I love Christmas. No, I mean I *LOVE* Christmas! I'm one of those crazy people who listens to Christmas music starting in November. I wear reindeer antlers to work every day in December. I shrieked with glee when M and I finished putting up Christmas lights on our house for the first time. I have to resist buying tons of new Christmas decorations every year. I am probably an elf that was accidentally raised by humans, truth be told.
Last Christmas I was a little less enthusiastic, unfortunately. I was coming up on a year of TTC, My Great Uncle passed away in early December, and the day of the funeral I got a call from my GYN's office telling me I had failed to ovulate *again*. All that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the month.
This year I got smart - take a break over the holidays so infertility doesn't drag poor Santa and baby Jesus into its black hole of sadness and bitterness. So far, its working out really well. I'm hardly even flinching at baby related things anymore. I was a little worried that Christmas was going to become harder and harder to take every year because so much of the traditions and rituals revolve around children. Instead, I am working to find ways to make the holidays special for M and I no matter what our situation.
In my last post, I talked about focusing on the opportunities I *do* have instead of the ones I am being denied. M and I both have stable, good paying jobs and we have been smart with our finances. That means there's plenty of room in the budget for Christmas spending. The only kids I'm related to to spoil are my nephews, but that doesn't mean there aren't other opportunities to give a child a merry Christmas. The church I attend in my new hometown participates in a program where members "adopt" a child whose parent(s) is/are in prison. They are living with a legal guardian of some kind and money is often tight in those situations. I opted to adopt two kids because, what the hey, I don't have kids of my own to spoil so I might as well spoil these kids who've got it pretty rough. One of my kids asked for arts and crafts so I had a lot of fun going through the craft store picking out a bunch of activities, crayons, coloring paper, etc.
I've also stepped up my charitable efforts in other ways. I try not to pass a Salvation Army bell ringer without donating at least a few coins, so this year I'm trying to put at least a dollar in the bucket every time I pass one. My sister is still adjusting to life with my new nephew, so she hasn't had time (or the energy, really) to get any Christmas baking done. My poor mother works insane hours at the hospital, so she also has little time to spend in the kitchen. So this past weekend I was in the kitchen almost all day, everyday getting a head start on all the cookies and candies we make special for the holidays. M and I hosted all the family for Sunday dinner and we sent each household home with stacks of tins full of treats. I was very happy to be able to do that. Especially the fruitcake I made for my sister - if you think you hate fruitcake, its probably because you've never tried this fruitcake.
So, what traditions and rituals do you have that make this (or any!) holiday special for you? We may not have Elf on the Shelf or school Holiday pageants to fill our time, but there are SO MANY ways we can still make and share merriment! Never forget that! I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers as usual and hoping the end of 2012 brings you nothing but good things. I know there are several people (myself included) who are thinking about the next leg in our journeys to build a family and I am particularly praying for insight and peace with whatever decisions we make.