The True Meaning of Christmas, O'Shea style
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...the best marriage a lady could ask for. Seriously, I hit the mother of all marriage jackpots with my husband, and I really, truly thank God every day for him. He is amazing. And today, we put our two amazing heads together and made our second big, responsible decision together as husband and wife: to get back to the true meaning of Christmas by forgoing presents in exchange for giving each other and our loved ones something that there is never enough of in the world: time.
Instead of scrambling around with the week before Christmas' paycheck, buying each other (and everyone else) things off of our Amazon lists, we are going to take that money and pay off all of the bills that have been piling up (and continue to do so) since we got married and enjoy the warm, cozy feeling of financial stability this holiday season. We are going to spend Christmas in our apartment with our big, beautifully decorated Christmas tree making a huge dinner together in our pajamas, watching Christmas movies, reveling in the fact that we are going to leave this holiday season with less debt, stress and guilt than we started it with.
This is not to say that we are living some sort of Dicken's story for Christmas, however, there may be room under the tree, but there is absolutely no room left on our social calendar. Friday is Matty's first marathon fundraiser at the Lansdowne Pub and we both have the day off together to get ready for the party, sleep in and enjoy each other. On Saturday we are going to see my friend Kristyn sing in a Christmas concert and then we are coming home to get dressed up for our dinner reservations at Stoddard's and our traditional date to see Nutcracker at the Opera House. On Sunday we're having our YAC group over for dinner and a viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, which is a lot but I have Monday off to, so I get an extra day to rest up and get baked goods made for everyone. The rest of the weeks leading up to Christmas are filled dinners and drinks and Christmas concerts and sleep overs and all sorts of fun and festive things with each other and our loved ones. Hell, we are getting way more than 12 days of Christmas, we have at least 20 planned! We are celebrating Christmas in a major way, we are just doing it in the form of time - spending time with friends and family and each other, spending time cooking up a dinner or eating a meal together, and taking the time to enjoy this wonderful life that we have committed to in our marriage.
And then, when it is all over and the calendar turns to '11, we are going to be living that budget that we made, that shows all of this money going into our savings account and our pockets and we are going to see those credit card balances going down instead of up, and you know what I am going to do? I am going to open that Amazon list of Matty's, and I am going to buy him everything on that list, and I bet it will even be on post-Christmas sale, and I won't feel a lick of guilt or worry about it when I press that "confirm order" button. Then, I am going to get on a plane and go see my Mommy and spend some time with her, because that is the best present I think anyone can give.
I remember being little and each year my parents telling me that "this year is going to be a small Christmas" and not to get my hopes up, and then every year there would be the same ridiculous amount of presents for me and I would spend the early morning opening them up, because as soon as I was done my parents had to go to work, usually only one but sometimes both, and I would sit among all those gifts and just pray and wish for one Christmas where they would both be home, where we could make dinner together instead of going to my dad's restaurant to see him for five minutes while he worked; I even wished that someone would take me to church - anything that would make it feel like how I thought Christmas should feel. It was as though the presents (and the maxed out credit cards that paid for them) were just a band-aid to the real issue, which was the total lack of time that my family and I ever spent together. The presents were nice, sure, but knowing that my parents were stretching themselves even thinner than normal was so guilt-inducing that I honestly would have traded at least one or two Barbies a year for a Christmas day at home with my parents. This year, I am trading all those Barbies back in and spending my Christmas with the best gift of all: my loving, wonderful husband.
I am already feeling so proud and refreshed that I married a man who knows that there is nothing, nothing more important or valuable in this world than spending quality time with the people that you love. And check out that tree, does that man know how to decorate a tree, or what?
Merry Christmas to all!