I’ve been listening to the Munchkin for almost the past month wish most people “Happy Christmas” instead of the more traditional “Merry Christmas” used here in the US. I wondered where she came up with it because we are very clearly NOT British (the usual suspect of Happy Christmas) and she’s not old enough to watch all my beloved BBC shows with me yet so I decided to do a little digging into the Happy versus Merry difference.
As with most of the internet anymore, it somehow KNOWS what you’re looking for or what you’re interested in (targeted marketing is FREAKY!) but I stumbled across this article in the Christian Science Monitor (a surprisingly balanced news source) where it states that “happy tends toward quiet contentment and merry toward revelry” and that’s when I realized that I have been trying to embody a “happy” Christmas season as opposed to a “merry” Christmas season.
Don’t get me wrong, I like merriment as much as anyone but the merry that seems to be growing around the month of December is becoming a little ridiculous in my opinion. I dislike the over commercialized concept of Santa, I am not a fan of the mounds of gifts children receive (especially when parents give Santa the credit), and the stress that people put themselves under to make the “perfect” holiday experience. This doesn’t come from any deep seated religious feelings but it comes from a place of someone who wants to enjoy this magical time and not be lost “shoulding” all over myself (AKA I should bake cookies, I should make some Santa magic, I should have the perfect house for guests…etc…).
I have a distinct memory of Babci promising to make Christmas cookies with us. It ended up being Christmas Eve and she started crying, all upset about how she “should” be doing this and it wasn’t working and things weren’t going as planned. I don’t know what was going on with her at the time, I was probably 7 or 8, and being a mom myself now I can sympathize with whatever she happened to be feeling that night and I don’t want to recreate that memory with my own daughter.
I think the Munchkin should see me struggle, cry, get overwhelmed and upset (and then move on) but ultimately I can control what I’m going to get upset about. I have been judged pretty regularly because I don’t bake homemade cookies with the Munchkin. Guess what? I don’t care. I hate baking, I suck at baking, it is not fun for me, so I have chosen not to do it. I buy a roll of slice and bake sugar cookie dough, some squeeze tubes of frosting, sprinkles and we go to town on those. The Mr. actually did it with her this year but guess what? Those cookies taste fine and don’t come with the flavor of stress that making “real” cookies does for me. This method allows me to actually enjoy the process of baking cookies without all the pressure it puts on me. Anyone who judges me for not making “real” cookies wants to borrow my almost 3 year old and do it with her, BE MY GUEST!
I also have no cookies out for Santa. The Mr. and I had discussed not even talking about Santa but he’s everywhere. You can’t get away from him, even strangers come up to the Munchkin and ask her about Santa (and by the way, you should stop that, never realized how obnoxious it is until this year), so we’ve kind of taken the laissez faire approach to him. The Munchkin and I had a talk about Santa a few days ago and she said she was “scared” of him and didn’t want him coming in the house so I told her I’d have a meeting with him, get her presents but he won’t come into the house. But you want to know what her Santa presents are? Here they are:
And pair of snow boots, since we haven’t had snow yet I decided to save them for Christmas.
Why did we opt to go this route? There’s a lot of reasons but the two big ones are we don’t want to start a precedent we can’t keep up with and we don’t want Santa getting the credit for gifts. With the Munchkin being the only child on my side of the family she is going to get plenty of gifts from real live human beings that she can appreciate and thank. She doesn’t need a ton of stuff from some character that currently she’s scared of! She doesn’t need a ton of stuff period but part of the joy of Christmas is the giving and I wouldn’t want to take that away from the people who love her.
Once again, none of this comes from an deeply held religious beliefs but just as a human being trying to make it through the day with my family and my sanity in tact. I’m trying to focus on the big rocks in my life and not get so worried about the little rocks that the rest of it gets crowded out. Do I screw up? Of course I do. Have we done even half the things I put in the Christmas countdown? Nope. We didn’t even do what we were supposed to today because we opted to get outside instead since it was almost a nice day here.
And whatever winter celebration or combination of them you celebrate is fine and whatever holiday you’re going to give me good wishes for is also fine, I’m all about the spirit of the season and remember the the dark is ending, light is returning so it’s a time to celebrate! But I’m trying to embrace the “happy” and enjoy the “merry” as it may come without shoulding all over myself.