“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”
— Erma Bombeck
Some gather on the eve and some on the day. Some prefer to leave home, and others to stay. Whatever your preferences or plans may be, Christmas is a time of hopes, dreams and glee.
There you have it. Ample evidence of why I never made it as a poet. Still, I try.
What I meant to say is that I hope you enjoy this Christmas day — and every day — in whatever way is most enjoyable to you and yours.
If you are going to travel far and wide, or simply across your very small town, I wish you safe travels.
If you plan to stay home I hope you stay snug.
If you are going to eat turkey, ham, lasagna, or even just heat up a pizza, I hope you are blessed with plenty to eat and perhaps share with others.
If the gifts you give and receive are big, small or nothing at all, I hope they make you feel that all is right with your world.
More and more as I grow older I find that there is no “right” way to do something as important as the holidays. Each of us has our own ideas, ideals, trends and traditions.
Some adore the tried and true. We recreate year after year the exact same activities in the exact same order as our parents and grandparents before us. There is a comforting sameness in that.
Others are not so inclined, or blessed, to want to embrace those classic traditions. They grow, they change and they mix it up. Families shrink and families grow — by birth, by marriage, by blending.
In doing so, the family tree not only branches off in new directions but grafts to other trees entirely. As children grow up and become parents themselves, they bring in-laws and others to be considered, and accounted for, too.
One day you wake up on a much-anticipated holiday to find that there is no place for you at the “kids table.” You are, in fact, in charge of the kids.
One minute we are giggling and carrying on and hiding vegetables under our napkins while trying to get our cousin to squirt milk out his nose.
In a blink, if we are lucky, we are dicing vegetables into tiny bits for our own kids and threatening anyone who endeavors to spew milk out of any orifice with grave consequence indeed.
For many this past year was particularly rough. Emotionally and financially, so many had to struggle to keep the faith and not lose hope. As a result, it’s been reported that many will cut back on Christmas this year.
Cut back on Christmas? How do you do that? Do you have a little less faith? A little less wonder? A little less magic?
That’s surely something no one can afford.
No, I think people may have cut back on Christmas presents, perhaps. Christmas spending, certainly. But to cut back on Christmas itself? Somehow I doubt that.
The fact that so many will still gather to celebrate, give thanks and be with those they love — in spirit if not reality is what makes Christmas special.
One of my favorite, classic Christmas songs contains the line “we need a little Christmas now!” and I couldn’t agree more.
After a long, hard, strenuous and stressful year for so many of our friends and neighbors the real gifts you give this year will be yourself, your time, your thoughts and prayers. Give charity, generosity and love for those who need and want them.
More important are your thoughts and prayers for those who might believe they don’t need them but certainly do.
Be you here or there know that everywhere the real meaning of Christmas is believing in greater acts of faith and selflessness than we can even imagine.
As Christmas dawns again, God willing, what I wish most of all for everyone is a gift that is absolutely free, always available and 100 percent returnable, too. When given it always comes back to you.
As you go or stay, laugh and play, remember that there is no one “right” way to “do” Christmas. There is, however, one “wrong” way and that is to ever confuse cutting back on the financial aspect of the holiday with cutting back on faith.