I have a warm, safe home and food in the fridge. So many do not.
For years as a kid my dad and I spent Christmas Eve volunteering at the Tree of Joy delivering the gifts to those who were home bound. People whose only gift was the one we delivered.
I remember. I have so much to be thankful for, and I am.
It doesn't make it any easier.
We've never had lavish Christmases full of presents, but Santa always brought toys and gifts that Mom and Dad couldn't afford.
Not this year.
This year, between the divorce and other unexpected expenses, it’s going to be tiny.
I’m know that Christmas is about family and being together. Not about gifts, but giving back and all that.
But you know what?
For my kids – it’s about that Christmas magic of Santa coming and leaving exactly what they wanted. It’s about going to sleep Christmas Eve and waking up at the butt-crack-of-dawn to find the tree lights on, the train running, and presents waiting to be opened. It’s about whispering to each other and sneaking out to look the gifts over before the appointed time.
I can’t do it this year. And it is breaking my heart.
I know they’ll be happy regardless, but I so love making their eyes sparkle and hearing the excitement in their voices.
I mentioned to them that this Christmas was going to be smaller – they know things are tight. They agreed and said they understood, but then my eldest turns to the others and says, “There’s still Santa. Even if the gifts from Mom and Dad are smaller, Santa’s gifts won’t be.”
My heart hurt. Oh, my precious child. If only it were so.
(Yes, she’s 11 and still believes in the magic of Santa)
J and I are combining our limited resources for our kids’ Christmas. We’re working very hard to talk through the money part of Christmas.
This Christmas will be different. We will split up the decorations. The tree will be smaller, not scraping the top of my vaulted ceiling. No fancy tins and boxes for home-made treats to giveaway.
All those holiday tasks J and I did together, I’ll do alone. Wrapping gifts. Waiting for them to go to sleep to arrange the Santa gifts. No need to make rum balls and caramel corn for him to take to work.
Santa will still come, but their stockings will be a bit thin and the things on the top of their lists won’t be under the tree.
Will I have a hard time?
Heck, I have a hard time just thinking about it.
I can fall apart after they’re asleep in bed.
While they’re awake we’ll make treats and wrap presents and watch White Christmas multiple times. We will smile, laugh, and be normal.
I can do that for them.