“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” “For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.” I think there might be a song for any sentiment I could possibly wish to convey. There’s even one about “Last Christmas” and due to covid, that title takes on a new meaning because last Christmas was one for the books.
People constantly talk about the good old days and a simpler time. Well, last year, in the middle of covid, we had a simpler Christmas. For the most part, we couldn’t travel; parties and gatherings were non-existent. Events were canceled, and our calendars were blank.
Because family was not arriving to join us as they normally do, I made a list of things Paul, Madison, and I were going to do together. My plan was to have dinner and watch a Christmas movie one night; go riding around neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights and decorations another night, and for the piece de resistance: we would have a gingerbread house decorating contest.
I’m sure you can imagine the plan was greeted with some push back from my family. In fact, they griped and groused all day long when the calendar rolled around to the date set aside for the gingerbread houses. “We’re only doing this for 15 minutes tops,” they said. I finally was reduced to pulling the “after all I do for you” card.
The time came; I put on Christmas music, and we sat down. Within one minute, they were completely and utterly engrossed in the project. The laughter and teasing and competitiveness began. About an hour later they asked if we could each decorate another one. You can almost feel the “I TOLD YOU SO” coming from me, can’t you?
So even though things were different last year, and maybe not the way we would have preferred them to be, it was a good Christmas. We made time for each other; we planned (and followed through) with activities in a way we rarely do.
This year is different yet again. The calendar is full of events and parties and things both fun and obligatory. It’s like we’re trying to make up for the things we missed last year, and the days are slipping past quickly. There are only a few more days till Christmas, and there’s still so much to do.
While I do love Christmas activities and plans, a little part of me misses that calmness of last year, the extra effort we took to make sure it was a good holiday with time spent together.
Covid has taken a lot from us all. It has taken loved ones, our health, our jobs; it has rearranged our schedules and how we do things. And among many other things, it has taken away our sense of safety.
But for our little family, it gave us a peek into a time when families spent more time together, when we made an honest effort to have experiences together instead of just stacking more presents under the tree. And that will always be a good thing.
So as the clock ticks down to Christmas this year, my wish for you is health, safety, love, and time to be present with those precious people in your life, so that the next time you look back on “Last Christmas” you do so with a heart full of love, joy, and fond memories.