Here goes the Christmas Rant: This year has been the most stressful and chaotic Christmas that I have experienced. Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, but not so much this year. Here's why:
- Major snowstorm in the midwest this year. Driving out of town to my in-laws was no fun. Fortunately, the roads were not as bad as expected, but there was a lot of snow that came down on the 23rd, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That means being stuck at my in-laws (See #2).
- Christmas at DH's parents included the following: 13 adults and 7 kids (ranging from 2 months to 9 years) in my in-law's 4 bedroom house. There was NO peace or quiet in the house until all the kids were in bed. I think I had a headache almost the entire time we were there. I didn't even have a place to nap or get some peace (See #3). 2 nights there was more than enough!
- Because DH and I were the only ones with no kids, we are always the ones stuck with sleeping on the couch, or on an uncomfortable air mattress in the living room or TV room. I am OK with, but it gets really old when this is the case year after year. It feels like we are chopped liver and belong on the bottom of the "entitled to a room" list. It does not help that there is always someone waking up to use the bathroom or a kid crying in the middle of the night. Of course being we sleep in the "public space", we hear them all. Kids always wake up early and want to play or watch a movie where we are sleeping. I was so tired and crabby on Christmas morning! We had seriously considered getting a hotel room, but due to the snowstorm, we decided to just stay put in the house.
- In reference to #3, I wonder when/if we actually have kids in the (hopefully) new future, if we will get a room at the house. The way things are set up right now, probably not since we travel one of the shortest distances, and only go over on Christmas eve. By then the rest of the family would have already taken a room. It will be a hotel room next year.
- There were some major tension between my 2 SILs and my MIL this year. We were supposed to wait till Christmas Day to open gifts as one of my BILs would not be home until Christmas Day. However one of my SILs had told her girls (ages 4 & 9) that they could open some on Christmas Eve. Her family was supposed to stay at a hotel on Christmas Eve and I think they were supposed to open some gifts then. But because of the snowstorm, she cancelled their room and stayed at the house. Because she had promised her girls they could open presents but now was forced to wait, her, my other SIL and MIL had sort of a fight. This SIL stormed out of the house to cool off in the snow not once, but twice. In the end, all the kids were allowed to open a few gifts, and waited till Christmas day to open the rest.
- How does one handle gift opening when there are so many kids? This year, one third of the living room was filled with gifts! And this was the year of mostly gift cards for the adults! The kids were allowed to open gifts first but it was total chaos! Handing out gifts was one thing. Kids were yelling "I want to open another". Parents were trying their best to help kids open presents, and trying to keep track of what was from who at the same time. Kids wanted to play with their toys as soon as they opened in. Some wanted other kids' toys! Of course all the "wonderful" and "green" plastic and cable ties made it really easy (not!) Parents and grandparents were trying to take as many pictures of kids opening presents while all this is going on! It was loud and chaotic! I always dread this part of opening presents.
- Late on Christmas eve, my 3 SILs put out presents from Santa for their kids. I could not believe how many presents there were! First there were stocking stuffers for each kid. They each got 7 or 8 presents from Santa! This did not even include the presents from their moms and dad, grandparents and great grandma yet. One SIL was trying to arrange the presents from Santa so each kid looked like they got the same amount of presents so it "would be fair". I grew up in a culture where Santa was not a big part of the Christmas tradition. Christmas was about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So we never had gifts from Santa. We only exchanged gifts between family members and some close friends. I am OK with having gifts from Santa, but I think this has gotten out of hand. I am planning to not make Santa a big deal with our future kids. I plan to emphasize that Christmas is about Jesus, though I have not quite figured out how to handle the story of Santa not being "real" yet. I was planning on telling that Santa is part of the Christmas gift giving tradition, but that he is not real. However, I don't know how well that will work with having so many other nieces and nephews that believe in Santa.
- In one of my past post, I mentioned my "wonderful" BIL who never stops asking why we don't have kids or has other similar annoying comments. Well he did not disappoint at Christmas either. I was playing with my 2-year-old niece when he mentioned another of one of the "when are you guys having kids" statements (I don't really remember what his exact line was as I try to ignore it and tend to blow it off but then can't remember what he said later). Then he says "Well you guys have more money then we do, that's for sure. Yeah, you guys are DINKS - Double Income No Kids". That really pissed me off! Then I corrected him said actually I am not working. "So you guys are SINKS - Single Income No Kids". He was pretty proud of himself when he said that. I think my lame comeback was "Whatever". It just pisses me off that he would say stuff like that and here we are getting ready to spend thousands of dollars in treatments! I told DH about it later, and he said that I should have come back with "Oh, and who's the one that just bought another house?" (my BIL and SIL just bought a house to fix up this year). Wish I thought of that earlier!
Sorry that my Christmas rant has run so long. I am sad that Christmas this year has turned out the way it did. Christmas had always been my favorite time of the year but this year has changed it. I think it is important to spend time with family but is it worth it when it makes you upset or unhappy? Maybe in the future, we will just have to be the selfish, anti-social ones and just spend it the way we want to. Even if it means being away from everyone?