I wish, for once, I could accurately articulate the multitude of reasons that I wish Christmas and the entire Holiday season would pass from my eyes unnoticed. Christmas is not a joyous time for me. It can be a time of pain and sorrow as we remember what once was and what will never be again. Many suicides are attempted at this joyous time of year and that mere thought makes me sad knowing that those who attempted to die feel they had absolutely no one they could have reached out to to give them one moment of comfort that could have lead them into a new year and possibly a new hope. My heart breaks for them, and for their families who have now lost a loved one. The hurt breaks both ways.
For me the “Holiday Season” begins right before Thanksgiving and ends shortly after the New Year. Yes, I say, “Happy Holidays” but it is not to take Christmas out of the season, it is to include Thanksgiving and New Years into their rightful places in the festivities. I do say “Merry Christmas” on Christmas Day, and I say Happy Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day and I say Happy New Year on New Year Day, so why do so many people want to correct me? I am wishing all people a festive holiday SEASON, not just happiness on one particular day.
Christmas has changed over the years for me. Perhaps it is because I’ve grown up; perhaps it is because I haven’t grown up at ll. For me, the anticipation of Christmas was never the shinny gifts under the Christmas tree or the brightly wrapped packages; it was the smell, hustle, and bustle of Christmas – said simply – it was the electric energy that traveled through every person – pure excitement. I would wake up early on Christmas Eve and my mother would already be slaving over a hot stove making pies and cakes and all sorts of “Christmas” goodies that we, as children, had grown accustomed to. “Merry Christmas Eve,” I’d excitedly shout out to her and she’d return my salutation with a big kiss on the cheek.
About noon, Christmas Eve guest would begin to trickle in. Some were relatives, some were friends, and some just wanted to give us a few of their cookies they had baked to thank my mom for all she has done for them throughout the year. Some stayed a short time, some stayed a little while, and some stayed until the Christmas Eve festivities began. As my mother spoke to her guests, she’s pop out a couple of pumpkin pies here and some apple pies there, along with her Philadelphia Cream Cheese Pies that have never been completely duplicated to this day. It was all good to her and the more people that dropped by, the more festive she became. My mother was the center of Christmas. She knew how to get things done AND enjoy all the holiday had to offer. I never learned that from her; I wish I had listened or watched more closely.
When the official start of Christmas Eve started, the feast of the 7 fish commencement……and stunk. My aunts and uncles from all over would congregate at my house to begin the eating of the fish. Yuck! I stuck with tuna fish which for me was the least of all the evils; but as I grew up, I came to realize that shrimp and and crab weren’t too bad either. Christmases of past were special, they embodied all of what Christmas should be. They did not have the “what did you get me for Christmas” present attitude. Christmas was about helping, having, loving, and being with those you cared about.
Christmas is gone. It is now merely Giftmas. Giftmas says, “How much am I going to get from you for Christmas and are you going to like it?” Giftmas says, “How close to the time can I get to your house before it’s actually time to eat so I don’t have to help you set the table or put out the food” The real sad thing about Giftmas is….”How long can I stay away from those I love or profess to love so I don’t have to feel the true meaning of Christmas.?” It is just so much easier to thank someone for a gift.