One of my closest and best friends stopped over this morning. We were talking about Christmas and how it is hard for people. For some it is the Christmas of today can’t measure up to the Christmas of yesterday, or when they were children.
I totally understand that sentiment. But where I think people go off the rails is dwelling on how good certain Christmases were compared to others. It is not a competition.
Don’t do that to yourselves.
Use the memories of really awesome Christmases to INSPIRE you to Christmas present. What do you believe? If you believe in the magic of Christmas you will get there.
“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”
We have all lost people and naturally we get nostalgic. Some memories are just bittersweet. For me my moments often come while decorating the Christmas tree, which is probably why I like to do at least some of it myself.
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”
You see my late father loved Christmas. He had a whole science to decorating the tree. He’s been gone 11 years and I can still hear him in my head telling me where to place ornaments. And the moments that get me every year? When I open up the Christmas ornament bins and I see his strong cursive handwriting on a box slowly deteriorating with age.
Instantly I am one giant puddle for a couple of minutes. I have my moment or two and then I am better.
My other moments come when I first get out the bowls to start my Christmas baking. I remember the year I burnt the cookies.
It was then, a couple of days before Christmas, when my sister tragically became a young widow when my brother-in-law lost his battle with peritoneal mesothelioma. It was a swift, ugly battle discovered too late to save him. I still have that e-mail message from a few days before he died where he told me to save him some cookies.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Those are my moments, and they are bittersweet. But these were two people who both loved Christmas. So I have those sentimental slightly teary moments to myself and then I get back to making my Christmas as good as it can possibly be. And I love decorating for Christmas.
This year has been a bumpy ride. I got a flu shot December 2nd that pretty much laid me out for two weeks. And when we went to put up the tree we discovered that mice had chewed through the wires that make the L.E.D. lights light up where the tree was stored in the basement. It was a super bummer to take the tree out of it’s box to realize we had a tall and useless piece of green plastic. Actually, I was pretty irritated and I stomped my feet a bit.
No, we do not use live trees any longer. They dry out too quickly and I would rather see my live fir trees outside. So our unexpected Christmas expense was another tree. But once I started to get my ornaments on the new tree, my Christmas spirit equilibrium was restored.
Christmas is about giving and receiving. And good will to men. The good will to men part has been difficult in this country in 2016 no doubt. But can’t we put it aside and celebrate the season just a little?
“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”
What are your traditions? My neighborhood has a wonderful tradition: we all exchange little family gifts. Different each year. Ornaments, cookies, savory treats, tins of cocoa.
As my one neighbor said recently:
More like when I was growing up, we decorated our tree closer to Christmas tonight…. (It was ALWAYS on Christmas Eve.)…. As I am no longer a child, I am blessed to live near wonderful neighbors and we exchange a little something with each other every year and it is lots of fun! ….This season means so much to so many and for everyone I hope it means a little more kindness and love as you live your lives looking toward December 25th!
My neighbor is my inspiration today. So I hope she doesn’t mind I borrowed her thoughts. But it is so true that the simple things that make us happiest I think when it comes to Christmas.
Every Christmas will have common threads and every Christmas will be different.
Enjoy the spirit of the season. In a few days I get to see a friend I have not seen in years. She had moved away and we lost touch. To me this will be one of my best Christmas presents. I will also have our family with us. That is what it is all about. The people who give your life meaning. Whether they are still here with us physically or not.