There’s something about the holidays that brings out my sentimental side. Most people wouldn’t believe that I listen to Christmas music in my car, that I always try to put up my Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, that I like to watch the same sappy Christmast movies over and over throughout November and December or that I look forward to seeing all of the lights and decorations go up each year. I just don’t seem to be that way in real life. The truth is, Christmas has been the most consistent thing in my life over all these years and for this, I have set aside a special place in my heart for all things Christmas.
The earliest memories of Christmas I have are of my father being on the road working and my mother and I spending most of the season alone. There were always lots of presents back then because I was an only child for six years. One year, I remember getting a guitar which I promptly broke. How did I know that tightening up the strings would cause such a catastrophe? I was only about five years old and I really had no idea how to approach the instrument. Needless to say, I never learned how to play.
Just a few years later, when there were a couple of sisters added to the mix, Christmas was always time to visit relatives and eat pies and candies that were brought in by relatives we only saw a few times a year. It was the time when everyone enjoyed being together and things didn’t seem quite so complicated.
There were some Christmases when things weren’t so great, but I always remember feeling good about this time of year because people made an effort to be together. Whether that came from guilt or holiday spirit didn’t matter, the point was that we were together. Now, years later, as everyone has either divorced, moved away or both, it’s harder to get together. Members of the family have gotten older, some have strayed from reality, some have just disappeared altogether, some are sick, some have passed away. Though this time of year could be a time of sadness, I can still find contentment in hearing the same old songs each year, watching the same old movies, and looking at the same old lights.
I’m not sure this makes sense to anyone but me, however, I think my point is this: Though families may change or go through difficult times, the fact remains that every year we have the opportunity to make things right again. Actually, every day we have this opportunity but most people don’t think of it until the holidays roll around. That’s okay. Every little bit helps. Even if there are those whom we can’t change, we can still enjoy what the season is about and appreciate that it means something to most everyone.
So, as I sit here in the dark (except for the lights on my Christmas tree), writing this, I hope you can think back on your Christmas experiences and find reasons why this is a great time for just enjoying life and being hopeful. Good things can still happen and most likely will. And if you can’t believe that, just turn on your radio and find that station that plays all Christmas music all the time. If that doesn’t make you smile, then you’re not trying hard enough.
Until next time…