SOMETHING profound happened on the way to school last week.
Not a Christmas miracle, but a moment of clarity that will take this tired and lazy Mum from Grinch to tinsel-toting yulephile (or at least a woman who vows to be a little jollier).
Before it, I was lacking Christmas Spirit.
The whole silly Santa charade was so exhausting I was tempted to let the reindeer out of the bag.
The hassle with Old Saint Nick has gone beyond switching up wrapping paper to avoid suspicion and posting wish lists to the North Pole.
My eldest thinks he’s gifting her tickets to Disney Land.
And when I tell her it’s unfair to ask Santa for such an expensive gift, when he has so many children to buy for, she asks instead for a fish tank.
A fish tank is the last thing I want in my home right now: we barely have space for a tree let alone a tank – plus I don’t trust her to keep a fish alive.
It would be so much easier to say: “Look sweetie, tell me what you want – something small, cheap and stocked at Kmart – and I’ll get it on the weekend.
Bah Humbug – the Christmas spirit had ghosted me.
And I was disappointed in myself: I’m usually the merry one – visiting specialty shops for decorations and psyching the fam up for an unforgettable day.
Hell, I even suggested we go to church last year. That didn’t happen…
I’ve never gone full festive throttle; I rejected Elf on the Shelf, which seemed like a royal waste of money ($59!) and also kind of creepy (they spy on your kids and report back to Santa…)
And you’ll never catch me baking reindeer cookies: ‘In a small heatproof bowl, combine golden syrup, sugar and spices…’ I don’t think so.
Although I have been known to make a round of rum balls, with a little more rum than required.
But each year I do my best: whipping out the advent calendar, piling up on carrots and cookies and spoiling my daughters with thoughtful gifts, including those tiny enough to fill two sparkly stockings.
And I love a Christmas tradition: every December we drive to crazy people’s homes in faraway neighbourhoods to gawk at fake snow, inflatable candy canes and insanely bright bulbs.
Breathing in the summer night air and being together as a family is a joy.
But this year it was just another event to pencil in, along with doctor appointments, vaccinations, end of school and a butterfly birthday party for my youngest.
It all seemed too much – that is until last week.
As I drove the kids to school, my eldest asked from the backseat – her wide-eyed little sister beside her – “What’s the story of Baby Jesus again, Mummy?”
Now, I don’t know if God exists – who am I to know – but I’ve always had a soft spot for Jesus and his story resonates regardless of religion or belief.
So I told her he was born on Christmas Day in a barn in Bethlehem surrounded by animals.
I told her how special he was, healing the sickest and poorest of people – and tears welled in my eyes.
It got me thinking: my children are so kind and loving and they deserve a Mum that does her best to make lasting memories.
So I’ll pull up my socks – or rather red and green stockings – and get me some Christmas Spirit.
I’ll shake that Grinch, bring on the tinsel and continue to keep the magic of Santa alive for as long as my daughters let me.
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