Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Holiday Meaning

It seems a lot of people feel stressed out over Christmas. Many are turned off by how commercial it is, and they are disgusted with the debt and waste. But when I was growing up, Christmas meant so much more than the stuff. When I look back, it wasn't the presents that made me happy. It was the family gatherings, the food, loud talking and visiting (which I complained about and now I’m glad I had to go).

As an adult, there has been the stress of shopping, cleaning, money and fatigue. Still, the older I get the more I know why Christmas matters to me: it is the giving and receiving joy, it’s memories building, and it’s loving people while I can. I’ve lost a lot of friends and family over the years, and during the holidays, their absences is magnified. Now when I think about Christmas, what I miss most is the large gatherings and thinking about who is no longer here. I think about family I grew up with, members who even if we weren’t particularly close, I realize how those holiday get-togethers impacted how I feel about family and other important relationships in my life.

The contrast between the holidays I experienced growing up and what my reality is today is so sharp that in recent years, I find myself sometimes sitting alone this time of year and mourning, sometimes crying, wishing I could have past holiday times back. I’ve lost so many people I care about during the holidays that I think more about loss than debt this time of year. I think more about creating memories with my family than shopping. I think more about remembering to be grateful for this year because I don’t know who might not be here next year.

This is the time of year, when I want to be especially caught up in what is good and right about us.


Read more holiday reflections from Sunday Scribblings members.

11 comments:

Goodnight, Mom said...

Susan,

It does sound like we had very similar memories.

You're right about commercialism these days. It's amazing. We just have to work hard to instill the right values in our children as early as possible.

For example, my 3 yr. old son asked Santa for a bigger train set. He got a gorgeous one for Hanukkah from his grandparents but he thought it was not big enough so that's what he asked santa for. Ugh. That brought about about seven discussions on what he wants/needs/other needy children, etc.

It is a constant struggle.

BTW, I've seen you before on my best friend, Jan's site (Poet Mom).

Merry Christmas to you!

Kamsin said...

Memories are so much more precious than any gift! How many Christmas presents do we actually remember a year later but the love and warmth will stay with us year after year.
Have a wonderful Chistmas!

Anonymous said...

I was having similar thoughts this morning... so much used to be about family and togetherness... simpler things, simpler times... a hug would make me happy. Today I can't give that to my daughter because our family is so distant. If only I could turn back the clock, in some ways!!!

Merry Christmas!!
Dee
http://pavinganewroad.wordpress.com/

...eatsbugs said...

Holidays have turned into this for me, too. I still have my days when I want to run away from everyone, but who doesn't? I find if I focus on the conversations we have around dinner and the comfortable silences, I enjoy myself, and it makes the meanwhiles that much more bearable.

Hope your Christmas is good, or at least wintery.

Sandy Carlson said...

Being caught up in what is good and right about us is the best idea. I've been thinking the best part about gifts as a kid was the wrapping paper--the mystery and surprise, the images and color. What was inside was so much less important than the very fact that someone loved me and thought about me. This is a wonderful post. Thanks, and Merry Christmas.

mariacristina said...

What a heart-felt, sincere essay about Christmas. I'm sorry you've lost so many people you love, and that you miss the bustle of lots of people.

As I write these words, people are gathered in my dining room, eating and talking, but I'm so tired from the last two days, I'm not even hungry! Here I am, holed up in my room, not mixing with the company.

I like Christmas, just not as much of it as others seem to like.

Granny Smith said...

This is poignant and east to identify with. I hope this Christmas day has been a happy one for you.

Kyra said...

Thank you for sharing your Christmas memories.... I too have fond memories of Christmas past.

Best,
Kyra

LittleWing said...

wow...how you spoke so beautifully of your experiences...i agree, losing friends and close family members...i always feel they are sitting next to me chatting away...sometimes close and loud...and then sometimes so very, very far away...thank you for your posts..i feel better already!

Redness said...

Good & right, me too! Hope your Christmas was just that and as perfect as mine!

writerwoman said...

Happy New Years!

From Poets Who Blog.