As I prepared myself today for Christmas, it suddenly came to me how Mr. Dickens could be inspired to write 'A Christmas Carol'. As I listend to some of the old Christmas Carols, memories of all of my Christmases came flooding back to me. My Mother, Father, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles all came marching back, like the ghosts in Mr. Dickens classic tale. I could see them all, just as they were when I was a child; they all loved Christmas so much. Everyone of them dressed in their best clothes and made 'The Rounds', visiting each others homes for some good cheer and Christmas Spirits. Later on, we would all gather at my Grandmothers house for a huge Christmas festa of several courses. We would start with antipasto, then have chicken, then Macaroni and meat. Then, we would all rest a bit and then have the main course, a turkey with everything that went along with it. Then, the salad. Later on, we would have desserts and nuts. We ate like kings and queens on the holidays, and we were all together and glad for it. My family loved and fought and argued, and loved. It was like nothing I would ever experience in my adult life.
Later, I thought of raising our children, and the many nights that we spent putting together toys until the wee hours of the morning, wrapping gifts until the dawn was starting to break. It was all worthwhile to see their shining faces in the light cast by the Christmas Tree. We were a mixed family; Sheryl ia Jewish and so are the girls, I was raised Catholic and my boys were baptized Catholic. Somehow, we made it work with no trouble. We would light the Menorah, and have our Christmas too. It was never easy financially, but somehow we always had a great Christmas for the kids. I can hear their squeals of delight in my mind, just out of earshot now, but still fresh in my memory. They are part of the ghosts that still haunt my Christmas, in a good way.
Now, it's just Sheryl and my sister Alma and I in this house where we raised five children. They all have their own lives now, and for the most part, don't feel the need like we used to to be with our parents on Christmas. Danielle, our youngest, still does. Jayson, my youngest son, makes his way up from NYC for the day. Our other two daughters both have four children, and it's too much of a hassle for them to come over on Christmas. Some time in January, Sheryl will bring them their gifts. It's sad, really, but that's the way it is these days. I guess that's why I am conflicted on Christmas. I love the spirit of the holiday, but the ghosts of our past Christmases still haunt me, and always will.
Merry Christmas, everyone.