christmas celebration. The last thing I want this year is to have another Shitmas where they are disappointed or feel bad about asking for anything.

I’m trying to summon my inner resourceful Rhonda and make this that big Christmas that we haven’t had. I’ve started finding new traditions and found things that they enjoy. I don’t have it all together and will probably be a hot mess mom riding the bipolar express until Christmas, but I’m determined to give them this unforgettable Christmas. It’s the last Christmas before #1 of my threefold goes to college and it’s the first family Christmas where I anticipate it being better than the many Shitmases from before. I may not pull it off, but if I give up I know I won’t have even a chance. No one can create that Christmas magic now except for this momma for my own DEFCON Four. That’s my plan! That’s my goal! Have a very Merry Christmas y’all! ☮️❤️😊🎄~ M

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