The more I age, the more I see of Christmas’s hidden side. And it ain’t pretty.
“What Christmas cookie is your favorite?” My mom texted to me a few days before break began.
“Peanut blossoms,” I replied.
I put my phone down in excitement. Mom is going to have Christmas cookies ready to eat when I get home!!!
Fast forward to home. Car unpacked; my room transformed into a hoarder’s. No Christmas cookies.
Was I disappointed? Yeah, a tad. I’ll admit it. But I got to pull into the driveway of a beautifully decorated home all decked out for the holidays. Candles in the windows, new window boxes under the bedroom windows and a Christmas tree clearly glistening from the living room.
It’s a trade off. My parents can only do so much. And by that I mean that my mom can only do so much.
We currently have six Christmas trees in this house, not including the little trees on the shelf in the foyer. Garland –– complete with lights –– wraps around the banister. The dining room’s doorway features the same lit garland. My mom set up two small trees in the dining room. One for the dogs to enjoy (we’re dog lovers in this family) and the other to be what she calls “primitive.”
The kitchen cabinets feature small wreaths (one per cabinet door) and a small tree with kitchen-oriented ornaments. She even wrapped small boxes to place under the kitchen tree.
Then, the big trees. The family room tree has colored lights and solely homemade ornaments. The paper Santa I made in first grade that doesn’t even look like Santa? You’d better believe it’s on there. We put our family gifts under this tree and unwrap them in the family room.
The living room tree is the fancy one. White lights, Lenox ornaments; the whole shebang. Mom designates this tree as our Santa tree.
Disappointment hit when I realized there were no Christmas cookies to eat. But, c’mon –– with decorating, shopping and working a full-time job, did my mom honestly even have time?
My dad works. He brings home paychecks. He decorates here and there outside.
My mom is the person who makes Christmas happen. Every year.
She spends time in Black Friday lines, poring over my brothers’ and my Christmas lists, locating the things we want and ultimately going in to purchase them. Dad helps pay and accompanies her on shopping trips occasionally, but it’s Mom who has the mission. Mom, the ultimate bargain shopper, knows what she’s doing.
She works 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (and sometimes later) every day. She decorates the house, top to bottom. She shops until she drops.
How she had the ambition to even send out the aforementioned text message to my brothers and me is amazing in itself. The thought is what counted. She did everything else that she could, all between a particularly stressful time at work and an Alzheimer’s-stricken mother.
Unless your father is Clark Griswold, I’ll bet our moms face similar situations. Sure, the dads help with the money and maybe some shopping and decorating here and there, but, let’s face it, our moms pull it all together. Moms shop, clean, decorate, wrap, bake, cook and take pictures throughout the holidays.
My brothers and I are 19, 21, 23 and 25, and my mom still goes all out for the holidays. She still tries to make Christmas special for us, despite our forever-climbing ages.
Moms are amazing. It looks like a lot of selfless and hard work, but I’ll be happy to join the mom club when it’s my turn.