Hello everyone, my name is Mama Bird, and I’m a Christmasholic. That’s right, a full-blown ornament-buying, garland-hanging, hot-chocolate-recipe-pinning, stocking-stuffing sideshow freak of an addict. And that’s right folks, I’m loving every holly jolly second!
It’s Birdie’s first Christmas! And believe it or not, it’s kind of my first Christmas as well.
See, I grew up in an incredibly relaxed reform Jewish household. Temple, no. Chanukah, yes. Some Jewish friends, some Christian. I would not say I, nor any of my family, are religious--only cultural. And I was super lucky to find a partner who came from a similar background, only with the foundation of Christianity rather than Judaism. It was an easy marriage of religions, so to speak.
Now to some people this actually may seem offensive (that one simply enjoys the pleasures associated with a religion yet isn’t active in the “work” of it), and I will be completely honest and tell you that there are many days that I wish I could feel some sort of true identification with a religion. And maybe one day I will. But for now, I am content with being “spiritual,” and focusing on the core values still apply in our household despite our lack of religion--to be a good, giving person; to be empathetic; to be philanthropic. To learn well, to teach well, to do well.
Having given that background, I will tell you that I have been dreaming of this upcoming Christmas for my entire life--the first Christmas of my very first child. And of course my mind overflows at times thinking of all the lovely things I would love to shower Bird with, but truly, truly what keeps me awake at night is contemplating all the tangible and non-tangible things I can do to make this the most magical day for her. She will be eight-months-old, and yes, I understand there is a substantial chance that she’ll never remember this. But maybe the next Christmas she will. And if not that one, the one after that. Or maybe she’s this undocumented prodigy that remembers every single moment of every day, and you will see her interviewed by Oprah (when she makes her return...pleeeeease, O?) in twenty years, as Oprah asks what she was doing on “x” day and “x” time and Bird will recount the moment that...well...I think you get the point.
I long for that Williams-Sonoma scent that hits you as you walk into the store during the holiday season--not too powerful but automatically places images in your mind of children wearing mittens and riding in sleighs. I yearn for the tree that you’d find professionally decorated in a Four Season lobby--not gaudy, but so perfectly bright that a picture never does it justice. And my heart literally aches for that moment that Bird comes upstairs to find the stockings filled, tree buried under gifts, and Santa’s plate of cookies empty. I feel as though this perfect day is my temporary life obsession; a personal challenge; a “good mommy” test that I have just got to ace!
After talking often about this with many of my friends, I have realized that the feeling of Christmas perfection is astonishingly individual, both to the person striving for it and for the people along for the ride. So my take? Make it as personal as I can. Create traditions that we will want to continue for years as a family--that Birdie will ask about and look forward to. Make it warm, and cozy, and loving. Stay calm and Christmas on, and take it one day at a time.