THERE IS SUCH AN INNER JOY AND EXCITEMENT ABOUT CHRISTMAS.
I know that we start seeing decorations in July and that irritates all of us.
We spend months and months passing isles and isles of ornaments and trees before we get through the 4th of July parade. But, as we feel fall in the air we slowly start to feel that irritation turn to anticipation. Personally, I refuse to look at anything Christmas until after Halloween, so I avoid all Christmas isles, if possible. Then, all of a sudden, October comes and there is a flood of memories of holidays gone by and the opportunity to create new ones is just around the corner.
I guess I think of my childhood more than I ever have because I am getting older. Reaching back to years gone by brings a sense of peace and security, even if the reality was not always perfect. Somehow, the negative starts to fade and you see how it all came together to enrich our lives. The good, the bad and the ugly, all meshed together to create this life we have lived. I find it interesting to hear other people’s stories of Christmas. Since Christmas is such a special time to most of us, we seem to have more memories about that holiday than any other. I think that is part of the master plan. The best stands out the most in the end.
We didn’t have much for Christmas, but it was so much more than we had any other time of the year. We were elated at the thought of Santa and presents under our sickly little tree covered in popcorn streamers. Our gifts were not wrapped. We generally had one or two toys, which, I might add, were not what we wished for in the Sears catalog. But, we were happy for what we got. Beyond that, there were underwear and socks and other much needed necessities stacked by our toys.
I always wanted a stocking, but we never had one. I thought it was because we didn’t have a fireplace. That sounded logical to me. But, it never sounded quite logical that Santa could get into our house without a chimney. I remember that my younger brother and sister and I were always trying to figure that out. We decided that he must have used a window. We knew he was out there because we could see lights from his slay and hear bells ringing. All it took was for one of us to hear any sound at all to make us believe with all our hearts that we must get to sleep quickly, because Santa was almost there. The most special thing we got for Christmas was an apple, an orange, a tangerine, a peppermint stick and a handful of nuts. I know that sounds like what all of you have in your homes daily, but for us, it was once a year. We could make that peppermint stick last for weeks. Not so much for the fruit. We found it hard to ration, as our desire to eat it was just too great.
The most special thing we got for Christmas was an apple, an orange, a tangerine, a peppermint stick and a handful of nuts. I know that sounds like what all of you have in your homes daily, but for us, it was once a year. We could make that peppermint stick last for weeks. Not so much for the fruit. We found it hard to ration, as our desire to eat it was just too great.
When I had children of my own, I felt it vitally important for them to have stockings. Everyone was suppose to have one. It was like a Christmas law. At that time, I felt very deprived for not having had one of my own. So, I made sure we had five stockings hanging on our mantel like the rest of the world every year. After a short period of time I discovered that it can cost more to fill a stocking than to buy the gifts under the tree. An apple, orange and tangerine were not acceptable as we had them all of the time. And, who really wanted a peppermint stick when chocolate was available?
When my first daughter got married I added another stocking. Then two grandchildren came along and I added two more. When the second daughter got married I decided to make a new rule. The married couples would share a stocking. The mantel was full and my purse was empty. It sounded perfectly logical to me. But, to my daughters, not so much. I am not sure they are over the trauma yet. Eventually, there were three daughters, three spouses and seven grand children. After Les and I got married, I diluted the stockings to the ones we had when there were six or seven of us. Since 9 more stockings would require remodeling the house and taking out a loan, they now hang beautifully on the mantle, but Santa and I have agreed that we should give up on filling them at all. Sometimes things just have to change no matter how much we hate it.
This year will bring many changes, but we are challenged to create a new kind of holiday cheer by remembering the years gone by. Les brought much joy to our lives and he will be here in spirit to celebrate, once again, our most favorite holiday.
Take time this holiday season to appreciate those you love, as they may not be here next year. Life is a constant roller coaster of change. Make sure to cherish all you have and those you share life with during this blessed season of our Lord’s birth. Remember, memories last forever in the stories we share with others.
Happy holidays and happy memories to you all. See you next year.