The joy of Christmas, surpassed only by the joy of Christmas past, by Georgia Garvey

Every day for what seems like the last two months, my 3 year old asked me the same question:

“Is it Christmas?” “

He asks in a voice mixed with excitement and dread, full of expectation of a thrilling day but also of fear that, when she finally arrives, someone asks him something to which he is not quite ready. done prepared.

Honestly, his attitude, a strike of anticipation and anxiety, mirrors mine.

Before parenthood, the idea of ​​vacationing with kids was sweet, full of nostalgia for the sweet parts of my own childhood and amnesia for the toughest times. What I realized as a parent is that the most common Christmas experience is deep exhaustion.

It’s about making lists and planning, baking and cooking, finding and buying gifts, not to mention the packaging. Then there is the real problem: the constant and incessant lying.

There are the lies about Santa Claus, of course, inventing quite a story for any kind of person who would move to a barren wasteland to live out their days in the company of several hundred tiny creatures as strange as him, working without stops hoping to meet, if only for one day, the material demands of billions of bratty kids.

There are the lies about the letters and how they get, the Elves and the Reindeer, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman – by the time you’re done, you’ve sewn a virtual quilt of fabrications.

“Do elves ever die?” “

“Can Santa Claus see what I’m doing at Grandma’s?” “

“Does he eat cookies in every house?” “

It’s exhausting, frankly, and you realize how easily you cringe under police questioning.

This year, I also imposed a series of additional obstacles to serenity: I decided to make gifts by hand and make homemade treats.

“Fruit cake! I thought a month ago. “What a good idea!”

When I found myself, a few weeks later, neck and neck in books of dried fruit, the promise of weeks tending to the cake with freshly sherry gauze standing in front of me, the idea struck me as mysteriously silly – weird. same.

“Who gave me this unnecessary task?” I asked myself, knowing full well that the answer was Pre-Holiday Me, a starry-eyed fool.

Pre-Holiday Me also planned to make a hot chocolate mix by hand, stuff it into tiny glass containers, and cover them with hand-cut squares of red tartan fabric, tied with a burlap ribbon bow.

” What a party ! Before the holidays, I thought. “How adorable! “

Holiday Me found the experience a little less adorable as I gazed through my reading glasses at the tiny labels I had purchased, my hands twitching as I wrote words small enough to make an ant squint.

Meanwhile, the demands of everyday life do not stop, even if I want to, even for a second.

Years ago, in a religion class, I discovered the Buddhist concept of “samsara,” the endless and miserable cycle of death and rebirth that all unawakened humans are doomed to endure.

Laundry, in other words.

It all sounds pretty pathetic, and I know both could be and, for a lot of people, are much worse. I cringe complaining that I have too many families, too many presents, too much food.

Still, I can’t help but think about our toddler’s conflicted vacation spirit.

When asked what he wants for Christmas, he thinks about it with a sort of confused wonder, marveling at the possibilities but also at the peril.

“Nothing,” he seems to be saying. “All.”

Somehow he already knows it’s a mixed bag.

When the holidays finally arrive, I expect it will be with her mixture of relief and sadness that I will answer her, “Yes, honey, today is Christmas. Thank God.”

To learn more about Georgia Garvey, visit

Photo credit: TerriC at Pixabay

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