This is my first year without my mom. That is also overwhelming at times. Memories of Christmas's past and the feeling that I should be getting something for her and making plans for including her creep in. Since I married in 1964, I've been at my husband's family Christmas Eve celebrations and then my family on Christmas day (with a few exceptions when we lived in Wisconsin and St. Louis and couldn't get to Arkansas for Christmas.) Those years stand out because "people are supposed to be 'home' for Christmas" and those are poignant memories when I could not be. The last few years, we've done all our celebrating with our daughters and their families on Christmas Eve and then I'd have Mom here on Christmas Day. It is right for them to be in their homes with their children on Christmas morning to make the memories and family time with them. But what will it be like for all the planning and getting ready to end and nobody be here on Christmas day?
Well, if there's anything my mom taught me, it is to do "whatever I have to do" and I have learned that change is the only constant in life, so time to start new traditions. Bet if I look around there are others who are needing someone. Whatever I do Christmas day, it won't be sitting here feeling sorry for myself, so I'll start looking. Maybe I'll report back to you!!
Maybe I should have put all the kids Christmas decorations on my tree this year. It's kind of developed into a hodge podge through the years with things they made or I made or my friend Becky made and that is fun to remember the making and the Christmas's past when this or that happened. But this year the tree is silver and gold.
I did put up the candle I made and tried to remember the year. I think I lived in St. Louis when I made it, so that would have been about 1969. It is cardboard with yarn just glued around to make the candle, but I've always liked it :)
Another tradition we have is putting together jigsaw puzzles during the holidays. We may have started it when we were snowed in one year, I really don't remember the first one. My grandmother used to do a lot of jigsaw puzzles and I liked to do them with her, but she never saved them. My oldest daughter, Robin, did several one year and saved them, so it was probably around that time that I started painting them with glue and framing them. Here is one of my favorites. I'll get picture of some of the others for another blog.
What traditions do you have? Do you find yourself doing the same things every year or do you do something different every year? I am torn sometimes between the two. If you do the same thing every year, then the years that circumstances prevent your doing it, it gets sad. Traditions that we hold dear tie us together as families, but the family members who can't be there to do it feel left out. I remember distinctly the years I could not be "home" for Christmas--we lived in Wisconsin in 1967 and my husband was studying for tests in graduate school and our first daughter Robin was 3 months old, so we stayed there until semester ended in January to come home.
In the early 70's we lived in St. Louis, MO and had Robin and Shari and decided to stay there for Christmas. My husband's brother visited us a few days before Christmas, but we had Christmas there with just the four of us.
After we moved back to Arkansas in 1973 we have been at the Locke community Christmas program on Christmas Eve (as was my husband's tradition all through has younger years.) One Christmas day we could not go to my parents because we got about an hour on the drive to Havana and the snow and ice got so bad, the car just turned itself around on the road and that scared us sufficiently to just go the way it was headed--back to our house!
My daughters grew up going to Locke on Christmas Eve. "Locke" means Christmas Eve to them. Jennifer has never known Christmas without doing that and the others haven't missed many! The community has a pie supper the second Sat in December to raise money for it, and they use that to buy candy, apples, oranges and nuts for brown paper sacks for everyone who comes out on Christmas Eve. After a play or skit and kids recite The Night Before Christmas or sing a Christmas song, and everyone sings carols, Santa comes "Ho Ho Ho-ing" in and gives the kids a present and everyone there a sack. Not many communities do that any more and it is an important thing for the ones for whom it is tradition.
Well, Christmas Time is Comin' and some things change and some stay the same, but it comes --and then the new year. So, whatever we do and what ever you do, let's all remember that Christ is the reason that we have the holiday. He never intended us to celebrate his birthday, but his death. The Bible doesn't even tell us the exact day he was born, and it certainly was not December 25, but it does tell his specifically to "remember his death" until he comes again. And that time is "a-comin" too!