As I was enjoying my coffee this morning while listening to Holiday music and reading a Christmas decorating magazine, I was moved to write this post.
I was reading the editor’s column and I was struck by her words describing her holiday traditions; “In mid-December, we love having a special trim-the-tree evening. I’ll prepare a light dinner, so we can begin decorating the tree early. Once the twinkling tree is adorned with ornaments, we sit back and enjoy hot cocoa by a crackling hickory fire-all manner of holiday cheer enhanced by plenty of carols softly playing in the background.”
How does reading that make you feel?
For me it created a longing in my heart for something that doesn’t exist in my world. And I’d be willing to bet it doesn’t exist in most of your worlds either. How I envy families that have long-standing traditions that include multiple generations. The families that have loved ones fly in or drive long distances to join in the memory making. Families that are so close that if one member can’t make the occasion, their presence is sorely missed. Do these kinds of families really exist in today’s world? Are there really Currier and Ives-type celebrations?
Is it me or have families become more autonomous? Do we feel that chatting on Facebook or Twitter is communication enough? What happened to the Sunday dinners at Grandma’s?
Growing up, my family always went to Grandma Lou’s for Sunday dinner. All my mom’s brothers were there with their families (my aunt lived out-of-state) and as I look back now as a grandma myself, I see how blessed my grandparents were to have us all there every Sunday. And every Christmas Day was spent there. The men gathered in the basement to play poker and the women prepared the food and we kids looked under the tree for gifts with our names on them and each gift was handled and shook and speculated upon. Everyone was in holiday attire, no jeans or sweats or everyday clothing. It was a BIG DEAL.
So what happened? Once Grandma Lou had to sell her house and move into an apartment, things changed. We all grew up and had families of our own and we had no “glue” to keep us together. No sense of “family” anymore.
What had started out as a great morning has morphed into some serious soul-searching. Is it too late to attempt to grab ahold of what little family I have left and start making our own version of that Currier and Ives scene? And what if no one else in the family has that same desire? Or do we just “suck it up” and do the best we can with what we have?
To those of you who still have “family”, treasure it and try to make your kids and grandkids understand the value of traditions and the blessing of extended family.
“Blood is thicker than water” is the old adage and I’m sure many of you have horror stories about relatives ruining holiday get-togethers. And some of us have friends that are closer to us than family members but you must admit there is something to be said about the bond of DNA (good or bad!)
My wish for you my friends this Holiday season is that you can reclaim some good family traditions and that whatever your family situation is that you can make some new memories with those that you love.
As for me, I will be spending my Christmas not with family but with a person who needs all my love and kindness as there is no holiday spirit in them. Perhaps that is the true meaning of Christmas….to give of ourselves. The present of presence in an otherwise sad and lonely day.
My little family will be celebrating on some other day as with three work schedules to plan around we never have our Christmas on the same day each year. My hope is to make memories for my grandbabies that they will remember even if it isn’t my Currie and Ives dream.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all from your Mad Queen!