I may be sixty-years old, but I love Christmas just as much as I did when I was a child. Even though it’s a such a busy time of the year and I sometimes feel tired and stressed, I still enjoy the shopping, the wrapping, the baking and the decorating. I look forward to singing “Silent Night” by candlelight at the Christmas Eve service and to opening gifts with my family on Christmas morning. Despite all the extra demands it brings on my time and energy, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and I think it always will be.
Part of the attraction is probably nostalgia. I am fortunate to have many happy memories of Christmas celebrations when I was a child, which probably explains why I decorate my house and my tree with the glass ornaments, ceramic Santas and other knick-knacks that were so popular when I was growing up. I think on some level, I’m actually trying to recreate the best of Christmas past.
But life is about nothing if not change, and even at Christmastime, change can be a good thing. This will be the first year we get to celebrate Christmas with our grandson, and I’m looking forward to it very much. He’s not quite a year old yet, so he’ll probably be more interested in the empty boxes than in the actual presents he receives, but there’s still something so special about having a little one in the house at Christmas time.
It reminds me of how much my husband and I looked forward to our first Christmas with our first child, and how that year marked the time when our focus shifted from what we wanted for Christmas to how we could provide meaningful celebrations for our own children. It was so fun to buy gifts for them, and to let them help with the cookies and the decorating. They even participated in our Christmas giving by choosing some of their own toys to donate to children who weren’t as fortunate.
Later, when they grew up, married and moved into their own houses, we found new traditions to enjoy with our family. We toured Christmas light displays together and even quaffed a few drinks at a “pop-up Christmas bar.” Now that our family includes a baby, we skipped the Christmas bar but did take him to a light display at the local zoo and he did just fine. My son-in-law said that was because the little guy was so bundled up that he couldn’t move and was probably blinking an SOS with his eyelids. But for whatever reason, he behaved beautifully.
This year, just like every other year, Christmas will be a blend of old and new. We’ll honor the most treasured of our old traditions, and remember the loved ones who are no longer with us. And we will also find new ways to celebrate the season, hoping that we’re starting new traditions that will be meaningful for many more years to come. This Christmas, like every Christmas, will be unique. And that’s as it should be.