December 26th, 2011

Making Memories… New Kinds of Memories

Making memories at Christmas

Making memories at Christmas

To me, Christmas has always been about making memories that will last a lifetime. I already have a lifetimes’s worth of memories… hearing Santa’s jingle bells right outside my window as a child… and what about the year I heard him filling the stocking hanging over my head (we didn’t have a fireplace)?

Sipping eggnog with my parents while decorating the Christmas tree… my little brother almost deliriously yelling, “A crazy car! A crazy car!” one Christmas morning… the Christmas we had the front door open and short sleeves on.. in Rochester, New York. Another warm holiday in Florida at my retired parents’ house right after my brother’s (grown now) first wedding… with my dad doing Mae West impressions, all of us laughing hysterically while playing games..

Speaking of games, for years my siblings, parents and our families always got together sometime around the holidays, and games were always on the agenda… and we are a competitive group! I have many memories around playing games… my daughter Jenn & I ruled the Pictionary challenges!

The days both when I was a child and then when I had my own children living with me were filled with magical Christmases. Baking cookies, hanging lights, making and wrapping presents, hiding them or disguising them… but when my children grew up and we moved far away from each other, the magic evaporated almost in an instant. My siblings live far away too. None of us had the money to get together every year and each year our past memories seem a bit more distant.

Decorating the tree

Decorating the tree

My husband just doesn’t have the same feelings about Christmas that I do, and he misses his children and extended family too, as I do. I hoped that we would make our own magical memories, but somehow that never seems to happen. We  both long for something we can’t have and that we can’t quite find with each other. So mostly at Christmas I feel a little sad.

This Christmas was the first one totally without my mother, and that makes it even sadder, though honestly she hardly remembered our past memories any more anyway. But still…

But somehow, out of all this sadness, I managed to find that we HAD created some new kinds of Christmas memories this year. They’re not quite as sweet and certainly not magical like the ones you have with young children, but still nice, pleasant warm memories.

Little Button Pouches

Little Button Pouches

Out of my grieving period came an intense focus on creating my own handcrafted gifts for my loved ones, most of whom are far away from me. I worked like a crazy woman for 6 weeks and managed to create gifts I was excited to give away. My cousins and aunt included hubby and me in their annual low-key Christmas get together, which managed to actually be on Christmas this year.

And you know what? It was a wonderful afternoon… surrounded by loving family, plenty of humor and stories. And though their Christmas celebrations and memories are very different from the ones I’ve created over my lifetime, we still managed to enjoy each other’s company, had tons of delicious food and exchanged some very interesting White Elephant gifts. In fact, as you can see below, hubby and I scored the best gifts of the night!

So I guess I can say we created some very pleasant new Christmas memories this year. Would I rather have been with my children and my new grandchild, reliving all of our past joys and laughs? Certainly… but in lieu of that, this was a pretty good start on a new type of memory.

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