Whew. The last week has been a little wild, what with the awards and Thanksgiving. I want to say a special thank you to everyone who read my Thanksgiving post and responded with love and support. It was unexpected, and incredibly appreciated. Now that all that craziness is over, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
I talked to my daughter today, as she headed to the mall for the first time since she’s been at MoHo. When she got there, she called to tell me all the stores that are in the mall. It is obvious that she’s been exiled to shopping Siberia, as she was way too excited about Claires. Despite the 30 million necklaces, earrings, and rings from Claires that are currently languishing in her room here, she could not resist the call of the “10 for $10” sale. Aubrey and I both suffer from ADOS…Attention Deficit Oooooh Shiny!
She called again a few minutes later to ask if she could buy headphones. I’ve been in a fibro fritz for weeks now, so I had no idea why she was asking me, since she has her own money, and pays her credit card bill herself. She reminded me of the family rule of no one being allowed to buy themselves anything from the week before Thanksgiving until Christmas. Depending on how good the shirts are at shirt.woot.com, I will sometimes extend that all the way from Halloween.
Since this Christmas is more of the “do it yourself” variety, I hadn’t really thought about buying anything. We all got our presents somewhat early, although in Ron’s case, he’s getting a piece at a time as he builds a new gaming system; something he’s needed for quite a while. Ron has no vices, so gaming is his only stress relief. I’m probably more supportive of his gaming than he is himself, as I’m always the one saying, “Just get the damned thing and stop whining.” Of course, he never gets a game until it’s at least three months old and on sale for a fraction of the price. As a woman who is a serious bargain shopper, I can totally appreciate that.
While Aub’s question rolled around in my head for a second, I was about to tell her to go ahead and get them when I suddenly remembered “The Christmas That Mommy Tried To Kill Santa.” I could not possibly bear the anguished cries of my offspring should I dare to break a single family tradition, or have them wake up to discover no stocking stuffers or tree presents. When I say tree presents, I mean presents that are on the tree. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember Karen Carpenter singing about presents on the tree, not under it. Anyway, I think it was the kids’ dad who started the whole tree present tradition back when we were married, and it just kinda stuck.
When Matt was 15, and Aubrey was 10, I figured we were done with that whole Santa thing. Up until then, our family tradition was to not have any presents out, other than if someone got a stocking stuffer specifically for someone else. On Christmas morning, stockings would be filled, presents piled under and around and in the tree. Each stocking would have presents wrapped in a specific paper. There were no name tags. Everyone knew which presents were theirs by the paper that was in their stocking.
That year, I was so tired, and thought they really wouldn’t care anymore. I wrapped a present, put a name tag on it, and put it under the tree. Suddenly my son started shrieking like a slasher movie star. “AUGGGHHH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING???” I said I was wrapping presents. “NOOOO. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!! YOU CAN’T WRAP PRESENTS! SANTA BRINGS THE PRESENTS, NOT YOU!” I was stunned. Both kids were adamant that I stop what I was doing, and let Santa do what he (she) does. So with two days left until Christmas, I went to buy two different rolls of Santa paper, so that I could wrap presents properly, and in secret. I never tried such a thing again.
This year, in spite of Matt’s present consisting of us paying for him to go back to school, in spite of Aubrey getting a tablet, in spite of Ron building his own computer, I cannot kill Santa. I told Aubrey, no, she could not buy herself anything for the next month. I have started shopping for stocking stuffers and tree presents. They know there won’t be any huge, surprise boxes under the tree this year, but they expect presents on the tree. At 23 and 18, they are quite obviously too old to believe in “Santa” but they will not give up what has become their family traditions.
Once again, there are two rolls of secret Santa paper…last year’s paper is never to be reused. Stockings will be hung, and this year, we have a chimney, so they will be placed with care. It does not matter that they do not live at home. They will be home for Christmas, and home at Christmas means burnt cinnamon rolls, Owens country sausage patties, coffee, hot chocolate, and mimosas for breakfast. Home at Christmas means that stockings will be stuffed, and presents on the tree. As their mom, it is forever my job to make sure that this is always home.
So yes, they will be home for Christmas. You can count on it.
“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree. Christmas Eve will find me where the love light beams. I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams.”