Some cabbage families have ‘normal’ Christmas traditions such as hanging their perfectly embroidered Christmas stockings by the chimney with care or wrapping their gifts in beautiful papers with pretty matching bows and coordinating gift tags. They bake delicious gingerbread cookies and decadent squares as well as decorate their homes with a flourish only rivalled by Liberace. Oh, the bling! Then there’s us.
In this testosterone filled patch, tradition went by the wayside once the wee cabbages were old enough to realize that sleeping in on Christmas morning was way better than getting up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa had arrived. Their justifications for sleeping in probably went something like this:
- No matter what time we get up, it will still be Christmas day.
- Our presents will still be here when we get up.
- I’m sure one of them (probably MC) reminded me that, after all, I had been lying about the whole Christmas magic thing all those years anyway. Ouch.
It was also around this time that I had been diagnosed with MS. I know that I would not have the strength to argue with them anyway. Between that and operating my store during the busy Christmas season, I had had very little energy left for decorating, baking and Christmas party shaking. So sleeping in it was.
As a family, we decided that it was more important that I use what little energy I had to actually enjoy Christmas rather than trying to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas. We decided that we would spend our time watching Christmas movies such as Elf (oh, how I love that movie), playing games (have you ever played Pigs?) and spending quality time with each other rather than baking, decorating and Christmas overachieving. While I knew that my cabbages were looking out for me, I also knew that secretly they were performing their very own happy dances when I wasn’t looking because now they would not have to drag out all those Christmas containers for me. In my mind, they were yelling, “start the car!” before I changed my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas and when we were all younger, I did it all: the decorating, the baking, the countdown calendars, the wrapping, the Christmas concerts, the parades. I LOVED it. But life has a way of bringing us into the present and I had to adjust my expectations and priorities to my fit my MS diagnosis, limited energy and raging testosterone cabbages’ attitudes. Really, it wasn’t much of a decision to make for spending time with my cabbages was way more important than having a perfectly decorated patch. Imagine, if you will, that what I chose and continue to choose is all the craziness and dysfuction of a Griswold family relationship over Clark’s obsession of making sure that everything is perfect, a kazillion Christmas lights not inlcuded.
Since that decision, the patch has seen another shift. The cabbages moved away for their post-secondary education and upon graduation and whatnot, their lives have taken them to other parts of the country. It is no longer possible for them to come home every Christmas. Only YC has been able to make it home for the past two Christmases; something he uses to his advantage in his attempts to convince me that he should indeed be the favoured cabbage in the patch at all times. There was some mention of an increased share in my will as well.
It was also during this time that I decided to thin down our Christmas decorations and keep only what was essential to sprinkle the house with a little bit of Christmas spirit: Christmas tree baubles, a couple of wreaths, candles, keepsakes and stockings. Or so I thought.
One year ago on Christmas Eve, when I was gathering YC’s stocking stuffers, I discovered that all the Christmas stockings were AWOL. They were gone, gone, gone. Sauerkraut, in an attempt to diffuse any potential over-reaction and potential meltdown by me assured me that YC wouldn’t mind, probably wouldn’t even notice, if I was to put his stuffers in any old sock. Any old sock, he says. He won’t mind, he says. Probably won’t even notice, he says. Are you freakin’ kidding me?
I’ll notice, I say. The stuffers won’t fit in just any old sock, I say. I’ve got to come up with something else, I say. It has to be brilliant, I say. Nothing like a bit of eleventh hour pressure on Christmas Eve night. Then I had one of Oprah’s “Ah ha” moments.
I ran to my closet and chose a red purse. I chose it for a few reasons: it was Christmassy in colour, fairly big, uniquely shaped and had several pockets both inside and out. Oh, the pockets! This was going to slow YC down because he wouldn’t be able to just dump the stuffers out on couch and say, “Why, thank you, Mom”. He was going to have to work for those stuffers by going through each and every pocket. And work he did.
The look on YC’s face was priceless. What the heck, he says. This isn’t my stocking, he says. You’ve truly lost your mind, he says. I proclaimed, “YC, it’s our new tradition! It’s a Christmas stocking purse!”
And that, my dear friends, is how legends are born.
The Christmas stocking purse filled to its zipper again in 2015
Christmas stocking purse: 1
Old sock: 0