Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Voice of Christmases Past

With the cooler/cold weather we're experiencing here in Houston I've been wearing one of my ski jackets to keep warm. It still has all of my lift tickets on it from our last ski trip in December of 2006.

That was a great trip. My boyfriend, now my husband, and I had been dating for a little over six months long distance. I was living in WI, he was in TX and we saw each otehr about every three to four weeks when I was in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. Because of the distance we'd decided to take a trip for Christmas. I had to go to New Mexico on business the week after Christmas to close out a market but other than that I was off for two weeks. So we decided to make the trek out to New Mexico together and turn it into a ski vacation.

On Christmas day we were in Ruidoso, New Mexico riding the lifts up and plowing down the slopes as fast as we could go. During one of our breaks I called my best friend in SC to wish her and the kids a Merry Christmas. They had opened all of their gifts and were watching some TV while the kids played with their new toys. What did you get for Christmas I asked? "Just a few mixing bowls and kitchen utensils," she replied. Then she continued on about how when you're married and have kids life and the holidays are boring. All gifts become about what you need more than what you want...

Of course I sympathized and said well I'm sorry you're not having a more exciting Christmas. We're out here where its beautiful skiing, drinking warm cocktails, eating out and having a blast! JB had given me a new MP3 player and I'd given him some new clothes, we were both loving our time together and the holidays.

So now its three years later and I'm happily married and we have a 14 month old bundle of joy. Let's review, last Christmas I got a Dyson vacuum, mixing bowls, a trailer hitch cover and a DVD, pretty exciting huh? It was almost comical to see the look on our friend's faces when I told them my husband gave me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. You could actually see the horror, the thoughts of impending doom on our relationship and the sympathy for me the recipient of an appliance! What they didn't know or realize is that I'd wanted that vacuum cleaner for forever and we'd discussed if it would be an acceptable Christmas present. But, looking from the outside in, I can understand the presumption that JB had made a terrible mistake.

This year I was talking about Christmas with a friend and what we were getting each other and she just nodded her head and said "That's the way it is when you're married and have kids." Wait, so is there an unwritten law or policy somewhere that states after you've said "I do" all presents must be practical rather than fun, perform some type of household duty or make a chore easier, or solely fall into the category of need rather than want?

My husband wanted to take another ski trip this year. He wanted to drive or fly to New Mexico or Colorado and spend a week on the slopes. Yes, it does sound like a lot of fun. But what would we do with our little one? How can we justify spending money n a vacation when he hasn't bought any new clothes for himself in two years? And we'd already splurged and purchased a new digital SLR as a family Christmas present so we could take better pictures of MC. Alright so maybe the writing is on the wall, we're married, have a kid and Christmas has become practical and boring.

Then there's MC and her Christmas. Again, as we go back two years, before we left for our ski trip we celebrated Christmas with JB's family. We were all sitting around my brother's house as our nieces unwrapped their Christmas presents. We watched as the youngest one ran around playing with her toy that she's brought with her completely oblivious as her mom opened all of her presents. And afterwards we watched as she played with the discarded paper and empty boxes showing zero interest in the new toys.

Later as we were driving home, JB and I laughed and said when we have a child we'll just get them wrapping paper and boxes for their first few Christmases and they'll have just as much fun as they would with new toys, if not more fun!

Now we're nine days from Christmas and the presents under the tree are overflowing. MC is getting a new chair that's her size, a wagon to ride around in, several new books, mega bloks, a push toy, some Disney movies, a stuffed animal and a few miscellaneous toys. And in the back of my head I hear ourselves saying, she'll just get paper and boxes, we'll she's getting lots of boxes and paper with all sorts of fun stuff inside. I have to kind of laugh as I'm hearing the voices of Christmases past and seeing all of the practical gifts we've purchased for each other and the toys for our little girl!

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