Ah, Christmas. Truly one of my most favourite times of year. Growing up, Christmas was always big in our family. Pepere loved Christmas. He really got the true spirit of what it is supposed to be about. I am so grateful that he passed this on to us. I know that it is because of him, and in turn my Mom, that Christmas is such a special time and that it means so much to me. I hope that I can pass this on to my son and someday to my grandchildren, so that the spirit of Christmas stays alive in our family.
I know that some people don’t like Christmas because of how commercial it has become. I agree that for some it has become more about what you need to buy, and what you have to do. I also think that Christmas – like most everything else – is about what you make it. Yes, it’s commercial, but in my home, it’s still about the same old thing: getting together with your family, eating and drinking lots, listening to some Christmas music, and exchanging a few gifts. The commercial part of it only gets to us and bothers us if we let it. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our home as we sit by the tree and enjoy a glass of eggnog.
I also know that Christmas can be a very tough time of year for some people. Those that have lost a loved one, those that have loved ones that they can’t be with. Those that don’t have the money for gifts that wish they could buy tons of things for their loved ones but can’t. I remember the Christmas of 1996. Our first Christmas without Pepere. That was the hardest Christmas ever. The thought of sitting around the tree celebrating when the focal point of Christmases past was no longer with us – seemed like a crazy thought to us all. I’m sure my mother would have taken a sleeping pill and slept through the whole thing. None of us were ready. So the whole family up and went to the Dominican Republic for a week that year. And two weeks the following year. Was it nice? Of course. Did we have fun? You bet. Was it Christmas? Well…..kinda, but not really. It was great, but when Christmas came around the following year, I think we all knew it was time to face reality, and to have Christmas continue on. I wasn’t married yet, but I had started seeing Joe, and I knew that I would want my children when I had them to experience Christmas as I had growing up – and not decorating a palm tree with lights. Not that palm trees and sandy beaches aren’t great for some, but it wasn’t Christmas to me. I knew that if I wanted my child(ren) to experience the wonderful type of Christmas I grew up with, it was up to me to give it, just as my parents and grandparents had given it to me.
So here we are, December 2012. Some of my shopping done (much of it online now – thank God). I have plans to do my baking this week, I’m doing a craft with a friend this weekend and having folks over for dinner and doing a family Christmas too. We’ve written and mailed Nicholas’ letter to Santa and the decorations are up. I’m excited. I’m excited to watch my little guy get excited about Christmas, and talk to him about the Advent wreath and light a candle with him each week. I love the lights, and the smells, and the feeling that comes with finding that perfect gift for someone that you love.
I hope you all have an amazing Christmas season. If for some reason you’re not loving it, or you’re hurting at this time of year, or missing someone, or bah-humbuging about something, I’m sorry. I hope that you will find joy in your own way. Be thankful for what you do have, for the people in your life, for the joy in Christmases from the past. I learned a very important lesson back in the Christmases of 1996, 1997 and 1998: we all have in mind what Christmas is supposed to be. Sometimes things happen in life that just don’t make it possible. In order to be happy, I think we have to try to work with what we have, and be willing to accept that things change, and we need to change with them. I know that I will never, ever have the Christmas that I had growing up again. But that’s okay, because I’m not supposed to. As a wife and a mommy, it’s now my job to make it the best it can be for my family. That may not be exactly what I had growing up, but aspects of it will be there, along with special touches of our own.
Love to all this Christmas season.