Just shy of one year ago my sweetie pointed out the “somewhat” cynical and negative tone of many of my posts. The category, “The Art of the Possible”, was created for things positive.
Well, here we are, almost a year later with only two posts in the category. Today, I decided, it’s time for another. It is the Christmas season after all.
Families have Christmas legacies. Mom began ours (or continued her family’s) with her great enthusiasm for all things Christmas. When we were kids it began in pretty much the normal way. She created such excitement about Santa Claus, decorating the house, and gift giving.
We did all of the decoration stuff including the careful selection of the “double balsam” fir, the best, Mom said. It sure smelled good.
Dad borrowed one of the big Graflex cameras from the office and took our pictures by the fireplace for the Christmas card.
Note, I said Mom emphasized gift giving not getting. We were fortunate and would get wonderful gifts (Oh, those Lionel train components!) but after the present opening was finished and my sister and I had settled down, we did the deliveries. Mom had been baking and there were lots of packages of grand treats to be delivered to friends, to the nuns who taught us, to the priests at the church, and to others needing joy on that day.
I can’t speak for my sister but I dreaded the process and loved it at the same time. We would drive around town spreading our little happiness packages and receiving great receptions wherever we went. Always with great trepidation, I would approach a door with gift in hand, knock, and shyly wait for the person to answer. In our small town, everyone knew everyone so I was greeted warmly all the time. The trepidation faded and the good feelings surged. On to the next stop.
At the homes of some friends the drop off turned into an extended visit and a chance to share the joy of my friends with their presents. After all stops were completed, the return home brought us back to all of the new toys and that sweater from Aunt Datie, a welcome gift, but not easily played with.
This year, my children, now in their thirties will be with their gals’ families leaving our family get together for January or Danuary as we call it. My youngest son Dan was born in January and his birthday celebrations always seem to last the whole month. I believe that it has something to do with Eileen, their mom, having them in social situations almost since birth. I am convinced that this blessing she gave them was the foundation on which the boys amassed such a large collection of friends.
So, for the first time in my life I am not going to be home this Christmas. My sweetie and I will be going to one of the last grand old victorian hotels in New Hampshire. Currier and Ives set the standard and we hope to live it.
While my Lionel trains were great and buying toys for my own kids and wrapping until the wee hours on Christmas eve is something I will always cherish, the real Christmas for me is the wonderful, happy connection with family, friends, and others around me.
Mom’s last year was filled with the pain of terminal ovarian cancer. She knew she had little time left but true to form when my sister and I went down to care for her in her final days, late in November, the Christmas presents were arrayed on her couch. She had catalog shopped during the summer. We brought them home after she passed and had the sad joy of opening them that Christmas only days after her passing.
Mom, I hope I have done the tradition proud. Merry Christmas to you and Dad.