A few things happened since 12/25 that delayed the publishing of my Christmas blog post.  Parenting.  Relaxing.  Surprise snowfall.  Enjoying time with family.  Tearing open new toys and putting them together.  Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.  Aaaaaaaand…disgust, anger, and depression.  Yeah.

Chances are, when you casually admit to not feeling much in the way of “holiday spirit,” someone is going to chime in with the Jesus Is The Reason For The Season bit.  Or that Christmas isn’t about gifts, it’s about… Giving.  Family.  Love.  Memories.  And stuff.

I get it.

I have fantastic childhood Christmas memories.  My mom made Christmas magical for me.  Christmas was equal parts Baby Jesus and Santa Magic.  It was cookies and hot cocoa.  Christmas carols and crafts.  Sunday School and Centerville Elementary School “Santa Gift Shop” with the most spectacular Christmas shit you could buy for your family members.

(My mom still has that bookmark I got her…sometime after 1985.  She still USES it.)

But let’s break it down to bare bones, here.  Christmas is a time to be happy, and it is really, REALLY hard to be happy when your life is crumbling in front of your eyes.

When I decided to start this blog, I committed to being REAL.  What you’re reading is real.  My thoughts.  My words.  My struggle.  My highs and lows.  The food I cook, the crafty things I make.  If I rave about a product, it’s because I love it, not because I am being compensated to try it and publicize it.

Glitter & Bruises is authentic.  The good times…the glitter.  The bad times…the bruises.

And so I struggled with this Christmas blog post, because…well, I feel like a real jerk for admitting how terribly sad/angry/resentful/depressed/guilty/hateful/brokenhearted/helpless I am right now.  There’s a voice inside my head that says, “There is a lesson to be learned here” and I’m just like, “Yeah–sorry.  I’m in too deep right now to see it.”

But before you brush me off as just another Greek American Princess with first world problems, I want you to know that Glitter & Bruises is a “memoir in the making” and there are layers of “issues” that are contributing to my state of mind these days.  Some day, when I have more years to reflect back on, I will write about some of these things (and people) who are causing stress in my life…trust me, the issue isn’t just a black and white “we’re poor, we have no jobs” issue.

So–in case you didn’t read about it, I got some amazing deals when I went Black Friday shopping.  It was those BOGO Free deals, those clearance deals, those “free gift cards/Kohl’s cash when you spend X” promotions that allowed me to stretch the Christmas dollars as far as possible and put some really fantastic gifts under the tree.  When I made a purchase at Toys R Us (for my mom), I got a free gift card to use on a future purchase, which I stacked with a TRU coupon and an in-store promotion on Playmobil.  BAM–like I would ever pay full price for anything?

Because paying full price is a financially responsible move.  Mmmhmm.  Tell ’em, Bey.

So long story short, Christmas was done on a budget, with a couple l’il surprises for me and Ron.  Yiayia and Papou came over on Christmas morning and we spent the rest of the day relaxing until it was time for Christmas dinner at their house, along with Nouna, Nouno, and the Girl Cousins.

So there it is…our Christmas 2013.  The year we didn’t have jobs.  Or stability.  Or hope.  Or happiness.  But…somehow we made it through.  We tend to romanticize our past…to remember things better than they were…  I hope that is the case for Christmas 2013.  I hope I can look back one day and remember this as a happy time.  More importantly, I hope Gabriel remembers this Christmas as a magical, happy time.

One thing I will never forget, for sure…  is Lydia’s reaction to opening up the telescope we got her.  And what I captured on video.  You’ve got to see this, but I want you to know one thing–I started filming this after she had ran at least dozen laps around Yiayia’s first floor.  Her hootin’ and hollerin’ had been going on for several minutes before I turned on the video camera.  And then this happened:

[su_youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMUqLteMpxs”]

That makes me happy.