This Christmas reminders replace memories

Every year I can’t wait to put my Christmas tree up. I collect ornaments all year. If I go somewhere during the previous year my souvenir will be an ornament. If I go to an event or have a wonderful time with friends and there is a way to commemorate it with an ornament I do. I have a tree filled with ornaments symbolizing weddings, trips and moments. Every year I take a trip down memory lane when I put them up. This year I managed to put the tree up and string some lights on it the day after Thanksgiving. But that is where I stopped. The ornaments remain in their boxes and bags and perhaps next year I will manage to get them on the tree.

I have not been feeling much in the Christmas spirit this year. I believe that is why there has been such a gap in my posts this month. And not surprisingly, there are many reasons. Work has been filled with stress and an abundance of negative people popping up on my life have sadly been plentiful over the past few months. Life is difficult enough, but for a blessed few, not so much. Sadly, that is where those lucky people feel the need to create drama and nurture ugliness. But I guess that is life. And more importantly, where I remind myself, I have a job, a home and opposite but equally amazing people in my life. Look out the window or turn on the television, we don’t need to create drama and ugliness, it spreads like a virus without any help from us.

But I believe the real reason I have not been in the Christmas spirit is this is the first Christmas without my Mom. Granted, she was, in her final years, not really with us completely during the holiday. But for the majority of my life, she was Christmas. The decorations would go up for the first Sunday of Advent. Her cookies made with a cookie press would be baked. Our biggest tradition was putting up our tree on Christmas Eve after we returned from Mass, just in time for Santa to come down the chimney and decorate it. Really, it was my Mom, Dad and older siblings decorating it and bringing in the gifts. But the transformation from heading to bed leaving behind a bare tree to coming downstairs to a Christmas wonderland was mind-blowing for a child. Now as an adult, I can’t begin to imagine how much work that was for her.

But something happened a week or two ago that brought me back into the Christmas spirit. I was sitting there, staring at a tree that “should” be decorated. Perhaps out of guilt, I took a few of the orange slices I dried and tied them to the tree with ribbon. It was something at least. Then, a few days later, the Christmas cards started to arrive. Um, thank you everyone who was together enough this year to send them. As you might guess, I did not get around to that this year. I was looking for a place to put them when I thought, hmm, perhaps the tree. And that is when it happened. Without taking an ornament down or forcing myself to feel the season, I had a tree, filled with reminders of how truly blessed I am. It started to feel a lot like Christmas after all.

Merry Christmas to all!

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