By Delilah McMasters
I use to love Christmas. Everything about it made me as excited as a 5-year-old on a sugar rush. Having six kids made it possible to create the winter wonderland of my dreams. Baby No. 1 started it all: Putting the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, baking sugar cookies, visiting with Santa, hanging stockings, a trip out for a new ornament every year, Christmas music, Christmas shows as books, and oh, the outfits!
Next baby came at Thanksgiving, right in time to play a six-pound baby Jesus in the church play.
Third baby came the day before Christmas Eve. He waited until after all the decorating, baking and wrapping had been done and we spent the day admiring him swaddled in his red flannel blanket printed with little dancing Santas.
Fourth baby showed up in time to experience Elf on the Shelf. Those last two babies? Man, they have been grandfathered into cheap labor with a set of pictures to decorate trees, garland, mantles and mangers. Forced into the Elfie games with all the accessories and a Pinterest board. Required to take pictures with Santa until they are 18. Yes, 34 years have passed and now there are 28 storage bins, three trees, five mini trees, five strands of garland, lots of decorations and one huge box of school decorations from all six of the kids.
So, why don’t I like Christmas anymore? It takes a week and a half to get everything up and in place the way I like it, and then my job got in the way of my Christmas spirit and baking. It feels like one big rush, not enough time or money, and them kids grew up on me! Babies No. 1, 2 and 3 grew up and took off! Babies No. 4, 5 and 6 are still here, but they have a love/hate relationship with my Christmas vision. They wear out after the first three days, get an attitude, then rally through with hopes of presents being under the tree. No one wants to bake cookies, they roll their eyes about getting decorations or decorating, attitudes about pictures with Santa.
WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MERRY AND BRIGHT! THIS IS FUN, DAMNIT!
But it’s not, because I failed to understand each ornament I lovingly wrap up each January is my memories, not theirs. They are past the excitement stage and on to living their own adventures, starting their own traditions, and like a favorite toy or memory they bring out on occasion and smile and laugh at how excessive it all is and how Christmas threw up at mom’s house. Rotten kids.
And to make matters worse, COVID shows up this year! Now I’m surrounded by 34 years of decorations, and them last two babies, the Drama Squad, have already declared they are NOT helping put it all away, since one bin got misplaced last year and I’m still fretting over what happened to all those precious little ornaments.
Stop, right here and think. If you got this far and are still reading, doesn’t this sound ridiculous? Entitled? There are people dying, so many families have lost loved ones this year and are alone, hurting, because of this pandemic. I have six beautiful children that I’m thankful daily. None of them have been affected by COVID. We can talk, zoom, create a different memory.
“Christmas comes, but once a year!”
I would rather give up a Christmas, if it means having a lifetime. After everything was decorated, I sent videos to all the kids, since they will not see it in person. Next year we will haul every damn box out again and torture them or maybe I’ll save it all for a grandchild. Right now, we are going to celebrate separately as a family and see each other next Christmas. Celebrate with a giving heart this year, send a card, a letter, an email. Leave something on a doorstep. Sing a Christmas carol on a voicemail. Stop thinking about your memories and traditions, they are still there waiting for next year.
Delilah McMasters is a local resident and the mother of six. Reach her at BlessYourHeart76063@gmail.com.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.