Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ghosts Of Christmas Past, Present, Future

I’ve written about our Thanksgiving tradition of naming the turkey. This time of year I’ve come face to face with my family’s Christmas traditions. Being a single mom is not easy this time of year. There are extra expenses and tons of extra money to be spent. It is that time of year that being on a budget sucks. Royally!
There is also very little time for me to just relax and enjoy. There are so many parties and events that take up my precious time. This starts right after Thanksgiving weekend. This year, I also added job interviews and step meetings. Leadership events for the church and dating. Time is elusive to me. Where do the hours go? And the older I get the less time I have it seems.
My kids have made buying presents a lot easier now that they are 17…they want the “gift cards”. Gift cards can be purchased at any store for any amount of money. The gift card tradition started about 3 yrs ago. I used to go to several different stores and get various kinds and amounts. Now I can shop with one easy trip to the bank and plop all that money down and just get a Visa check card for them at my bank! This is their favorite thing for Christmas. They make the annual “after Christmas” trip to the stores to pick out their own treasures. I don’t have to stand in line to return gifts that they don’t like or don’t fit or are the wrong color. This makes my life as a single mom so much easier in the shopping sense. But it also grieves my mommy heart to some degree.
I remember Christmas’s past where there were Transformers and trucks for my son. One year I purchased him the famous “ Red Ryder” the BB gun! And it was a hit until he decided to shoot his sister. Then it went under my bed for a month. There were Barbie’s and baby dolls and electronic devices of many kinds. DVD players, TV’s and Walkmans! Those days are gone. I no longer spend hours wrapping and tagging. My one simple pleasure now is the stocking stuffers. I get to splurge on the mini trinkets and candy that “Santa” still leaves. Christmas at the Hull house would not - could not happen without the stockings. The kids have even realized with years past that if they don’t buy the stocking stuffers for mom…she doesn’t get any. So they put much thought into this for me. It’s one of the cool things about raising my kids alone.
The Christmas CD’s go into the 5 disc changer on Thanksgiving day. How many times have I heard the phrase…”mom, if I have to hear one more Christmas song…I’m going to scream”?? Coming from my daughters mouth?? I crave those Christmas songs about chestnuts roasting and bells jingling and snow falling!! The music comes on when I walk thru the door after work and stops when I go to sleep. Between that time, we watch Ralphie and Scrooge and Arnold chasing after a super hero doll. We watch Frosty and the Grinch. Christmas is full of tradition after tradition of music and film. As the years go past, my kids have come to expect to see me rummaging thru the videos digging out the dusty tattered box of Plans, Trains, and Automobiles…this ushers in the holiday season for me.
I have a grandbaby coming in April. I haven’t really been able to grasp this event completely. It’s hard to “get it”!! BUT….guess what I bought my baby the other day??? I bought my baby it’s first movie. I bought “Charlotte’s Web” for my grand-baby’s unborn Christmas. This movie has the song “Ordinary Miracle”, by Sarah McLaughlin. This is the very song that I gave to my unborn grand-baby. Next year, I will be able to start my Santa shopping again! I will be able to buy the baby dolls and stuffed animals or trucks and legos again!!! Sweet victory. Santa lives!!!
I remember the Christmas when my twins were about 3 yrs old. This was an awesome Christmas. There were so many presents that me and the dad had to build a tunnel made out of one of those giant fabric covered slinky’s that the kids had to climb thru to get to the presents from one room to the other. They don’t remember it….but I do. I fully intend on spoiling my grand-baby in like fashion.
Here’s one final thing to leave you with. My friend Jennifer was involved in a head on collision a few months ago. The dr’s said she wouldn’t live. She is alive today! They said she would never walk again if she lived. She is learning to move today! The dr’s said she would never talk again. I spoke with her this morning by phone. And she giggled and laughed and told me how awesome God is!! The true meaning of Christmas isn’t the Santa. The videos. The music. The presents. The parties. It is the hope of the Christ child that took his first breath that first night years ago. It is about the hope that same Christ child brings thru the crucifixion and resurrection of the cross.
Merry Christmas to you all my friends…let hope live….

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