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A Christmas post

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I am not a Christmas kind of person. I am not a holiday of any kind or birthday person. I think that the root cause of this is a resentment of being told to be happy or jolly or send a card or buy gifts for someone on a particular day on somebody else’s schedule. And working in retail for years will suck holiday joy right out of you, although at the time I worked in retail I actually made more of an effort than I do now. The holiday malaise spread to all major holidays – Halloween, Easter, Independence Day…I tried a little harder when my mother-in-law was alive because she was so sad and depressed. Now we go to my family’s homes for Christmas and Thanksgiving and do little here at our home.

For years I felt guilty about this, but not badly enough that I could work up the effort to get back on the holiday bandwagon. Each loss has been felt particularly hard around Christmas. Death of family members, animal companions, friends, estrangements, complications.

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My sister and I will go to my Aunt Louise’s funeral on Tuesday. My Uncle Wilton, her husband of 65 years and my mother’s brother, passed away a month ago. They were both in their 80s and in bad health. Aunt Louise was especially sick and in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It could be said that she left us and has been stuck in a confused, angry, suffering jail of her own for some time now.

I have been pondering over my sudden desire to sing Christmas songs and decorate for Christmas this year, a desire that popped up last week. Now I wonder if this is my Aunt Louise’s last gift to me.

I associate some very happy Christmases with Aunt Louise and her family. Mama used to take me to Clemson the week before or after Christmas and I would get to play with my two younger cousins. I was a bit of a snot, I’ll admit, because I was the older one for a change, and I would always push my cousins to do things they weren’t allowed to do, like go down to the local creek. Aunt Louise was like, THE BEST mom ever. She didn’t yell and she didn’t try to force you to eat stuff you didn’t like. They had a big basement where we could make our own spook house and an RV and we would go to parks and ride around in the mountains. We picked blackberries. She gave us crafty projects to do. The first time I ever drew what I saw and not what I thought I saw was a portrait of my youngest cousin drawing me. She listened, really listened to children. She raised a very creative and loving family of six children. Wow.

So, thanks for the happy Christmas memories, Aunt Louise and Uncle Wilton. Thank you for returning the holiday spirit to me. I dedicate this Christmas to you.

Aunt Louise

Aunt Louise

Madge and Wilton Jones

Grandmother Jones and Uncle Wilton

2 thoughts on “A Christmas post”

  1. What a lovely post. I’m,sorry for your loss but glad that you have so many wonderful memories.
    I find with christmas that I just take it as it comes every year. Some years I do nothing, some years I decorate but feel like I’m just doing it for form’s sake and some years I really enjoy every single bit of it. This year seems to be one of the latter. I haven’t done much in the way of decorating yet but I will next weekend. One thing I have started to do since I moved to Germany is to decorate later and leave everything up until the end of January. Not having the religious superstitious (oops, I had to look up how to spell that properly, I may have had a glass of wine too many this evening!) aspect to force me to take everything down on 6 January anymore, I spent some time thinking about why and how I decorate. And if the origins of this mid-winter festival lay in bringing light inside during the darkest months, then it seemed to make no sense to me to take everything down right at the start of the dreariest, greyest month (even if technically the shortest day is in December, most of January feels exactly the same way!). So now I leave everything up until the end of January and I love coming home and switching on the lights when everything outside is dark and miserable.

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    1. I love the lights the most, and I think that I’ll leave the ones around the windows up throughout the year this coming year. I have four stockings that were made for us by two different friends who have left my world forever, and it is bittersweet to see them on the mantel, but good to remember them too. Another thing I did was to go through my Christmas decorations and put the ones that I don’t care about in the box to go to charity. Getting rid of the junk that meant nothing to me made me feel much better – got my Christmas decorations down to two storage boxes.

      I am happy to hear from you again and hope you have a great holiday!

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