This morning I stumbled to start coffee and started checking emails on my phone. One from my Mom, Subject line: Love You
Opening it, I gaze upon a short message: “Morning kiddos. Have a good day. Luv you bunches.”
Hmmm…. Is Mom feeling the spirit of the season intensely this a.m. or is she perhaps feeling the voids left by those of our family recently lost and trying to fill it through extra loving?
Then I scroll down and see the P.S.:
“I know what you’re getting for Christmas”
Aha! The whole blinking email was a front for her favorite Christmas tradition – Singing “I know what you’re getting for Christmas”.
I couldn’t resist – I replied with:
We regret to inform you that you will receive nothing for Christmas, as the strain of anticipation and trying to guess what they were getting for Christmas, coupled with their embarrassment at not knowing what everyone else seems to know, has left your loved ones bedridden- unable to shop, sew or craft.
Council of Physicians-North Pole”
I admit, my family knows how to get the full measure of Christmas jollies in a myriad of economical ways….
Each year, around this time, I think back to past Christmases. Especially since the passing of my Dad and my oldest son. Each season, I sink into the wishful thinking that they will magically appear and I’ll find the past three years were really just a bad dream, from which I awoke to find my whole family assembled for the holidays. We shall laugh and joke about what a dweeb I am for having such horrific dreams.
To save myself from this obvious waste of wishing energy, I instead focus on my favorite Christmas memories, of which I have quite a few. And, interestingly enough, few of them have to do with “out of this world” gifts, although if you would count the man hours and love put into some of the gifts I have received, I would estimate that I’ve been the recipient of some of the most expensive gifts in the world.
Mostly, my memories revolve around events and the people who perpetrated them – – Here’s a list:
- You always knew what gifts Dad got for you – they were either wrapped in the bag from the store, or secured with gray tape.
- Coming up with funny little poems and short stories to attach to gag gifts or explain the gift that didn’t make it through the postal system in time to arrive for Christmas.
- Keeping Christmas Eve dinner warm, waiting for the bachelor of the group to finish his Christmas shopping and get back to the house.
- Positioning each ornament, just so, to get the resultant, “Oh sis, your tree is sooooo pretty” from my Mom. Years when we have not had Christmas at my house, she still travels sometime during the season, just to admire my tree. She understands that her admiration of it is part of my Christmas gifts. I understand the sacrifices she makes to give me that gift.
- Making cookies and then threatening the men in my house with their lives if they eat all of them before company arrives. And slugging back into the kitchen to make second and third batches….
- The gift of cooking, cleaning and support the men in my house never fail to give me when, despite my best planning, I’m furiously finishing crafted gifts the last 3 days before company arrives….And the forgiveness from them when I’m cranky from sewing or hot-gluing 20 hours straight….
Interestingly, my least fond memory is the year we were in high cotton and I giddily shopped til I dropped, getting everything I could think of for the boys. Sadly, on Christmas morning, they were worn out 1/2 way through opening and just wanted to play with their new things. Family members kept saying, “No, you can play with that later, you need to open this one…” This was especially traumatic on the two-year old.
I’ve never made that mistake again, even in years when I could have afforded too….
This year, Mom and I started giving each other gifts when we got them. Her afghan to match her new couch has been in use since Thanksgiving, instead of waiting for her to open it on her birthday, which is 2 days before Christmas. And I’m using the new kitchen tools she picked up for me…
But we can’t quite get away from the traditions of teasing, “I know what you’re getting for Christmas” and insisting there must be something under the tree on Christmas morning….
Long live Christmas traditions.