Christmas is Coming!
Writers' Post #24
Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers fill 'fridges all over the country. Cold turkey sandwiches are being served and created by anyone who hosted a big dinner or cooked for their own family or took doggie bags home from wherever they ate. Some are traveling to yet another destination for yet another or perhaps their only feast of the Turkey gobbling holiday. The one thing we all share with this holiday is that once it's past, the preparations for Christmas begin. For some in earnest with the Black Friday shopping trip. For some it's a matter of putting out a few decorations with more to come. Others will go all out over the week-end and completely decorate for the Christmas season. To each their own, but one way or another, the end of Thanksgiving means the beginning of Christmas with gusto at some level.
My shopping is nearly done. I have to take one more trip to the store with Momma and I have to pick up gifts for two granddaughters who just told me this week-end what they would like to find under their tree. I love doing my shopping early to avoid the cold weather and possible snow. I hibernate through as much of that kind of weather as I possibly can manage. I make lists in September and start shopping on line as soon as I know exactly what I am buying. Then I just wait for the stuff to arrive and start wrapping. Usually, I am done by the end of October or have just a few things to pick up at that point. This year, I am a bit behind. I have two to buy and that will be the end of my shopping. What has been delivered has been wrapped, but there are a few things I am still waiting on to arrive.
Decorations wise, the outside stuff is up and the inside stuff is not. I will be doing that next week-end if nothing else comes up. The tree is up because my daughter thought it needed to be up for the little ones to exchange their gifts yesterday. So that's one thing done. Much more to do and of course, some baking to get done. I do way less than I used to do, but I enjoy doing a bit. I love making two or three cookies from my old recipes and then I give them away. It's a fun thing.
With all the preparations in the weeks to come, I will be remembering Christmas' past. In those memories, I will see my Dad very clearly. He is so much a part of our childhood and early adult Christmas'. He loved the kids being around for the holidays. He loved the big meals and all the laughter that always came with our family dinners. Mom would prepare a huge and delicious meal and then my sister, my sister-in-law and I would do the dishes. In later years, our kids took over and are still doing the clean ups now. He always made a joke about taking out a loan to pay for the meal and hoping everyone enjoyed it. He never wanted to miss a grandchild opening a gift from them. He never wanted to miss a grandchild doing anything, but they lived nearly an hour away from all of us, several hours from my brother, actually.
Christmas with Mom and Dad was a celebration regardless of whatever else was happening in our lives. The year I left my children's father was a difficult year in every way imaginable. Financially, I was strapped. Emotionally, I was drained. Physically, I was spent. Mom and Dad came on Christmas Eve arriving shortly after I got home from work. The children were with their dad's family and they didn't want me to be alone. They came to take me to dinner. We had no idea all the restaurants would be closed. I think we ended up having Chinese or something from the only place we could find to eat. Not the typical Christmas Eve dinner, but it was food. I had nothing in the house that could have been fixed that night for us to eat. I did have Christmas dinner food, but that was to share with the kids. It wasn't a huge celebratory type meal, it was a very small piece of ham and potatoes and green beans. Not nearly enough for more than the three of us. Yet, I remember being so happy that they came all that way to see me and make sure I was not alone. I didn't want to be alone. I also remember that there was some 'unexplained' cash left in the house when they had moved on to my sister's house.
Since my own children have grown and have their own families, our Christmas' have changed over the years. At first, nothing changed. Everyone still came to our house for the day in the early afternoon and my daughter, who had moved to Nashville, still came home for a few days. As they have had children and their lives changed, so has our Christmas day. The oldest son has moved to Tennessee and last year he didn't come over until the day after, which is my birthday, so that wasn't awful. lol His daughter, our oldest granddaughter, got married last year and they have too many places they are expected to be and ours is too far away to fit into their time frame. She wasn't here. Our Tennessee daughter hasn't been coming home since her daughter was a year old. She wants them to be home for Christmas and so we go down there after Christmas and stay a few days. One of the other boys just had their third daughter this week and they prefer to stay home with their girls for Christmas. (Grand total now 7 granddaughters and 1 grandson.) So they weren't here. My youngest son and his wife and two kids were here and Momma, Mike and I were here. It was a really nice evening and dinner, but not the same. I think maybe they will want to stay home with their kids soon, if not this year. We will have to take Momma and go visit each of the two that are nearby, if that's the case. It will not be the same and it will not be a family Christmas with no dinner including everyone. I will just have to remember the days that my kind of Christmas worked out for everyone and we were the destination for dinner and gift exchange. Families grow and families change and so do the celebration traditions.
The years pass and life goes on. Changes happen and I try to adapt. I shall, however, always miss the days of my downstairs being filled with my family and lots of food. The whole house being filled with laughter and our children catching up with each other over a beer or a glass of wine or a coke. All the grandbabies playing with each other and getting reacquainted. I loved those days and I love those memories. I love that we had them once and that I can still recall them at will. I fear that those days will also pass. One day, I may not be able to recall those wonderful Christmas days of kids, babies, dogs and Mike and me just watching, laughing and talking with everyone all at once. Remembering ...loving.