The Year Without a Santa Claus?

It’s December 23 and it might as well be March 23 because it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me.

This year, there’s no Tarr family holiday card (couldn’t find a decent picture).  No big Christmas tree (just a sad, 2-foot high Charlie Brown one).  No Elf On The Shelf (jealous?).  No decorations, lights or music.  No traditions.  Yes, I am officially the Grinch of Chester County.  And truth be told, I’m kind of okay with it.

Maybe it’s because it’s 40-degrees outside — far from White Christmas weather.

Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on planning our Christmas vacation — we’re trading fir trees for palm trees for nine glorious days.

Or maybe it’s because my middle schooler no longer believes in Santa Claus.

I think he figured it out back in the Spring when I killed off the St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.  I stopped short of ending the Santa myth, too, because it seemed like too much at the time.  Plus, I think he didn’t want to know because he didn’t ask.  So I followed his lead and I didn’t tell.  But that was before he started middle school.  He’s almost a teenager now.  He’s growing up and now he knows the truth.

My third-grader, on the other hand, does still believe.  As he should.  He is only 8, after all.

The cool part is that my middle schooler feels like he’s in on an adult secret and wants to help make Christmas magical for his younger brother.  He wants him to keep believing … Maybe as a way to keep the fantasy alive for himself, and to hang on to his childhood a little bit longer.

So despite the fact that we won’t be home for the holidays, I let the boys decorate the family room.  A little, Charlie Brown tree by the fireplace, our knit stockings and quite possibly the ugliest gingerbread house ever made on the mantle, Santa’s boots on the floor and a snowman-shaped bowl of candy canes on an end table.  Minimalism at it’s best, but enough to make my little guy happy.

Ugly fun at it's best.

Ugly fun at it’s best.

Our scrappy little tree, complete with some of our favorite ornaments and a giant star

Our scrappy little tree, complete with some of our favorite ornaments and a giant star.

As for the Elf On The Shelf, I just couldn’t do it.  The stress of remembering to move him nightly and the pressure to be as creative as all those “fun” Facebook and Pintrest moms was too much for me.  He had to go.  Our Elf, Zachary, now watches from the North Pole with his high-powered, magic binoculars. I’m either the smartest mom on the planet or the meanest … Jury’s still out.

It may not look like Christmas at the Tarr house this year, but don’t be fooled. Christmas is alive and well, just scaled down …. Way down.

[NOTE: I will be taking a two-week hiatus from posting so I can enjoy the California sun with my family.  Hopefully we’ll all survive … Remember my Spring Break experience?  Happy Holidays and I’ll be back in 2015!]


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