Holidays take on a different meaning for everyone. It’s an individual response of built up experiences on certain days.
Christmas is a week away. Last night my husband and I finally put lights on the small spruce that we picked out the Saturday before. I smiled and bounced a little as we each chose one ornament to hang. (I’ll continue decorating today as I have time.) He laughed and said that I get funny around Christmas. My response every year is that Christmastime is special. He understands, but doesn’t have a deep connection to any holiday that doesn’t involve camping.
I decided to ask myself why I feel this holiday should be so magical, and posted my reasons on Facebook.
“- It’s my family taking a twinkling scenic detour while driving to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s home on Christmas Eve, my mom telling dad to slow down at every extravagantly lit yard so we could appreciate the owner’s handiwork.
– It’s the cut-out cookies that my sister and I helped to make and decorate while listening to my Grandma’s favorite Christmas tunes (a gift to her from my Grandpa), my mom wiping an occasional tear away when she thought we weren’t looking.
– It’s a grandmother who lives only in other people’s memories. According to my older family members, this woman deserved sainthood and she had a very special glow around Christmas.
– It’s seeing your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins at their merriest.
– It’s remembering each ornament’s story as you hang it on the tree.
– It’s singing carols with your classmates in lace or velvet Christmas dresses and itchy sweaters, waving at your parents and grandparents in the crowd.
– It’s the hope that your children will feel the magic of the season, just as you did year after year.”
The post received some positive attention, but only from a certain group – people who had similar Christmas experiences as I did. It dawned on me that not everyone celebrated like my family did.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my husband what his holidays were like. His answers mainly come in shrugs, sometimes he tells me short snippets of being at his grandparents’ house. It’s clear that his holidays weren’t like mine, or perhaps they were similar but the impressions of happiness were lost on him.
I have to remind myself that not everyone had the means or the family to create magic during this time of year. Also, some people just don’t celebrate Christmas or any corresponding holiday.
I love to reminisce, but I think that the holidays should always come as a reminder to be humble and kind. I have my own reasons to be happy about Christmas. Those memories are the only motivation I need to simply spread cheer when I can. I can’t make everyone’s Decembers magical, but I do have the power to make someone smile each day.