I know, it is early, but, this has been rumbling away inside me for days now, and it is best I let it out. As you can imagine, this is NOT going to relate to toilets, or hotels, it is simply going to spew forth from my heart. Yes, I do have one of those, and as the season starts winding up, my heart gets very warm and tender. Oh, I know, my family will claim this isn't true, I am still the hard nosed ,miserable bat they have grown to love. But, tender and warm, are perhaps just a little different in my world.
I cry at the drop of a hat during this season. When I hear a Christmas Carol from my past, the tears start all by themselves. I will cry when I watch little children on TV meeting Santa, and the awe on their faces will set me off. I still cry in parts of the Christmas Carol story. I think "It's a wonderful life" is one of the finest movies, and will snort and sniffle through the whole show. Oh, I do this overtly, I will cough and blow my nose, covering the fact that I am a softie.
I cry far more now, then ever before, but, most of the time, the crying is beneficial. I have been blessed with just one of Scrooge's 3 Christmas Ghosts. That is the Ghost of Christmas past. This is one that I welcome with open arms. The pieces of the past that show up in my mind, are all pieces that have been stored away in my softening heart. Each one is precious, and I end up looking like an idiot, smiling with rivers running down my face.
Most of my wonderful memories include my Mother. After almost 30 years, she is still greatly missed.. I try each year to set up my Tree on her birthday, something she used to do every year.
Poor woman, her birthday often was the last day of school before the Holidays. I wonder if she dreaded those holidays as much as I used to? But, up would go the tree. She did this pretty much alone. We had the most amazing aluminum tree, it was all silver (pretty classy back in the day). My brother and I would add our own touches to the tree. We had these clear decorations that you could open, and shove various things in, and hang them on the tree.And, always, the Jersey Milk chocolate bar for our family dog would hang from one of the higher branches.
I swear my Mom had a list, she would ensure that my brother and I had the same amount of gifts. We would get the enormous packages in the mail from grandparents in Scotland, and packages from Grandparents in Ontario. The Scottish ones would be filled with exotic candy, and hankies, the Ontario ones would have the world's best knitted slippers. I have changed quite a bit from those days. I would rip one gift open after another, while my brother slowly peeled the tape off his. After moments I would be done, but he would just be on his second gift, and I would always start counting, sure he got far more than myself. I admit, we were pretty even steven.
We would always go to Church Christmas Eve. I loved that time. We would walk into the tiny building past walls of snow, the place would be decorated with wonderful freshly cut boughs. There would be a concert, and I did my time playing various parts of the Christmas story. Everyone would be smiling, and dressed up. We would get bags of hard candy from Miss Savery and Miss Alexander (two missionary women who made a huge impact on my life) and Japanese oranges.
I remember envying my German and Austrian friends, because I knew, when they went home, they would open their gifts. I tried my very best to convince my parents this made far more sense, than waiting till the next morning. I remember telling my Mom that I would fall asleep much easier, if we could just get the presents over with at night. Never happened. We did get to open one, and it was always handed to us, and always the nice new pajamas and housecoat. I look back at Christmas pictures and I am always in a lovely ensemble , but the bed head, totally takes away from the clothing.
I remember the first gifts I bought my Mother and Father. They were purchased with the money I made hauling empties we collected about town. Cripes, time have sure changed, I made oodles of cash doing this! I ordered them all by myself from the Eatons Christmas Wish book. My Mom got a box filled with a collection of perfume from Paris, and my Dad got a tray of dried fruit. I must admit, this does beat some of the gifts my children have given me in the past.
Yes, I remember some of the special toys I got. I got a two wheeler one year, and had that thing out on the road in the middle of winter, with 6 foot snow banks. Didn't get too far, but, I can describe that bike in detail.
What I remember most, though, is the excitement of the knocks of the door, and the incredible amounts of food and I suppose booze,lol. I have pictures of the whole living room filled with visitors. People would stop off at houses, have a drink and a snack, and then head off to another. We did that visiting early Christmas Eve, to the homes of those lucky German and Austrian people.
We always had an abundance of pop and chips and goodies. Now, back in the day, treats were not near as common, so Christmas was next to Halloween on stocking up on our fill of junk food.I suppose that is one thing that has not changed over time. I try to make sure I manage to bake shortbread and butter tarts, just because those were always on our Christmas table.
I remember the Christmas that we knew we were losing my Mom. We got word that she was not going to survive, in the middle of December. My brother and I decided that we would hold off on Christmas until she was able to make the trip home from Vancouver. Oh, we had the celebrations in our homes, but the family one got put off until January that year. Setting things up in the empty house that year was painful. We had to go through the motions, and put on a show. That Christmas is one best forgotten, but , it was when I realized, this time is one for family. It is a time to hold on to what is important, not a time to worry that you can't afford to get your child what they want, not a time to try and out decorate the neighbour, not a time to wallow in misery. It is simply a time to be thankful for what you have accumulated in your heart.
This is the year I feel I have finally grown up. I have not stressed over Christmas Present at all. I am certainly not worried about Christmas future. I am simply surrounded by Christmas Past and thrilled to spend the tiny little bits of time, with those who are no longer with me.
My wish for all my friends, and all those who read my rantings, is that you be given the gift of Christmas Past, and it brings you buckets of happy tears, and miles of smiles!!!