December is here! I realize I’m ten days late with this life-altering revelation, but I’ve been a little preoccupied with my “fake-it ’til you make-it” approach to Christmas spirit. Just as my enthusiasm for life waxes and wanes several times each day, my Holiday gusto is pretty hit-and-miss. The tree is up. That’s a step in the right direction, no? My three miniature lobbyists were vying for the tree to go up as soon as they saw the first hint of Christmas at Walmart, which was about three seconds into October. What in the actual F bomb, Walmart?

Getting through October was easy enough, given how much they love the beautiful shitshow our Halloweens have become. November was a different story. Our littlest little started asking every single morning if Santa came. I thought it might be a good idea to sit them down to talk about Thanksgiving. I have my own issues with celebrating a holiday based on historical inaccuracies, but I can get down with the togetherness and food, so there’s that. My girls and I talked about family, food, and how much we have to be thankful for. I told them we’d put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, and I had a feeling they were really getting it. In a true Norman Rockwell moment, we went around our little kitchen table, taking turns talking about what we are all thankful for. I was patting myself on the back for how thoughtful I was raising my angels to be when #3 says, “I’m thankful for Santa and presents.” Well, fantastic. That’s just great coming from the only child in this house who has never sat on Santa’s lap, but instead yells her gift list from a safe distance. So, just to clarify, she’s thankful for Santa and presents, but she called the shelf elf an “asshole tattler” last week. Even though I don’t disagree with her assessment, we did a round of “we don’t talk like that”, which is code for “only mommy can talk like that”.

Thanksgiving came and went without much fanfare. We spent some time with family, filled our bellies, and came home feeling fulfilled and happy. That lasted all of five minutes. I was mid-pour on my long-awaited first glass of “I’m really going to save this one for a special occasion this time” bottle of wine when I heard a thud-thud-thud-CRASH-“MOMMMMM”. There was a point in my life, not so long ago, when these sounds would have warranted a heart-stopping, wine-dropping, adrenaline-pumping reaction from me. Time and chaos have a way of slowly wearing away at your nerves until one day, you hear a deafening crash in the next room, and you take a large gulp of wine and a deep breath before wandering in to investigate. There, at the bottom of our stairway, was a scene I won’t soon forget. My six-foot Christmas tote was laying on its side, contents splayed out across the living room floor. Tree branches, wreaths, ornaments and lights were everywhere. I felt my blood pressure rising as I took inventory of what might be damaged. Three very-guilty looking children watched me nervously, waiting for the inevitable. I used my very quiet, much-more-scary-than-yelling voice to tell them to clean it up. I told them I wasn’t ready to decorate yet, and the master negotiators somehow convinced me they could put the tree up all by themselves. I had one of those “let them try and fail to learn a lesson” thoughts, but they proved me wrong. I sat back, sipping the most delicious wine ever, watching them work together to put the entire tree up, reminiscing on my favorite Christmas memories, and finding my spirit.

Finding the spirit has turned out to be the easy part. Keeping it has been a chore. Do I want to make this season magical for my children? Of course. Do they deserve to relish in said magic and be shielded from the nightmare that our world can really be? Hell yes. Does that make moving an elf around the house every night like a lunatic any easier? Not much. If I’m going to sneak around my house after the kids’ bedtime, it better involve sex or chocolate. Preferably chocolate.