Christmas means different things to different people. For some, it’s a time of year to celebrate everything special about family and kids. For others, it’s about surviving insane relatives for a few days, and trying not to drag family secrets out of the closet. For still others, it’s a time of year that serves to amplify their loneliness, especially if they are away from family or wanting their own. For many of us, Christmas is a marker of time, a reminder to us of the loss of someone close to us as we mourn another year without them.
And for my children, Christmas has different meanings too. For Sister of a Man-Child, the excitement about Christmas started early, begging to put up our tree well before December. I know the shops couldn’t wait to put the decorations out, but we drew the line at December 1 for our tree at home. Likewise, her Christmas list was written quite a while ago – just as well for Santa who has to put in special orders before the rush amid the threat of popular toys disappearing off the shelves (she of course just imagines he is busy making as many as are required)!
For one of the Men-Children, he seems completely disinterested in Christmas. He doesn’t seem worried about having no presents for Xmas Day, otherwise he would have organised to go shopping with his mother for the clothing he wants. And he has been given plenty of notice that his mother WILL NOT be anywhere near a retail store on the 24th of December, so I guess it will have to wait (and not for the Boxing Day sales either). C’est la vie.
Conversely, the other man-child jumped at the first chance to go shopping for Christmas presents. How is it that we half completed my list, but managed to complete his? We walked from one end of the shopping centre to the other until we had found what he wanted – man on a mission (and after my own heart I must admit). I did draw the line at him then deciding to wear said present the next time he went out, and then another of his gifts the following day (not even from us, but relatives). I went completely nuts at him, and said at least he could wait to be given the gifts before wearing them. I am completely over the RFN mentality of Gen Y, who can’t wait for anything. They expect instant gratification, and have no sense of earning or saving for anything (at least in the case of one of my men-children). Not to mention maintaining the spirit of Xmas for his sister.
I actually contacted several charity organisations about doing some volunteer work with the boys before Christmas (they couldn’t contain their excitement at my suggestion – NOT!) I explained I thought they could both benefit from a lesson in giving rather than receiving! Sister of a man-child was naturally very keen to join us, unlike her brothers. Unfortunately for all of us, although surely a great sign for the charities, we struggled to find somewhere we could help after contacting several organisations. Apparently there are WAITING lists for volunteer work, although probably more so at Christmas time due to seasonal people like me.
I have also asked (okay, perhaps insisted?) that the boys come to mass with us on Christmas Eve. It’s a wonderful celebration of all that is Christmas, with lots of families from our school community, full of the joy of the occasion, reminding us all of the real meaning of Christmas, and a chance to join the chorus of wonderful Christmas carols and hymns (I love it)!!!
So as we count down the final days to Christmas, and look forward to a wonderful day spent with my children, Father of a Man-Child, and our families, I wish all my readers the joy of the festive season. I hope you enjoy the day, along with all the madness that precedes it and the chance to relax that follows it. Happy holidays – I’ll be back with the Men-Children in 2014. 🙂
I’ve blogged about Christmas a few times before: 2012, 2013