Growing up, I loved the holiday season. Beginning with Thanksgiving then Christmas and finally New Year’s. The decorations, festivities, family, food, fun! Love, love, love.
I had a lot of family, extended through love and loss, but it didn’t matter. Come Christmastime, they made it work. Because it was Christmastime.
There were family gatherings with relatives you only saw a couple of times a year so you looked forward to seeing them and didn’t mind hearing, “my how you’ve grown” fifty times. And authentic foods prepared by native born Germans and Italians. Stollen and biscotti, made from scratch and memory. Unfortunately no recipes were written down and little was passed on. I was too young to appreciate egg coffee and now, unless Keurig comes up with a cup for it, I probably never will.
As a grown-up, I loved the holidays. Even when I was young, married, with two kids and a strongly limited income, I loved the holidays. It was wonderful to be the adult who introduced a new generation to the decorations, festivities, family, food, and fun! I enjoyed the challenge of making something special or shopping on a budget all year ’round for that perfect gift come Christmas morning. The joy of giving and knowing that your kids appreciate the effort because the effort was genuine.
I used to get the biggest kick out of the first couple of “Merry Christmas”es that were offered publicly, usually on Black Friday, but this was before Black Friday was the beast it has become. That first Christmas card and letter that came in the mail the week immediately following Thanksgiving made my whole season! Even the weather was welcome. If it’s Christmastime, it’s okay to have snow on the ground. And if there’s snow on the ground, it’s okay to be cold. And the sooner the sun sets, the longer I can appreciate the lovely lights that decorate houses and city streets!
Then, well then, I had a very long spell of dread.
But we shan’t dwell because those dark days have passed. Not that there aren’t additional Scrooges and Grinches that go out of their way to pish on my parade. (That isn’t exactly accurate name-calling since both of those fictional characters came to see the light). But I’m finally in a place where I can again say MERRY CHRISTMAS and mean it.
I am SO looking forward to friends and family and shopping and baking and laughing and singing and Lifetime/Hallmark/Family channel happy-sappy holiday movies. And my BB, of course. My evolution is not overly complicated, it’s quite simple actually, but in great part I have to credit my grandson for invoking the holiday fervor in my life. Again, it’s wonderful to be an adult who gets to introduce a new generation to the decorations, festivities, family, food, and fun!
I know it’s not for everybody, a lot of people have reasons bigger than mine for dreading the holidays. I’m just happy to be on the other side.
I don’t begrudge you your Happy Holidays, whether it’s an inclusive short cut or a blanket statement. And I welcome your Happy Hanukkahs and Happy Kwanzaas and any other multi-cultural celebratory greetings. ‘Tis the season! Enjoy it to the extent of your non-violent beliefs.
So, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Please know this salutation is offered with heartfelt love and enthusiasm for a time of year that can evoke so much happiness. Let’s focus on that.