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November 30, 2010 - Jennifer Brookens
T-Minus 4 hours and 30 minutes until the calendar officially turns to December, and the kids are already digging into the Christmas decorations. I've always been one of those purists that insists on at least waiting until December to put up Christmas stuff. But if my daughter had her way, we would've put the decorations up on her birthday, right after we took the Halloween decorations down.

Both the Girl and the Boy have been showing that anticipation. Even though my son hasn't given me a "wish list" of any sort, he's been walking around saying "Ho Ho Ho" (courtesy of that Dora Christmas DVD that he's become obsessed with these past few weeks). And today, my daughter handed me a box addressed to Mrs. Claus ("Because she probably doesn't get a lot of mail," she told me) with her wish list inside. I promised to mail it tomorrow, even though I haven't even got a look at it yet. If being in a box is an indicator, Santa and the Mrs. may have a lot to live up to this year.

That in itself is intimidating to dear ol' Mom and Dad. But factor in the "perfect family picture" for the Christmas card, getting long-distance gifts picked out/made and mailed off in time, hosting/attending Christmas parties, and - of course - how to pay for it all, leads to anxiety and more of a Blue Christmas feeling for me.

This is why I am grateful to the ECFE programs here in Fairmont. A few years ago, they introduced me to the book "Unplug the Christmas Machine." It was released in the 1990s, but still has great advice of how to keep your holiday in check without having to have every single toy on the wish list under the tree and how to avoid running yourself ragged being "a Christmas magician."

But even with these realities, I always find myself hoping to be able to get caught up in my children's whimsy, getting to experience Christmas through their eyes with that magical element that begins to ellude us as we get older. That is my gift to me. And hoping it doesn't mean a credit card bill that takes until next summer to have paid in full.


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