Monday, December 28, 2009

Memory Monday: It's not Christmas that's changed

Somewhere along life's way, Christmas seemed to change. I'd like to think it's because I matured and finally understood the joy of being the giver and not just the giftee, but that's not it.

My sister and I had fairy-tale childhood Christmases. Mother worked very hard to see that we got everything on our wish list and a few things that weren't. Black and white album photos show two little girls with an overabundance of things under the tree. I think she didn't have many merry Christmases as a child and she lived vicariously through us by making sure we did. After I was grown, and in a moment of melancholy, Daddy told me how she would scrimp and cut corners in order to get us things. I'd like to be sarcastic and say it would have been nice to have had more of her instead, but alas, we had plenty of that also. Mother managed it all.

Christmas changes when you move away from home, whether it be to college or on your own. Then, you come home to a house you didn't help decorate. You've grown beyond having a dozen packages under the tree and a big Santa-surprise on Christmas morning. It's sedate. The excitement is gone. You had to come home because the dorm was closed.

I don't think it revs back up until you have children of your own. Then, you can see Christmas again, but this time through their eyes. Sad to say perhaps, but my sons will probably say they didn't have fairy-tale Christmases, because Mother Scrooge didn't get them half the Sears catalog. I used to tell my younger son to just tear out what he didn't want.

But Mother got excited all over again. Having grown and left her, her daughters had redeemed themselves by presenting her with three grandchildren. She was once again in the giving business. This went on until her death when the youngest was in college.

Once our grandchildren came, our period of once-again sedate Christmases was over. They're still very young and not really into it yet (wait until next year), but there was excitement once the packages were torn open this year.

If you believe in Christmas, it would be sad to be alone on that day. But that's a state of mind, an attitude. You can be sad surrounded by a loving crowd of relatives. Christmas hasn't changed: not the reason for the Season, not the joy in celebrating. If your Christmas has changed, it's time to check the internal sensors and turn on the excitement meter once more.

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