I’m a Christmas Toad

I’m having a hard time with this Holiday season. I’m pregnant, I’m unhappy, and I’m missing my family so much it hurts. I love my friends and I’m so glad I have them, but the fact that I haven’t seen my family since May is really wearing on me. Add to the fact that I will be the only one missing from Thanksgiving and Christmas and I’m kind of just wishing those two Holidays would just go away and come back next year.

I’ve tried to get excited about my nephew’s present, but I just get depressed that I won’t get to see him open it or anything else. I won’t be there to see him all excited on Christmas morning or to see him opening presents, which I’m sure he’s gotten a hang of since last year. Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year – decorating, baking, shopping – but Christmas morning was always my favorite. It’s just not the same with just the two of us.

This is how a typical Christmas morning goes for the Wanamakers. We are not early risers, so Christmas doesn’t start at 6am or anything silly like that. We are more likely to start at 9 or so. Sometimes we pick a “Santa” who passes out the presents. We often fought over this when we were younger. Never now though… we’re total adults. So anyway, once we battle that out, Santa passes out presents. One by one. One deliciously wrapped and custom bowed present by one. Yes, you read right. All our presents have bows. Ok, maybe not ALL… but at least 75%. It’s like a disease. And you can’t cut the ribbon. You have to carefully slide the ribbon and bow off the present before you open it. Again… one by one. So then the next person gets their present and so on. Last year I think we were opening presents for approximately 6 hours. It was glorious. I mean, we did have a one-year old opening presents too. And 10 people. So that slowed us down a little. And at least one present will be cleverly and deviously wrapped in duct tape. Last year it was my sister’s. It was a Sharpie. Long story. Which I might actually share at the end of this.

Sometime in the first few hours of present opening, the pinch cake is ready and we all eat our traditional Christmas breakfast. Last year I believe we had cinnamon rolls and pinch cake. Both homemade. Probably part of the reason I gained 8 pounds last December. Then, sometime in the late late afternoon, after we have opened all the lovely presents and taken a kazillion pictures, we clean up the paper and tissue and collect all the ribbon and put all our goodies in piles and then eat. What do we eat, you ask? Well, Turkey is for Thanksgiving so Ham is for Christmas. Delicious wonderful tasty ham. And scalloped potatoes, green beans, crescent rolls, and fruit salad. I’m pretty sure there’s a family covenant somewhere that requires us to have this meal on Christmas. And I’m ok with that.

So now you can understand that while I love my husband, Christmas just isn’t the same with just the two of us. I love the ritual of it, the laughter, the closeness, and the family. I love watching everyone else open their presents, especially my nephew last year. I will miss that desperately this year. I know it might sound overly-dramatic, but I feel like there’s a hole in my chest. Ok, no not really, I’m not Bella. But I do feel like something is missing. I’m sure it’s partly the pregnancy hormones and partly my unhappiness at work, but I just can’t get as excited about the holidays this year.

But to not leave you on a sour note, I will gift you with the exchange that initiated the Sharpie present. This happened on facebook. Names have been changed to protect identities. Ok, I just took the names out and changed it all to generic family terms. This exchange started because I explained to my younger sister that the things on her list were not exciting and to come up with something else.

From sister to me:

Dearest sister,
Would you like to suggest something for my christmas list? I have very few ideas. You can get me shoes. I have a lovely pair of heels I would like to own. And what happened to cheese in a can? And what is your definition of an exciting christmas present?
Love, Your sister.
ps – if i sit on you with booty pop underwear, does the phrase become “sister! your booty is crushing me!” ?

It would be “Sister! Your booty-pop is crushing me!

Any movies you would like? Jewelry? Tupperware? Socks? Hairbrush? Toothpaste?

Bras? Toilet paper? Bug spray? Camo underwear?

How ’bout a matching camo bra and undies set? I don’t think they make camo booty pop underwear though…

Don’t you have booty pop underwear so everyone can see your booty? If it’s camo’ed, you won’t be able to see it.

Food? Rent? School Books? Tuition?

Ah, yes. No camo booty-pop. Ok, back to more suggestions. Ziploc bags? Oatmeal? Pencils? Band-aids?

Boring, boring, boring! Where are the fun suggestions?

Water slide? Nerf gun? Ping pong balls? Light bulbs? (those more fun, mom?)

Guns? Knives? Swords? Brass Knuckles? Spears?

Parachutes? Bungee-Jumping? Shark Diving? Spider Collecting? Canoeing jungle rivers

Frozen waffles? Glitter? Storage containers? Air Fresheners?

I love how all the suggestions are about the person making them. How about books, music, I like the jewelry suggestion, something for your room, something for your kitchen, a sorority item? (find what you want and the color and ordering can be accomplished!) Something about your school?

Peanut butter? Watering can? Churches? Very small rocks? A duck?

So our suggestions to Sister are our secret desires for christmas presents? I want band-aids and Sister-in-law wants light bulbs? Stay away from Brother then…

Good advice. Especially if I have all those things and Christmas music is playing. 200 Vinyl Decals of a sea turtle? Coffee-holics Anonymous sponsorship? Cattle prod? Half-used Sharpie? A chunk of asphalt?

from your lovely suggestions, these are the things i want: a half-used sharpie, a duck, frozen waffles, none of dad’s suggestions, nerf gun, oatmeal, and a matching camo bra and undies set!

and please dont get me a coffee-holics anonymous sponsorship. im not ready to reform yet.

‎*none of dads second set of suggestions. all the the first set of suggestions.


So for Christmas, sister got most of the things off her list. A sharpie (lovingly wrapped in the tiniest shards of duct tape that could be found), a duck keychain, a nerf gun, and two boxes of oatmeal. I’m pretty sure she got other stuff too, but these were the best.

I will also miss watching other family members attempt to open duct taped presents.


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