The last few days before Christmas always pack a punch with holiday traditions I must celebrate as if the world will stop if I don’t. Midlife has had a way of happily taking the angst down just a notch for me. I’m no longer sandwiched between the realities of aging parents and the make believe of the little ones. It’s all subjective now.
So these are the few things I must do the last couple of days before the 25th.
Watch Miracle on 34th Street. It’s A Wonderful Life gets all the glory, but in my opinion, nothing beats this gem of a story filmed in 1947. It’s about a man who proves to an ever-changing world he is the real Kris Kringle. I think of my dad who would cry every year at the end.
Family dinner out. The first year Lee and I were dating he took us out to dinner a couple of days before Christmas and now it’s a must on the list. It’s our version of a mini family vacation with all four of us in the same car and at the same table eating (a rare occasion at this stage in our lives). And it’s every bit as annoying as that longer, beloved trek since Dennis and Charlie still love to complain the entire evening and Lee, being an only child, still doesn’t get the dynamics. I wonder if they know how much this evening out means to me as it serves as a reminder that this new family of mine is precious to me?
Baking Christmas Braid. No one eats the candied green and red cherries except for me, but the rest is devoured in no time. It’s labor and time intensive and my one effort at Christmas to hang in the kitchen for a while. It’s what we eat on Christmas morning.
Peace on the little farm. While Thanksgiving means welcomed extended family around the dining room table in our house, Christmas eve and day have always been traditionally quiet with nothing but time that joyfully stands still. We play Jenga on Christmas eve and I barely get out of my pajamas the following day. Charlie and I will see our friends and neighbors, the Teagues, either at their end of the dirt road or ours at some point during the day. I’ll talk to my brother and my buddy, Debi. But that’s as social as I get.
I’ve let go of a few rituals as I’ve said goodbye to some people and places. I’ve learned this ever-changing world doesn’t stop spinning in its greased grooves when this happens. It just allows me more time to enjoy the meaning of the ones that have withstood all the changes in my life.
As Kris Kringle said in my beloved Miracle movie, “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.”
May your holiday traditions serve as a reminder of what is important to you throughout the year.
Make some good merry this holiday.
My love and hugs to each of you.