We survived — both Christmas and Doomsday (though for some of you these might have felt like one in the same. I actually spent The End of the World in line at Old Navy … there was a sale. Good thing the world’s still spinning because I look good in my $12.99 sweater).
Not to be all Grinch-y, but the most wonderful thing about Christmas is when it’s over, because all that joy and good cheer can be plain exhausting, never mind the financial toll or the extra tonnage many of us would-be Santas pack on thanks to all those Christmas feasts.
But that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.
And yet, for all the stress and build up, I’ve gotta say that this was one of the best family Christmases in recent memory. So in honor of the most-wonderful-time-of-the-year hubbub, allow me one final fa-la-la-la-la as I relive the best moments from a Buckner Christmas … sans snarkiness (mostly).
Say what you will about the tragedy of kids from broken homes, but the grandkids of said homes make out like bandits. Sarah and Jellybean benefited from their parents’ parents inability to get along in decades past by unwrapping a treasure trove of thoughtful gifts.
We Buckners celebrated Christmas no less than five times — not counting Santa’s visit — and amid the cash, dress shirts, gift and gas cards there were some really fine and unexpected presents.
Jellybean got the tallest doll Hasbro’s ever conceived. “Olivia” stands roughly 3 feet tall and has been constantly by Jellybean’s side ever since she was first unwrapped. Santa also brought her an American Girl doll, along with matching clothes and pajamas, that she promptly named Marlena Adele Buffy Sumers. There was also the educational toy — a LeapPad 2 that promises hours of reading and creativity, with an added bonus of keeping Jellybean from watching episodes of “Family Guy” on My Lovely Wife’s Nook.
The Diva, having just turned 16 and utterly impossible to buy for, received mostly cash but was surprised by a new TV for her room. Her old set dated back to “The Cosby Show” era.
My Lovely Wife received scarves and jewelry, non-vanilla scented candles and a box set of The Carol Burnett Show. Yours truly, among other things, got a dope coffee maker, some cool T-shirts and a Kindle, which I openly and often called an “abomination,” but it turns out that even an abomination can be awfully handy, particularly when being recruited to play school with Jellybean, Olivia and Marlena Adele Buffy Sumers over this incredibly long holiday.
But what made this Christmas stand out was that it was relatively easy and joyful. There was no drama, no tears, no tantrums and everyone got along. What often makes Christmas stressful, even depressing, is that the build-up rarely ever matches the reality.
We all strive for this impossibly perfect celebration of family, but we often forget that the true joy of family comes from spending time together. The presents and the food is just an excuse, a reminder that given the right circumstances we can actually all get along and enjoy the simple things.
Being together … that’s the greatest gift of all. And it’s the present we’ll all remember long after the gift cards are spent, the dolls (and sweaters) have been outgrown and the candles extinguished.
Those are the memories that will last a lifetime, and I for one, am thankful to have been there.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.