So, Christmas is over. Yay for post-holiday letdown.
After careful study, I’ve decided that of all the holiday days, I like Christmas Eve the best. I’m one of those people who like the buildup to an event better than the actual event, because once the event is over, it’s over. On Christmas Eve, everyone is all keyed-up and dressed up, and the kids are still on their good behavior, and there is much anticipation. Services at church tend to be celebratory in tone, and candlelit to boot.
On Christmas Eve, we all gather at one of my cousins’ house for food and gifts, just like when I was a kid and we all gathered at my grandparents’ house. My grandparents had one of those silver trees with the big light that shone on it, rotating colors from red to blue to green to yellow and around again. I remember being quite fascinated with it.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized the need to keep my family in touch. I think for an only child the extended family is especially dear, since an only doesn’t have siblings for family connections. I’m fortunate to have a large extended family, one that my husband (who is one of five children) is especially fond of and happy to spend time with. I sometimes think he enjoys my family more than he does his own. I know I do.
Christmas Day, aka Is That All There Is, is something of a deep sigh to me. All the weeks of preparation and wrapping and cooking are pretty much shot to hell within a short period of time, particularly when you have a kid opening gifts. (Confession: I am one of those annoying sorts who opens gifts at the seams. I like to drag it out.)
This is the point at which the holiday starts to go awry for a lot of people. Take a few mismatched relatives, a cold day that forces people to stay inside, and add some booze, and the next thing you know you have a free-for-all taking place in the living room. I suppose it’s a good thing that turkey tends to make people sleepy. Sleeping people rarely get into fights. I’m just saying.
I am of the opinion that there are two rules the world should abide by. One is that no one gets sick on their birthday. And the other is that no one dies on Christmas Day.
This year Christmas Day was a bittersweet one. My father’s youngest brother passed away after a long and arduous illness. He and my dad were very close. Now my uncle joins their oldest sister in… heaven? Limbo? Paradiso? Wherever it is that you go when it’s all over here on earth. So now we have the oldest and the youngest, the two bookends, waiting for the rest of the books.
It’s been a hard weekend.