If this was the worst Christmas ever, then I’m a very lucky guy.
The sense of impending suckiness began just after Thanksgiving, when I realized that my holiday plans and schemes were not going to have the needed financial backing to pull them off.
That was okay, though. My kids do not go wanting for leisure activities. They have enough toys, crafts, puzzles, and games to stock several aisles at Toys R Us.
I quickly realized that pouring my time and energy into a Christmas celebration would more than make up for a lack of presents under the tree.
But that didn’t really work out, as school and activities suddenly ramped up in the first few weeks of December to distract me from my reconfigured holidays plans and schemes.
By Dec. 21st, there were no decorations, no lights, no bowls of colorful candies. I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, panicking at the top of the big red slide, as he realized he was about to miss his last chance to get what he wanted for Christmas.
At least our tree was up, but devoid of ornaments, and serving as more of a play toy for the kittens than as a point of festive cheer for us.
The weather kept me from stringing lights on the house. First time in 20 years I haven’t done that.
Then my insomnia went into overdrive and I’d lie awake at night worrying about my lack of Christmas spirit.
A few days before Christmas, I mentioned Santa bringing presents, and my daughter crossed her arms, raised one eyebrow, and stated, “I’m going on Wikipedia right now to look up this Santa character.”
To top things off, our oven quit working on the morning of Christmas Eve. Our holiday feast turned out to be Domino’s pizza and chicken wings.
Oh, and my big presents for the year were a set of new tires and a microwave. Badly needed, but akin to receiving underwear and socks from Santa.
But, you know what? The kids had a blast. They got the Lego sets they wanted from Grandma, and they were thrilled with the Harry Potter Lego Wii game I got them. And I believe they now have enough candy to last them straight through to next Halloween, skipping Valentine’s Day and Easter entirely.
More importantly, we spent the day together, at home and at peace. We had snow on the ground, cocoa in our mugs, and a pile of wrapping paper for the cats to play with.
No sweet rolls or candy cane bread, though. Stupid oven.
So maybe the day didn’t measure up to my expectations of awesomeness, but that’s my problem to work out. I have a little too much Clark Griswold in me, setting standards that no family activity can possibly live up to.
Far too many children and families in this world have so little, and suffer so needlessly, I really have no right to complain about anything.
Worst Christmas ever? I’ll happily take that every year.