Holidays are a time of year where it’s so easy to reflect on the past.
They are truly memory markers. I can remember where I was last Christmas, but not last month. Well wait, I was in Maui, so I definitely remember that. But you get the point.
Christmas was my mom’s most favorite Holiday. She decorated with such enthusiasm and joy, and carefully shopped, and wrapped presents in such a pretty way.
When I was a teenager, I used to sneak peek at the gifts under the tree (after counting them of course) and then carefully unwrap them when no one was looking, because I just couldn’t contain my excitement while waiting for Christmas Day! My mom was that way too, it was pretty funny.
I remember one year, Mom put “warning notes” in the wrapping of one particularly interestingly shaped gift. Like,as I loosened the tape on the first wrapping flap and carefully pulled it back, there was a “WAIT, DON”T PEEK!” Note. I laughed, and kept on going, under the next flap, another note, “I SAID STOP!” With a cartoon of Mommie Dearest, and then as I opened the next flap, “SLAP! I SAID NO!” She must have thought that this would stop me because that was the final note, and I of course didn’t stop. I got to the prize, then carefully re-wrapped the gift. I don’t even remember what that gift was, but I sure remember those notes.
Christmas isn’t about the gifts, as most of the time they are quickly forgotten. But the memories of traditions last forever. (First Jesus, of course, don’t go freaking out church peeps, but that’s a different blog post). Ask anyone about their Christmas traditions growing up and they’ll recite them.
I have made some of my own traditions with my sons and it’s neat to see that they have noticed. On Sunday, John asked me if he was going to be able to open the traditional Christmas Eve gift that would be PJ bottoms. It warmed my heart that he noticed my “tradition.” And when I sent him a pic of the fudge I was making for him, while he was still at the Marine Base, I got a “YAY!” Response. ❤️ He asked about a few other things as well, and it so warmed my heart that he expected them.
On Christmas Eve, my older son Tom came over and I took him downstairs and showed him the audio book of Pop and Grandma reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” What a treasure that is for me to have now! Tom was clearly moved to hear it. And then I told him something that made him really laugh. I said, you know in your stocking, you will have chocolate covered cherries…(he has had that every year since I can remember.” Then I said, “I know you hate them” and he just burst out laughing. He used to like them, for like a minute when he was 8…but every year he gets them and every year I know he is thinking “I really need to tell mom that i don’t like these..”. But now that he knows I know, he can enjoy them more every year by bursting out in laughter and tossing them in the garbage a week later. (they cost like $1.46 at WalMart).
But, long after I’m gone and his Christmas is lacking the chocolate covered cherries, I hope he will think of me and smile.
My Mom, it’s been Five Christmases since she left us so early. The photo here is from her final Christmas. I still think of her and miss her every day. I can think of past Christmas’ with her and smile. And know that these were good memories, these Christmases, and it was important to her that my sister and I felt special, both as children, and as grown adults. She did that indeed.
Merry Christmas in Heaven, Mom. I love you.