As have many of you, I have lived the holidays through many differing decades. As a child, I was blessed with a mother who created a complete enchantment that I can never hope to duplicate. As a young adult, it was all about visits home, seeing sisters and friends, and seeing what people thought of my gifts. As I grew, the holidays became a time of travel to see aging parents and to make sure they were not alone. Then the tides turned, and my children came to me—so for the first time, I was the one creating the holiday celebrations. What a creative joy on so many levels! Everyone came. I was experienced enough to create a pretty good holiday bliss.
And now, times are tougher. Not everyone can travel every year. I know I can’t. The definition of family morphs each year to include whoever we can get on whatever night they might be able to come or we might be able to travel. And yet. And yet….
Maybe now I am learning more about what matters at the holidays, now that it is tough, not a given, so incomplete from what I wish it were. But the holidays still come. Do I yank out the full regalia? Do we spend that contentious, argumentative, tempers-flaring day of fussing with the tree stand and putting the goddamn lights on the tree without killing ourselves or falling off a ladder? Do the 12 storage boxes of Christmas ornaments come up from the basement one more time. Or don’t I care that much this year?
And there is the crux. Caring. Trying. Not surrendering. This year I have decided to pull out the stops no matter how silly, no matter who is not here.
But that’s me. Tell me a story of the essence of your holiday celebration. Tell us what it means to you and how you end up celebrating these amazing, annual holidays.