“Sam, I’m gonna ask Santa for a dollhouse this year,” my stepdaughter Chloe
told me as she ran in circles outside of the restaurant.
I looked up
at David, her daddy and my new husband, and smiled. He winked back at me and I felt
that little butterfly in my stomach, the one that flaps wildly when I realize
that we get to create Christmas magic every year.
As a child,
my Christmases were incredible and full of joy, but as a young adult, the magic
wore off a bit. I will never forget bursting into tears while decorating the
Christmas tree one year because everything
was changing. I was now an adult, and
Christmas, while still such a splendid time, was different. My mom came into
the room, sat down with me and told me that she hated the Christmases when she
was older. But when she had all of us, all of that magic came rushing back
with more twinkle lights, more gingerbread and more joy.
When your significant other shares custody of their children, holidays are very different.
course, completely agree with her. There is nothing like staying up late on Christmas Eve to wrap toys in the living room, freezing every time the paper
crinkles too loudly. I love filling the kids’ stockings, arranging and
rearranging presents under the tree. When Christmas morning came last year, David and I
actually had to go and wake up Chloe and her younger brother, Trey, just to get
the day started.
And then at
3:00? They were gone, back to their mom’s house to celebrate Christmas with
significant other shares custody of his children, holidays are very
different. They are magical and full of awe, naturally, but they sometimes feel
rushed and jumbled together. The entire time we were opening presents, we had
one eye on the clock, wishing time would slow down so we could enjoy the day
just a little bit more.
And then, when it comes time to go, the look on the
kids’ faces when we tell them to leave their brand-new,
just-dropped-off-by-Santa gifts here so they can go get more? Oh, it’s
what we have to do. Christmas is a big holiday, a wonderful occasion, and being
fair is something we all want for each other. The kids need to see each
parent, each family, on Christmas, even if it means cramming things into the week
leading up to the day and even after the 25th.
David and I will pick up the kids at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day and keep them until
they go back to school. Having them Christmas morning and the week leading up
to it last year was wonderful and we
cherished the time, but I have to say, I’m looking forward to the switch this
Ever since I was about 4 years old, I’ve felt an immense wave of
depression and sadness on Christmas Day, right around 5 o'clock in the evening. When
all the presents are unwrapped and all the dinner has been eaten, it’s kind of
a letdown. I had anticipated it for so long (and still do), and now it’s all over in just a few hours?
But this year? This year everyone in our family will have to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas (My family has always celebrated until
January 6, while David’s family is known for taking their Christmas tree
down on the 26th).
We will still watch Christmas movies, we’ll
continue munching on gingerbread, and we will try to put in a call to Santa on
the 23rd. Maybe he’ll be willing to make an extra trip to our house
Christmas night, so that we can have that magical, glorious Christmas morning
on the 26th.