This was a question I asked my three children-Morgan, Tamara, and Tesse, to ponder when I dropped them off at the movies about twelve years ago…
Christmas is the time more than ever when families express their commitment and love to one another, but in our culture, we have had to adapt to the fact that many families end up being divided by divorce or geography–mostly divorce. So spending Christmas together with family can become dicey. Whose family?
My youngest was 5, and Morgan, the genius behind building this website, was only 14 when I became a single parent. (Don’t say Mr. Mom. a friend corrected me when I settled for being called that by telling me that the most masculine thing a man can do is mother his children: thanks, Vickie!) I had sole custody, and always loved Christmas, and spoiling my kids on that day.
But the Christmas of about twelve years ago would be different. My children’s mother had a new boy-friend, and wanted my kids as props to show off at his family Christmas gathering in Northern California. I consented (agreed too strong a word) and so Christmas day I was without my reasons to live.
My girlfriend, Terri, could not console me, but suggested something brilliant: why not celebrate Christmas on January 6, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany? (Is that what it’s properly called?)
So on January 6 following my worst Christmas ever I dropped off my kids at the theater, and in the next two hours wrestled Christmas back from the Grinch.
Behind a Von’s along with my fellow elf Terri I loaded up dozens and dozens of boxes of various sizes, and took them back home, where I assembled them on the oak floor of the living room into a hollow mountain about eight feet high. Quick cans of spray paint to make it all white. Then spread a clear sheet of plastic on it, and sprayed it all with artificial snow and a few pine twigs Next, arranged completely forgettable (cheap and cheesey) presents on each cliff.
Back to the theater to pick up the kids. Gottem to the house, and lined then up like a chain gang and covered them with a blanket so they could only see the floor and we moved into the living room like a caterpillar. The blanket came down, and before them, Mt Everest, or maybe the Matterhorn. Sir Edmund Hillary and Walt Disney.
Kids opened the presents, tried to act delighted because I put so much effort into it, but nothing really put the Christmas spirit in the room.
Until the landslide.
In the hollow of the mountain, were three mountain bikes.
It became the Christmas my kids always talk about, and the one that will probably get duplicated someday with my grandkids. The best Christmas ever.
It seems nobody has any money this year, and abundance has to be shared in other ways. I hope that this Christmas, you found comfort and joy. Please feel invited to tell us about your Christmas in the comment box below.
The movie I took them to see was “Seven Years in Tibet”