Christmas conjures up so many memories for me. Some wonderful…some good…some not-so-good and some sad, and usually I push the not-so-good ones or sad ones to the back of my mind and try and forget about them.
My tree in Valley Village.
I wonder if you feel the same way?
Recently memories of Christmas’s Past have been flooding my mind as I make my way to new traditions and experiences in my new home. And what’s become crystal clear for me is that we must hold on to our memories because they’re the fabric of our lives…they’re our history…they’re what shaped us and even if they aren’t so great…they truly matter. (Photos below are of my family over the years.)
Kaitlyn, my nephew and niece.
My childhood Christmases were filled with family and presents and good food and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and they were really, really fun. Oh and skiing was part of Christmas, too. We decorated the house and listened to Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and of course…Mr. Sinatra, beginning the day after Thanksgiving. I still love the old Christmas songs. I mean…will there ever be another Dean Martin? I seriously doubt it.
I think Dean Martin’s voice is dreamy.
Somehow each and every Christmas we managed to be at my grandmother’s home for Christmas Eve and then we woke up in our beds on Christmas morning…because otherwise Santa wouldn’t know where to find us, and then we drove again to my other grandmother’s for Christmas Dinner. I loved it!
My brother’s family… Taken before I had a decent camera.)
And one year the baton passed to my Mom…at some point the baton gets passed and then everyone comes to your house for Christmas festivities.
And then there’s always the year when you lose a loved one and you realize that there’s an empty place at the table and secretly I always hoped that my grandmother or grandfather or aunt would know how much I missed each one. (It’s hard to write this because I have teary eyes, but I have to because I’m guessing that you’ve experienced this, too.) The twinkle in my grandfather’s eyes…my Nonny’s funny jokes…it’s the little things that matter…never the actual things.
I’m not sure when Christmas and I became holiday partners. I think it happened gradually, but this Christmas girl…loves that it moved my way. I kind of do an over-the-top Christmas.
Yes…I have fairies on my mantel.
And then there’s a year when your whole family is turmoil because once again a dramatic change has happened…and nothing will ever be the same again. But then…we weren’t promised “the same,” were we? And we adjusted and somehow made it all work, but things were never the same.
My Dad loved Christmas and I sure do miss him.
My pal Bob…my former father-in-law who changed my life forever.
I didn’t know that Christmas 2013 would be last one in the home I had lived in for so long. I wonder if I would have done anything differently? Doubtful. And I would lying if I told you that sometimes I don’t get melancholy at holidays. Last year I fought it and now I embrace these feelings because it’s part of my journey…it’s part of my reality and when I embrace and honor these feelings I come out the other side with my soul in tact and once again…I’m reminded that there are enormous blessings in loving my family and friends this much and of course, missing them is part of my story.
I hear from readers who have moved to Franklin all the time that they feel like something is wrong because there are waves of sadness that arise out of nowhere. And I just want you to know that what you’re feeling is not strange…or in any way abnormal. Give yourself time and ease up on the holiday pressure.
We begin creating new traditions and memories and maybe this time…with eyes wide open knowing that nothing ever stays the same and our Christmas memories are special blessings. Franklin is certainly very different from Los Angeles and it’s a magical little part of the country and I will say that there’s something pretty special about a Tennessee Christmas!
Sassy and I wish you and your family a bright and shiny Christmas.