I’ve always had a big tree and I have lots of ornaments collected over the years. My favorites are a cardboard ornament covered with frayed foil made by my son when he was in kindergarten. Another is a clothespin with cotton and a bit of red cloth made to look like Santa’s face and hat, made by my daughter in first grade.
My sister always baked fruit cakes. She sent one to me and one to Dad. We were the ones who really loved her soft, yummy, alcoholic Christmas concoctions. Not sure who else in the family did, but despite the work she had to put in, she always made them.
When my children were young we had big, noisy family gatherings with uncles and aunts and cousins. On Christmas Day we’d dine at my grandmother’s house on good China and crystal, using real silver utensils on a pretty tablecloth. We dressed up. It was special.
Christmas Eve we went to church. One year I got the time wrong and while we got to the church, the service was ending. We missed the live animals used in the Nativity scene and the little kids with eager faces waiting to get home and to bed so Santa would come.
This year will be different. I have a small tree, appropriate for our apartment, with ornaments borrowed from my daughter (her cats are too frisky this year for her to have a tree and my ornaments are locked in storage 800 miles away). But the ornaments are special. Some belonged to her husband’s grandmother. One was made by her husband’s father. I’m honored to have them on my tree.
My sister passed away a few years ago so I no longer eat fruitcake (nothing lives up to hers). But I remember her by getting my tree on her birthday and baking Christmas cookies using her recipes.
We no longer gather as a family to celebrate because the family is spread out over several states, but I try to spend holidays with one of my two children. This year, it’s my daughter’s turn for Christmas. And we probably won’t be at a church service because we haven’t lived in our new community long enough to find our “home” church yet.
There will be gifts to open Christmas morning, although my son—Mr. Christmas—will have to wait until Christmas Eve to get the ones I sent (late!). He won’t get to shake them or guess what’s inside. I sometimes think the anticipation is as much fun as opening the gift, and if he’s reading this, I apologize for my tardiness.
But I am thankful for so many things this year and I like to think about them while wrapping, baking, and decorating—good friends, Mark’s continuous progress after his stroke, having family members nearby, being able to spent Thanksgiving with others, and my memories.
Whichever holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope you will enjoy it. Cherish every positive moment. Merry Christmas.