As I read blogs this morning, I came upon one that was very melancholy. She talked about childhood experiences at Christmas time and how she wanted to give her children memories like she had but didn't know how. That blog and the rain on Christmas made me sad and I started to cry b/c I too miss family that have gone to meet God.
I started remembering Christmas at my mom & dad's. Dad would play Scrooge and Bah Humbugged all the preparations. On Christmas eve he would retire to his room locking the door, and not be seen until the 26th. He refused to participate in the gift giving and only grandchildren could visit in private.
Yet, there would always be presents under the tree that seemed to appear by magic and had no giver name just the receiver. If someone unexpected came, there would be a gift under that tree for that person even if they arrived 5 minutes before we opened gifts but no on saw dad placing it.
After my dad died, an empty Scrooge box was placed under the tree in his memory. When the time for gift opening came it was filled with handmade gifts for everyone and extras again as if by magic.
The second memory I cherish is that of my younger brother putting on his Santa hat and Ho Ho Hoing while he passed out gifts. He made that time so special. I really miss him every Christmas since he died.
The third memory I have is that of my Aunt Von. She would make the most wondrous jello salad and banana nut bread. Her traditional present to me was 3 large loaves of banana nut bread that I didn't have to share with my hubby & children since they each got a small loaf. My traditional present to her was 3 gallons of shelled pecan halves given a week before Thanksgiving. I would spend hours shelling pecans starting in October thinking about her wonderful jello and bread.
I became the Scrooge of the family when my mom and brother died. I don't bah humbug or lock myself in a room like dad, but I don't participate well at large family gatherings usually. I make my appearance right before gift passing, staying on the outside of the family circle, and leave right after.
Why? Because it has become more about the presents than the thought and love of family. Too many times I watch as my handmade gifts get thrown in the corner while the store gifts get all the attention. Although, I have realized that by the end on the day, those are thrown in the corner too. Kids have too much stuff.
At first I would get my feeling hurt by the lack of appreciation of the hours spent making and thinking about each person. Then I stopped caring and did it for the joy of making those gifts. My grandchildren now know that each Christmas they will get a handmade gift - either an embroidered bath towel or an embroidered pillowcase or handmade pj pants- and that on their birthday a store bought gift will be given.
This year, I felt appreciated because my DSD#2 asked for towels as did my DGD#1 and DD#1. DD#2 was disappointed when I gave her pillowcases this year b/c she wanted me to embroider towels for her which I will do as soon as she brings them.
DGD#2 was excited that I gave her teal camo pillowcases since she thought she wouldn't be getting a gift since she got the Element in August.(She understands that I give to her all year round not just on one day!)
Well, Scrooge is going put the casserole in the oven and retire to the sewing studio!
Lator Tigers! Keep your Christmas STRESS FREE!