“The secret of Christmas is not the things you do
But, the Christmas things you do, the whole year through.”
Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen,
The Secret of Christmas
I took a picture this morning of our Christmas tree from the outside of our house looking in. I imagined someone not being able to come home for Christmas, watching the joy and celebrations from afar or just out of reach.
When I was growing up, my family was all about Christmas. Christmas-mania hit the day after Thanksgiving. Dad would be testing the lights- screaming at the bulbs, willing them to turn on. This could go on all day long. Mom would be organizing the ornaments, as you needed to place ones specifically on different parts of the tree. Lots of ornaments were from places we had been on family vacations. Yes, it was quite a production. But, what a production! After being gone from New York for over 24 years, my friends from home still remember our Christmas trees in our living room and den windows.
You see, we had two trees. One was the “family’s” tree, the den one- that was all Mom’s. The family tree was adorned with all the arts and crafts we kids brought home throughout the years – popsicle stick santas and macaroni wreaths abound! The family tree was always my favorite tree as I viewed it as a celebration of our childhood history.
Mom’s tree was different. It had a theme – either silver or blue – and had beautiful ornaments. Although I viewed it as impersonal and a little too fancy, I get it now. This was Mom’s tree. All Mom’s. And, she could do whatever the hell she wanted with it. This resonates with me so much this Christmas as I am now a mom, and missing my mom we lost in 2016. If I could have her back now, I would gladly give her whatever kind of tree she’d like.
Christmas is different since she left us. Sometimes, I stare at our tree and it reminds me of all we have lost. It brings up searing feelings of loneliness and grief. However, two things have brought me out of my haze. Obviously, the kids do not let me brood for long. However this year, a commercial (click here to view the commercial) and an article (click here for the article) made me remember what the Christmas season is all about.
Invite them in, despite the recipe you burned, no matter the dirty house or sink full of dishes. No one will remember these things. All of these imperfections make a home. The love and kindness will be the souvenirs.