Coming close to the end of a very significant year for our family has made be very reflective. Hope you don’t mind if I get a little nostalgic.
For me, when I think of Christmastime, I think first of my childhood Christmases. You know, those Christmases when you still BELIEVED in Santa and EVERYTHING about Christmas was magical. From the music, to the cookies, to the tree, to the train that ran around the tree (my favorite!), to Christmas Morning, everything was magical. Those Christmas mornings were truly some of the happiest days of my life because everything was so pure.
As you get older, Christmas gets more complicated. You understand how important it is to get just the right gifts, so as not to disappoint anyone. Your parents tell you no when you want something out of their budget (oh, that doesn’t happen anymore, does it?) and Christmas become this BIG EVENT that lasts from the end of Halloween through New Years. It is stressful, busy, your parents are grumpy and they just want everyone home and getting along.
Then, if you are lucky, you meet the love of your life and Christmas becomes magical again! You are in love! Life is perfect! He knows exactly what to get you and then the BIG gift, an engagement ring hidden in the Christmas tree! Could life get any better?
Christmas takes a backseat to planning your wedding, buying a new house and being a married couple. It is still special, but how could anything match the magic of your wedding? Plus, your spouse doesn’t really put the effort he once did into buying your gifts. But that’s okay, it the thought that counts, right?
When you least expect it, Christmas becomes magical again, even better than when you were a child because you have a child of your own! NOTHING compares to the magic on your child’s face when experiencing the joys of Christmas! The traditions you make together as a family, The music, the cookies, the tree, the train around the tree (yup, same train), being with family and the pure delight of your child opening THAT perfect gift they wanted so much (Baby Born for Molly!)
Sadly, things start to change again. That sweet child has list a mile and bank account long. Your parents aren’t doing well health wise and you aren’t exactly getting along with your siblings. You decide to start spending Christmas at your own home and go to your parents for New Years. The stress starts to eat at you because YOU are now the one in charge of making sure that everything is perfect and according to tradition. It makes you grumpy and you understand why your parents were grumpy at Christmas! (Full circle, you might say!)
Suddenly, things change again. One of your parents has died and the other is heartbroken and lonely. Thing will never be the same for you at Christmas. When your other parent dies three years later, you really just want Christmas to go away. You spend a couple of depressing Christmases at home and then you decide to travel somewhere warm and take a vacation over Christmas. This helps immensely and you start to look at Christmas with warm memories again.
If you haven’t guessed, this timeline is my lifetime of Christmases past. Some were glorious and some were depressing. Some were very religious and some were very commercial. Some were memorable and some I would love to forget.
This brings us to THIS year and I am happy to report that new traditions are started! We are in a new home and bought new decorations. Not a lot-just the right amount to not stress us (meaning me) out. Molly comes tomorrow and stays for TWELVE days! We are spending the weekend before Christmas with extended family for the first time in years! We are having seafood for Christmas Eve dinner. We are going on a harbor cruise to celebrate our new neighbor’s Christmas birthday. We will play games, go to movies, go shopping and eat way too much food. Guess what? I am excited for Christmas this year!!! If there is one thing that I have learned during this year of change is that life is too short to not live it to its fullest. We made a great leap of faith coming to Oceanside and it feels so right to be here. And you know what I want most for Christmas?? For us all to be together and getting along, just like my parents all those years ago.
I sincerely hope that each and every one reading this have a very blessed Christmas, whatever that means for you. And if it is not in the cards to be a great one, I hope you have the strength to make the changes in your life for the next year. There is always hope if you have faith. Merry Christmas!