I love Christmas. And yes, Thanksgiving is this week and I enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
But I LOVE Christmas! I wrote about my family Christmas’s in 2016 here. That year was made special because my son and now daughter-in-law were home for Christmas. 2016 was the first time in 5 years that both of my boys were here and it had been 4 years since spending Christmas with my youngest son. So I was happy. And it was a good Christmas….. but there were some underlying stresses that made it difficult too.
Hopefully, my youngest son did not see how much of a struggle it was for me….for my husband…. Christmas that year and the year before and the year after were difficult to say the least. Like so many families across the country, we had our stresses to deal with, our burdens to bear. And sometimes life is difficult, especially during the holiday season. I really think that it is only because we love the Christmas season so much and all of the magic it brings that we were able to celebrate at all.
Christmas 2015 was the beginning of the chaos with my oldest and I didn’t want to celebrate…. But I did because I had always promised myself that no matter where life took me, no matter what was happening or who I was missing, Christmas would still be celebrated, I would still decorate and bake and sing and shop and so much more. So I did. Despite the pain and chaos. But that year, 2015, I actually started to put away the Christmas decor on Christmas eve. I was done. It takes a lot to get me to that point and I had never been there before. But there I was. Done.
Christmas 2016 found me exhausted. I had spent weeks trying to find treatment for my son, navigating the mental health system and the justice system and I was emotionally exhausted and completely drained. But there I was on Thanksgiving weekend, decorating like I always did. I played my favorite Christmas music. I baked. But my heart wasn’t there. I was exhausted. And overwhelmed. And at one point I just wanted to skip Christmas….me! The Christmas person. But my son was coming home and it would be the first Christmas my now daughter-in-law would spend with us, so I kept doing the things that made it Christmas for my family and my wonderful husband picked up some of the slack for me and took over some of the things that were overwhelming me… I was excited to have my family together and am so thankful they were all here or I may have completely missed my favorite holiday.
And then last year, Christmas 2017, was hard for all of us. We had been spending months with the fear that my son would have to go to prison…. And how in the world would I be able to do Christmas with him there? Thanksgiving weekend, I again got out the décor and ALL of my trees and decorated. It was my distraction from the pain and stress. We found out in the middle of December that year, that he would not be going to prison and that should have made for the best Christmas…. But the stress took its toll and for the first time EVER I slept through most of Christmas eve, getting up after 8pm. I just wasn’t into it, still.
BUT this year is way different! In every way! My son is doing well. He has been getting the help he has needed. There is no court to go to. There are no lawyers to talk to. There are no emergency visits to psychiatrists needed. The stress is so much less. Things are good. REALLY good!
So in October, yes before Halloween, when my husband started singing Christmas songs, I thought someone had taken over his body…. What? Where did my husband go? Who is this guy, disguised as my husband? My husband loves Christmas too, just not as obsessively as I do, so this was very strange! Usually my guys won’t let me play Christmas music until Thanksgiving and then I get the “eye-rolls” from my guys when I say the only music allowed in the house or car is Christmas music. But here was my husband singing Christmas songs. And it was October! And then we would go shopping and he wanted to see the Christmas decor….and we bought some….in OCTOBER! IN OCTOBER! Then there were the days my husband would run out to do an errand and he would come home with more Christmas decor for inside and outside! What happened to my husband?
All the years of being married to me finally rubbed off on him!
My husband started decorating the outside of our house the first weekend in November. I was shocked. And very happy! He was making me laugh and smile and we were having fun!
And I started to decorate inside too. Just the rooms that did not have the fall decor, those would have to wait until after Thanksgiving. It has made me really happy to decorate. We started playing our Christmas music a couple of weeks ago and we started watching hallmark Christmas movies then, too.
Christmas was coming early in our house and in our hearts.
I couldn’t figure out why we started so early this year (we never start before Thanksgiving) or why my husband was so into it…. Not until my son asked if I had an extra tree that we could put in his room….. he had NEVER wanted a tree in his room….. of course I had a tree for him! He says that we are so into Christmas this year that he just wanted to give us a little gift and have the tree in his room to participate in the Christmas spirit.
And that is when it hit me.
This year the stress is gone. He is stable. We are all feeling good right now. The chaos is minimal. Compared to the last three Christmas seasons, well this has gotten off to a near perfect start! We have all come a long way this year.
And that is why we are all excited about Christmas.
I hadn’t realized the toll the past few years had taken on us or on our joy of the Christmas season. I hadn’t realized that it had affected my husband as much as it had affected me. Or the effect on my son. And I was pretty good at hiding my lack of Christmas joy from the world outside our walls. I was trying really hard to find it in the midst of the chaos, but just couldn’t get all the way there.
But we are REALLY excited this Christmas season. There is NO faking it! We are ready for the magic. We are ready for the spirit of the season. The lights. The smells. The goodies. The events. ALL of it!
So, yes, we started early this year with our decorations. My friends think we are nuts. So do our neighbors. And I am more than okay with that!
Our jumping into Christmas early, isn’t about skipping any other holidays or trying to rush the season. Our early Christmas spirit is ALL about wanting to enjoy it…. ALL of it…… and ALL that we missed the past few years.
This year Christmas has come early to our home and our hearts! My heart is happy and full of joy!