For years, come November, there would be a tangible tension in our home as my husband anticipated my OCD (Obsessive Christmas Disorder) to kick in full force. He would always says that I kicked off the season too soon and that he wished I would wait for Thanksgiving to pass before I pulled out the Buyers Choice Carolers, and Christmas decorations.
In typical Marti fashion I would smile and nod, in an effort to acknowledge that I heard him, as the kids and I tinseled up the house playing our Christmas music, while Joel sat in protest, his nose crinkled and eyebrows furrowed as though he smelled something foul.
It wasn’t until I blogged about a question my daughter asked (“Is Santa Claus Real”) that I believe Joel finally understood WHY Christmas was so important to me.
Like many of us, I grew up in the center of East Providence with very little. I wore the hand me downs like so many of us did and still do. I was a latchkey kid, home alone with my siblings as my mom and dad worked 12-hour days to make ends meet. Santa brought only one gift, and it was usually a doll, some skates, or a radio. Doesn’t seem like a lot compared to what lists are like today, but it felt like the world to me.
What I remember the most was how my home smelled and looked. My mom would bake, my dad (who even now, at the age of 72, still suffers from the same "obsessive Christmas disorder" that I do) would pull out the artificial tree as my sisters and I played our records and decorated the house as he created the most AMAZING Christmas village your eyes will ever see. It was a time when we could forget about what we didn’t have compared to everyone else and focus on what we did have, that many others did not.
This morning as I pulled out my cleaning products to begin my usual Saturday morning chores, Joel was in the kitchen with the kids making pancakes. I turned on the TV, found the Christmas Music channel on FIOS and slowly turned up the volume as I waited in anticipation of "the face." But this year I didn’t get the crinkled nose, or the furrowed eyebrow. What I did see was Joel flip a pancake, smile a big smile, and shake his head being ever so careful never to make eye contact for fear that it would probably mean approval. The kids were even surprised at the new expression.
He told me that it makes him happy to see how happy Christmas makes me (and the kids) but I believe, that Christmas has been redefined for HIM. He now has a new perspective on season, it’s no longer a “commercial” obligation, it has now assumed it’s intended purpose, a time for family, generosity, reflection, and gratitude. If I could physically tape a piece of my happiness here on this blog for your taking, I would. I wish for you all, a peaceful, safe, and happy next couple of months regardless of your faith, traditions, or beliefs.