As I write this it’s nearly 4pm on November the 12th. Many moons ago, my tree would already be out of storage, cats would be trying desperately to crawl into the plethora of plastic bags we used for storing our various Christmas items, and I would be giddy at the thought of decorating and putting up my Christmas Village.
I can’t say I have lost the Christmas luster. I just can’t find it until well into December. Christmas became stressful and panicked for a number of reasons. Dinners with the inlaws where I wasn’t welcome. Getting to Toronto and back for my parent’s Christmas celebrations and then watching as my mother, who loved Christmas as much as I did, forget over and over again took away some of the shine.
I can close my eyes and remember different celebrations while growing up. From years when the house was full to bursting with neighbours, family, friends, and animals. The laughter, chatter, and noises of cousins running around playing, adults trying to navigate around with plates of food, glasses of wine, and speaking at a volume known as “family gathering, children are loud, I might lose my hearing after tonight” To years when it was quieter with only my family in attendance.
One year that sticks out in my memory is the year my mother had taken a tumble over our porch and broke her funny bone (spoiler alert, she said it wasn’t funny). There was much helping of basic things those several weeks she had a cast on. That year, at Christmas, I was the designated rewriter of the Christmas generic letter that told everyone what had happened during the year. That same Christmas, the same mother tried to take a giant platter of turkey out of our fridge one handed. Getting it out was okay, putting it back was another story, and as I came down the stairs to help, she said….well, never mind what she said…..but disaster was averted and I saved the day.
The differences in my own children regarding Christmas are interesting to view. My oldest has a tree up in her room, and has been begging us to take the larger one out of storage and start putting it up. I have a video of a very young her staring at my mother’s ceramic Christmas tree in absolute wonder. The little bird decorations lit up by a light bulb captured her attention for days. So much so that she has commissioned someone to make a tree just like that one.
My youngest isn’t as big of a Christmas fan as her sister. She is very different in that her happiness for the season comes with St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas Day is December the 6th each year. This is a tradition that my spouse’s Omi passed down to her grandchildren. St. Nicholas helped children in the fourth century. He handed out little trinkets and fruits to those in need. In our house it meant we finally could open the box that Omi sent us. In it would be loads of homemade cookies, tea towels, each person got a lovely card along with a small toy or game, and to that we’d add another small toy or game, socks, an advent calendar each, and a movie to watch as a family. Omi has been gone several years now and I know my children miss the opening of the Omi box.
Christmas means so many things to so many different people. There are so many traditions and celebrations for each and every person that it’s impossible to touch on every single one. However you celebrate, with family, with your pets, with someone who just needs a friend, or by yourself, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.