Thursday, December 16, 2010

Keeping With Tradition

There is nothing like Christmas looming to bring out the "T" word. When I typed in "Christmas Tradition" into Google images this was one of the first images that it spit back at me.

image courtesy of Google images

Thanks to that image, I now have tradition envy. The family is gathered in the living room (or is that called a parlor?) Everyone is neatly dressed and smiling. The ornaments are hung neatly and the presents wrapped perfectly. The children are behaving and the dog is sitting calmly. The grandparents are posed in the appearance of probably heightening the sense of Christmas excitement inside the room. The father is balancing a child on his shoulders and has probably just allowed the small tot to place the tree topper on. Everyone is the ideal picture of Christmas joy....and then you see the mother lurking a little in the background.

The mother seems to be turned a little away from the festivities that are going on in the room and I think I know just why. 

She spent at least 4 hours getting those kids cleaned, dressed to perfection and threatened within an inch of their lives if they didn't look happy for the family Christmas scene. Her mother-in-law that is sitting there doing some kind of needlework has been telling her that she prepared the turkey all wrong and it is going to be dry. She also keeps looking at the table beside her and "tsk tsking" the almost invisible layer of dust that was somehow overlooked. The dog is only sitting calmly because it just got done eating the ham that was laid to cool on the counter and its too full to romp around in doggy bliss. The ornaments are hung so perfect because she has rehung those ornaments 5,698 times in the past few weeks due to the baby playing with the tree. After that much ornament hanging practice, of course they are perfectly hung (for another 10 minutes) She has also finally remembered that she never got the stamps put on the Christmas cards. She was supposed to send those out to family and friends two weeks ago with those generic cards she ended up picking up at WalMart because the family portrait card she had hoped to send never got taken due to each child being sick in separate turns.  She is trying to be patient while small talk is made before dinner, but knows they are keeping a tight schedule if they are ever going to make it to the next grandparents house in time for a big Christmas dinner in 4 hours. She is also tensed up because she knows that due to the economy that "Santa" was unable to fulfill the children's wish lists and is anticipating the look of disappointment when the children realize that they didn't get a pony, tricycle or merry-go-round. She has heard this type of let-down is the cause of adult therapy when her children will get older and worries that the whole reason they will never be President of the United States is because they didn't get the gift they wanted for Christmas thus resulting in low self-esteem. She casting a sideways glance at her husband to see if he is still upset about the fit she threw earlier when he suggested that he was just going to wear his sweatpants and college football t-shirt to dinner. She may have over reacted but it was just because she has spent the past 3 months trying to make this Christmas perfect by herself and he could at least act like he was in the Holiday spirit by wearing the clothes she laid out that perfectly coordinated with her outfit and the kids clothes.

Ah...Christmas Tradition. Doesn't it just fill you with cheer? Are you more like the mother I described above? I don't know about you, but as that mother above...I am tired of "Keeping With Tradition" and I believe it is time for some new ones that don't involve elaborate dinners, Christmas card sending, etc.
It's time for my family to enjoy a good ole traditional hot dog dinner and they better like it!

8 comments:

Chris said...

Not at my house! Sorry!

Amber said...

Yes! We decided when we got married that our Traditions would be low key. Time with family being most important, and minimal but meaningful gift giving. We enjoy the holidays so much more than our family members that are obsessed with perfection and buying everything their kids want.

Mama M. said...

Hahahaha!!! That is so true! I hardly saw the mother at first, then when I spied her, you described it perfectly!

You can almost hear her muttering under her breath..."stupid...godforsaken...grrrrr...$#@..."!

Love this!

Making It Work Mom said...

Love your analysis!!! We try to keep Christmas low key. I make a lasagna dinner and stay in PJs all day! It feels perfect!

Kimberly Gauthier said...

The lovely thing about being single is that tradition was happily tossed out the window. Now that I find myself part of a family again, I feel like a square being pushed into a round hole.

Loved this post.

trooppetrie said...

i am trying hard to relax this year. I even sent my husband to take pictures of the kids without me standing over them this year

CM said...

I try not to get caught up in it all. We do the tree and stockings and cards, but that's about it. And my boys weren't even wearing matching outfits in the Christmas card....oh the horror! ;-)

Lindsey Whitney said...

Hahaa. very funny!

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