Let me introduce myself.. I am Christmas. Now before you come to take me away I now I am not really xmas. I am carrying on a tradition passed down to me by my mom and her mom before that … my nana. My earliest memory is of my dad carrying me down the staircase and into a magical world that my nana created. We lived upstairs in Nanas house, and there under the tree was a mountain of gifts piled high. The stockings hung by the real brick fireplace were brimming full and the xmas lights were twinkling and, and.. I can still picture it in my minds eye. I am now just a memory of Christmas past…
When my turn came to be Christmas, trust me when I say I was ready. My mom approved and my nana would have been proud! I made sure Santa got the gifts to the right person ‘unwrapped’ under the tree, because that’s the way Santa brought them to us when we were little. Even when that ‘hungry, hungry hippo’ couldn’t be found anywhere, Santa found one in an obscure little town in Hague Saskatchewan.
The stockings were all hung, filled with lots of goodies and a perfect little something for that person to enjoy. No ‘dull’ stockings on my watch. Didn’t matter how much it cost (fortunately I always worked and made decent money) I took pleasure in finding just what they wanted, if it was too much money I always eased the pain ahead of time and found something to make up for it.
We had presents, we had stockings and we had food and friends and relatives over to share and laugh and to just relax and enjoy. Even in those bad times and some lean times I made sure that Christmas was special. I WAS CHRISTMAS after all and this time was sacred to me.This was always the one time of year we could share and laugh and anticipate and squeal with joy at the sight of that hard to find ‘cabbage patch kids’ that made their way to our house. (my Auntie Maureen helped with that miracle).
My daughter wanted a ‘hope chest’ one year, we got it to the lake without her noticing, threw a patchwork quilt over it beside the tree. I’m sure everyone sat on that chest (Uncle Jerry hand made it for her) for a few days before Xmas not even realizing what it really was. Christmas day after all the gifts were unwrapped imagine her delighted surprise when told to pull the quilt off .. AND YES it was a surprise!
Once.. I decided this was too much work and so we were going to spend a cozy christmas at the lake, just our own little family. As Christmas morning wore on it was so quiet I thought to myself “what have I done, I have killed Xmas!” I mourned it’s loss and thought “what kind of fool am I?” let me count the ways…
What I didn’t know and hadn’t realized is, that it’s not about the gifts and the stockings and the food … well maybe the food. Mostly it’s all about sharing with family and friends. I was so caught up and so tired of all the work Christmas entailed, I was wiped out before the day had even started. And so we had a Christmas by ourselves and what a forlorn one that was.. well for me anyway.
I didn’t repeat that mistake again and invited everyone the following year and as the kids got older I encouraged them to invite their friends Christmas day evening, for card games and drinks and leftovers. I was happiest with a full house. Did I cut back on gifts and everything else? No way, I WAS CHRISTMAS after all.
Fast forward to my very first Christmas all by myself. It had been gradually building up to that, what with the divorce and the kids having to divide time with spouses and their families. Each year getting a little less.. drawing names and what-ever, I hated that part. I have been suffering withdrawal pains with each passing one.
Christmas has been a time of many memories for me and I struggle with the holiday cheer sometimes, just wanting to cry every time I thought about it. So mostly I ignored the music and refused to put up a tree and decided to forget this whole business of Christmas, which I accomplished somewhat. I was spending it in Arizona, away from my family. My kids called and wished my merry xmas as I was on my way to aqua-fit (we still had it even if it is christmas day). I went to the clubhouse for christmas dinner and it was all good. We sang carols after and I didn’t care, until silent night came up.. geeze, that was a hard one to ignore.
When I got home I turned on my computer and seen the picture my daughter sent of her tree and the presents. She found a vanity dresser my grand-daughter has been wanting for a long, long time. On the phone my grand daughter was sooo excited and was so thrilled with it !
Then and only then did it hit me. I broke into a great big smile, a little light bulb turned on somewhere in my brain, ahhhhhh! Yes it is true that I am not Christmas anymore, but GUESS WHO IS .. and I am thrilled that I played a part in that.
Now.. AND ONLY NOW.. do I understand the true spirit of this amazing holiday. A rebirth of dreams and hopes and memories made. I wish Merry Christmas to all of you.. I wish you happiness and lots of friends and family and making your own precious memories.