Christmas was much the same as always this year, a memorable and marvelous family time. But for me, getting ready for Christmas was a little bit different.
Two grandsons helped me put the bows and Christmas balls on the shepherd’s hooks out front shortly after Thanksgiving. I enjoy other people’s early decorations, but no matter how nice the weather is I can’t quite bring myself to put Christmas decorations up before December.
Last year I learned my lesson about tip toeing through the ivy by myself when I landed on my posterior while attempting to put up the front yard Christmas decorations and landed on the handicapped list for awhile so I was grateful when they offered to help me this year.
We did get the handrail by the front steps wrapped with evergreen, but I didn’t get the red velvet bows on it until the week before Christmas. Even that was accomplished before we finally put the Santa figure on the front porch.
The Sunday before Christmas I finally put the silk poinsettias throughout the house and brought the little fiber-optic Christmas tree upstairs and plugged it in. There are always various Nativity sets on display throughout the house.
The larger Christmas tree with all the multicolored lights stayed, undecorated, in the basement. It wasn’t because I no longer enjoy such things. It just seemed like too much work for such a short time.
For the first time I finally understood my mother and her seeming lack of interest in decorating for Christmas after my dad died.
The first year I sent the kids over to decorate for her, and after the season was over they went back and put everything away for another year.
She obviously enjoyed the decorations, but the next year she said no thank you, and was quite content with her little ceramic tree. Now I know she still loved the Christmas season and the excitement that went with it, but she was content to be an observer rather than an active participant.
In many ways I guess I am like my mother, but I am still not content to be just an observer of the greatest season of the year. I am definitely still an active participant.
On the day after Thanksgiving I was out there with the other early shoppers. I was with the family shoppers at the breakfast shopping strategy session, and I enjoyed more shopping after breakfast.
Watching the little ones, talking with them, and listening to them as they make their Christmas plans is great. Our four-year-old is able to identify every commercial for kids on the television and does so from another room when he hears them by saying, “I want that…“ and finishing the sentence by saying the name of the item.
But when my daughter had a little Christmas party for him and the other little one she baby sits they were both absolutely thrilled with every little gift they received. They proclaimed each one just what they always wanted. That’s exactly what our kids did years ago on Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve is still a whirlwind of excitement, but it’s at my daughter’s home instead of mine. On Christmas day we have dinner at another daughter’s home, and I thoroughly enjoy every bit of it just as much as I ever have.
You see, Christmas never changes. But the roles we play in Christmas do change.
I would like to thank all of you for the cards, letters, and comments you have shared with me this year, and I do wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published Dec. 27, 2007.