The holidays can be a really fun time of year. Enjoying a spread of food you may not usually make, including baked goods, seeing family and friends and potentially travelling a bit (for those who are brave enough to try it, at the moment). Depending on your familial and faith-based background, your celebration may differ in some ways but I think we can all agree that the average person has a tendency to enjoy the holidays, even if for no other reason than getting some time off and being at home.
The “hows” and “whys” for that enjoyment have changed over the decades. I remember making my way through the Christmas break as a child… My mother would bake a mass amount of food, including sweets and meal-based foods. We almost ALWAYS hosted Christmas at our home, despite growing up in a reasonably small apartment. Between my illnesses and my brothers and my father working shift work, my mother was left with all of the preparations as well as worrying whether or not one of us would need a hospital trip over the break.
The big thing is that I didn’t have a care in the world, back then. I indulged in as much food as my body could hold (despite the fact carb-counting wasn’t a thing for me and my Diabetic system was terribly balanced), I watched Christmas movies, including National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Die Hard. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Yes, it is… YES, IT IS!!! Ahem, I’m getting off track here. My point is that my biggest concern was staying up late enough on Christmas Eve to make it in Christmas and/or get through midnight mass (my mother is Catholic and attendance was a must).
Enjoying the holidays through adulthood becomes a very different kind of creature. Besides worrying about the state of one’s household, including bills, job retention and the state of the world, it’s a pretty fair assumption to say that many if not most can’t enjoy the benefits of having no cares as they make their way through the holidays; a fact aggravated by the aspect that once you reach adulthood, you’re the one paying for all of those lovely gifts under the tree. It makes quite a difference. It also becomes a matter fo the household turning into a disaster area as it gets bogged down with stray wrapping paper, cardboard and packaging that swarms our bins a week earlier than pick-up and kids who refuse to eat because they’re too excited to play with the new swag they’ve acquired.
Don’t even get me started on the FACT that it creates an added amount of stuff in the household. I’ve always been something of a minimalist, and increasing the amount of junk we have in the household does not for a pleasant holiday, make. But there’s no denying that the look of sheer happiness on my sons’ faces as they opened up their gifts was heartwarming. My oldest son left out a “bowl of cookies and milk” for Santa, a benefit I never had since my belief in the red, fat man never took hold as a child.
I have a deep and distinct gratitude for everything my parents did for us throughout the holidays. Now that I have the adult’s perspective, I can certainly appreciate the time, money and effort that goes into the holidays. And we don’t even host our entire family the way my parents did. Life was a bit different back then, since most households included one stay-at-home parent, but I can’t imagine that made it THAT much easier, especially considering the handful I was as a child. I’m grateful to my parents for everything they did for us back then, and it allows me a bit of perspective as my children grow up. Take time to thank your folks for the things you DID have during the holidays. I know, I will. Food for thought… ☯️