There is no doubt that since I lost my mom, the Christmas holiday has changed drastically for me. Okay, I admit I should probably be further along with my recovery than I am, but remember I have no siblings, there is only me. I do confess, I’m not where I need to be, however, I’m definitely not where I used to be. This is the time of year when everyone’s heart grows, and warm wishes abound, and in trying to force the holiday spirit upon myself, I had to stop for a minute and remind me – it’s okay. I say that because none of this is about me or my family or how many gifts I can buy. The season is to honor Immanuel, for without whom, life as we know it would be something completely different, I’m sure. Regardless I sit back; I watch and listen to reports of who has finished decorating their tree, how many sets of lights have been used, and about the planning of the holiday meal. While every blink of my eye produces another image of a time gone by.
I think back, and recall a story of me as a child. That particular year I became overwhelmed with Christmas. I took my teddy – he had been my buddy for some time - I gathered him up, and went about my way leaving everything under the tree. I think this says something about a person’s make-up. Although, I know I’m not the only one that has experienced or witnessed this. I’m certain everyone reading this can recall their traditions over the years. As a child, my grandfather liked to provide a shoe box. That magical box held the hard Christmas candy, nuts and fruit. I would walk around with it for one week, slowly eating the contents; savoring everything and making it last so that I’d still have some to carry me through the football game that I watched with him on New Year’s Day. Then, as I aged, everyone always came to my house for dinner. My mother would put on the spread for uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins, grandparents, and for whatever reason, we never had a kiddy table – we all dined together.
But, as time goes on, and you get older, roles and people change – families develop new branches, and there is always someone else to move into the matriarch or patriarch position. For me, as much as I want to hand down traditions, I can’t seem to get out of the past recalling the days of my youth, as I am sure many of you do also. There is always something that pulls me back to a simpler time; watching that game with granddad or helping my grandma as she brought out the fruit cake that had been soaking in the tin since September. When she’d grab the axe in one hand, and me by the other as we would head into the woods to locate that special tree. I’m also thinking as I write, those customs sadly, did not make it this far; that is the fruit cake, the shoe box, and searching out a tree in the woods. Maybe it’s a good thing because they can then, be special to me alone. I also think, for the young people out there, those occasions would be more reminiscent of the dark ages, maybe, huh?
What Christmas means to me is all about family, but as I get older it’s all about the tsunami of memories, flooding my brain. I go back to the old neighborhood in Queens, when everyone on the block shared in the spirit of giving, while we all went from house to house wishing each other well. We all shared food, while exchanging those gifts and visited for a glass of eggnog or hot chocolate. Lastly, what is this holiday without The Temptations in the background singing Silent Night or Stevie Wonder doing One Little Christmas Tree. What’s this time devoid of the lights twinkling on the tree as you watch A Christmas Carol with more eggnog; this is what it really means to me. And if I had one wish this holiday season – other than wishing everyone and their families a very Merry Christmas – it would be to relive all those instances over and over, and over again. Tell me your favorite thing about this magical time of year.
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