Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cranky Christmas

I get way too wound up about Christmas.  Even before Tricia and I had kids, I really got into it, buying too many presents and investing way too much time and money in something that is best enjoyed when simple.  When we had kids, it became an excuse to go a little nuts.  Each Christmas (and birthday) since the kids came along, I've had trouble resisting all of the cool toys I see on store shelves.  When combined with all of the toys that friends and relatives give, the number of toys has definitely gotten out of control.
This year the problem really came to a head.  Tommy is only 14 months old and doesn't really have a concept of Christmas presents, but 3 year-old Joey sure does, but he doesn't really have much of a concept of sharing or gratitude, and his bratty side was on full display.  Between his tantrums and shouts of "Mine!" and making his brother cry again and again by taking even the least significant toys from him, Mom and Dad were left feeling like the last thing in the world Joey needed was a new slew of toys on Christmas Day.  But...it's so fun, right?
The day came, and Joey was in rare form.  Each time we would begin to think about opening presents, he would do something so selfish and rude, we would go back to waiting.  At one point, I was considering donating all of the toys to charity and just calling it a day.  I've heard of parents doing that, and I always figured they were just overly-strict, mean and spiteful people but there I was considering exactly the same thing - not because I was angry or wanted to punish anyone - just because it seemed like the right thing to do.  At that moment, giving a present to Joey seemed equivalent to donating money to Paris Hilton.
In the end, the boys opened their presents, but afterward I was left with the feeling that giving the toys away was probably the right idea, and it was my own selfish desire to "have a Christmas" that prevented it.  Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas, so you have to imagine the amount of bad behavior that I saw in order to come to that conclusion.
Now, like so many others out there I'm just grateful that it's OVER.  The kids can go back to their normal routine, and I can try to regain some of my composure before my wife has me comitted once and for all.

Saying you didn't have a Merry Christmas almost seems like sacriledge, doesn't it?  The worst part is, I know I only have myself to blame.  I keep thinking of a scene in "Babe" (yes, the pig movie) - the farmer spends weeks meticulously building a beautiful, elaborate dollhouse for his Granddaughter, but on Christmas she opens it up and lets out a wail "It's the wrong one!  I want the one I saw on the television!!!"  The smile never leaves the farmer's face, and it's clear that he's just too damn mature to allow something like that to bother him.  I need to be more like him.  Then again, the guy entered a pig in a sheepdog contest, so he's gotta be nuts, right?
"That'll do" for now, I guess...
Have a Happy New Year,

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