The Grinch

As a child Christmas was magic.  Just plain magic.  There was nothing I wanted more: presents, singing, cookies, parties.  I could see no downside.  People who hated Christmas baffled me.  I labeled them as sickos.  There was no other explanation.  I imagined them friendless, wearing socks with sandals, kicking puppies and eating nothing but brussell sprouts because the only thing they really loved was misery.

That was before I actually had to pay for Christmas.  Like, out of my own checking account.

The Last Year of Christmas Naivety:  Freshman in College

The Last Year of Christmas Naivety: Freshman Year in College.  Left: Me  Right: Roommate Kristen.  Wow that’s a crap scan.

I know I know. I complain every year. I specifically waited to post this with good reason. Plus I swing pretty wildly between Buddy the Elf and a full out Grinch on any given day. One minute I am obnoxiously full of Christmas Spirit, covering the house with red and green, plotting out my gifting strategies, having a blast shopping and practically bubbling over. The next I am in the checkout line with a few too many things, cranky, frustrated that I have a budget to follow (life would be so much easier if we could just do whatever we wanted, right?) and freaking out about what the heck to buy my co-workers. I have certainly struggled to see perspective, to feel the magic of a grown-up Christmas while staring down bills and days without paychecks.

It seems that Christmas shows us the best and worst versions of ourselves. It calls forth the bleeding heart, the gratitude, the desire to give and the joy in selflessness. Then comes the grinch, the disappointment, the stress, the resentment and seeing the lack in our lives rather than the blessed.

What an opportunity. How often do we face the best and worst versions of ourselves, to feel the stark differences between the two and decide what to do with them?

I have determined that my issue is not with Christmas. Christmas has never done me wrong.  It is with money.  That’s not terribly surprising.  We have been a bit more strict and bossy with our money the last few years (Dang you Dave Ramsey!).  It’s been checking in most of the time but just when I think we’ve built a solid relationship on trust, it stays out past curfew without returning my text messages.  We’ve taken away it’s cell phone.

Dear Santa,
I’m sorry for taking out my money issues on you. I promise to not be such a butthead next year. Maybe if I sit upside down long enough, drink more egg nog, and watch Elf every day my brain will soften into a less cranky version of myself.  In fact I’ll get right on that.

Sincerely, Maria

P.S. If you could explain to my 2 year old why you said you were coming over and then left without saying hello that would really help me out. She is a bit confused about the whole thing.  You may need to bring more presents and stay for dinner this time.

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