Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Ghost of Christmases Past

I heard Denise Rainey on WBGL this morning and something he said really hit home with me.  He basically stated that the way we feel about Christmas is based on our past Christmases which can be a good thing or a bad thing.  If you had great Christmases past then your current Christmases may fall short of that high expectation and cause you to feel down and depressed!  WOW!  Denise, were you in my head or what?  Since my Mom passed away five years ago, Christmas has not been the same and I experience a let down every year because NOTHING can compare to the Christmases that I remember growing up!  Here I will share with you my fondest memories of what used to be my favorite time of the year!

Christmas growing up was always the most wonderful time of the year!  There was always lots of hustle and bustle and the smells that filled the house were wonderful!  As long as I can remember we started on Christmas Eve!  Mom would make a big pot of sauerkraut soup, a pot of veggie soup with all the fixings!  There would be relish trays with veggies and cheese and crackers and trays of the goodies that mom had been working on for weeks!  Around 6 PM all of our neighbors would stop over to share in the feast and fellowship.  My brother and I would get to open one of our gifts to keep us busy while the grown ups talked and played cards.  Then at 11:30 we would hear to midnight mass!  I loved the beauty of this service growing up and looked forward in anticipation to the candles and the choir!  We would come home following mass and fall into bed exhausted but too tired to sleep!

Morning would come early!  While we believed in Santa, it was fun to run down the hall to see what the jolly old elf had left for each of us!  I remember one year in particular when there was a new bike for each of us and a doll house for me while my brother got a barn.  Both the doll house and the barn were made with love by our father who painstakingly painted and decorated them!  The doll house was completely furnished as was my brother's barn!  I wish I still had the doll house for the Diva but The Moody Teen did get his very own barn (it was the last one dad made) and still has it in the attic.

As soon as we opened gifts, mom would start cooking in preparation for the rest of the family to arrive!  The last 10 or so years the menu would consist of prime rib, twice baked potatoes, salad and all finger foods you could imagine including baked goodies that mom took pride in making!  With the preparations well underway, family would begin to invade the tiny ranch style home.  Most years there were 15-20 of us crowded in the house!  As soon as the last family arrived, the gift giving would begin!  My what a mess we made but it was exciting and fun!  I LOVE surprises!

When the final gift was open, the eating would begin!  Relish trays and finger foods to start and a meal fit for a king to finish!  Then we would sit in the living room and kitchen and talk followed by more eating and more talking!  Then, all too soon, the day was over and parents would load their exhausted children and all their gifts into their vehicles and make the trek home!  Another wonderful family day in the memory books and a new year, full of hope, just around the corner.

Christmas is nothing like this anymore!  My Mom, Dad and Sister are all gone leaving my Brother, Sister and I far apart and engrossed in our own lives (some more than others).  The Knight's family has not really been into big celebrations so I am left with my little family of four.  I try to make the holidays special for my kids and I am happy that the Moody Teen got to experience those wonderful Christmases of old but the Diva will never know that kind of Christmas and I think that is what makes me so melancholy every year.  The Knight is not a gift giver and so there is never a surprise waiting for me and I have gotten used to that over the years.  I am blessed to have had the great Christmases past and look with hope to 2011.


Lin said...

Christmases are rarely like they were when we were growing up. Our families lived nearby and nobody lived out of state--that was unheard of. People weren't divorced and the kids didn't have video games and texting to occupy their time.

While I miss the old days of everyone cramming into the house, we invite neighbors over or meet up with friends over the holidays. And although we can't have what WE had, we can make NEW memories for us and our children. It is our job to create wonder and excitement for our kids. :)

I wish you joy this holiday, Jo. :)


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