Christmas '09: HOT CHOCOLATE WINS over the Bathroom Nativity

by | Dec 1, 2009 | Every Day Life

A few days ago I sat down to make my Christmas shopping list. Along with this list came the hurried, scurried thoughts of holiday meal planning, decorating and
travel. I find myself beginning to get anxious over how to get it all accomplished.
You would think that since I have an empty nest, it would all get easier. But now I have to contemplate my two youngest coming home from college around December 12th and being here an entire month with no school, no job, and no desire to help me shop, decorate or wrap presents. They will, however, expect to be fed and cared for by their momma. Oh, I will do the ‘momma thing’ for about a week: wait on them hand and foot, gladly wash all those dirty clothes, and let them sleep till two in the afternoon. But, then I will have had it and I will want some appreciation and help. I have been waiting on appreciation for so long now that I’d say the odds of me receiving it this year are less than slim to none. 

Help, on the other hand, is entirely different. I can get help. I use good ole fashioned motivation – nagging and yelling – and it is incredible what I can get them to do (once I get them out of bed.)
I am trying to assess just how much yelling and nagging I really want to do this year. Do I want to turn my house into a winter wonderland? If I do, it will involve lots of huffs and puffs and threats of doing it myself, to get my husband on the roof to outline every twist and turn with our infamous runway lights. (I really need to invest in different lights for the house. Seriously, airplanes could use our house as a navigational device)
Do I want to make the inside look like you have walked into a window display at Macy’s? Oh, I have done it before and it truly is enchanting — but remember, I live in a house full of men.
My college-age males will ask, as they have in the past, “Why is there a nativity set in our bathroom?” Yes, it is that ‘over the top.’
Do I really want to breakout all those boxes of decorations and haul them up and down the stairs? Okay, let’s stop for a clarification. I will not personally be hauling boxes up and down the stairs, so the question really should be – do I want to bug my husband until he hauls all those boxes up and down the stairs?

‘No’ keeps popping into my head, which makes me think, I may be turning into my Grandmother Wilson. All she ever had for decoration at Christmas time was a small tree that sat up on a table in her living room. When I was little, I found that kind of sad. But now, I know she was a very smart woman.
Then, I could be like some people I know and hire a decorator to come in and make all the magic happen for me. Unfortunately, that is not in the budget this year (or any year in the foreseeable future. Remember, two in college?)
Hey, wait a minute, maybe that could be my out for losing the runway lights this year. We need to save money. Instead of feeling guilty that I didn’t “do it all,” I could just tell myself I was being responsible. I mean, I have been doing this crazy Christmas stuff for 25 years now.
Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that during this holiday season my husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Is there time for that? No, not if I go crazy shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping and feeling guilty that I did too much or didn’t do enough.

I think now would be a good time for me to stop, take a deep breath, and think about what will really make this holiday time special for me and my family.
Instead of two Christmas trees this year – just one. And instead of making it a designer tree, I will cover it will all the sappy ornaments my children have made throughout the years. Somehow, with one having his own house and the other two away at college, those years seem to be slipping farther and farther away. No runway lights and no winter wonderland.
And I will make sure we have lots of homemade hot chocolate. My boys would much rather have hot chocolate than a nativity set in their bathroom.
Maybe, with all the crazy cut out of my schedule I will find the time and energy to celebrate that 25th wedding anniversary.
More importantly, I will find the time to celebrate and reflect on the amazement of Immanuel – God with us. ■

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