Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking Back at Christmas

My dad always said December 26th was the saddest day of the year. I never questioned anything he said. He was a smart man. Sensitive, too!
However, until this year, I never felt that December 26th was particularly sad. When I was young, it was a bit of a let-down after all the build-up to Christmas. But after I had a family of my own and a lot of responsibilities, it was a huge relief when it was all over. I couldn’t wait to get the decorations down and the presents put away so we could get our lives back to normal. In recent years, though, I have enjoyed the week between Christmas and New Year's very much. It seemed restful after so much activity and Mr. H. and I took advantage and did only what pleased us.
But this year is different.
Yes, there was the big build-up: weeks of shopping, baking, decorating and getting ready for guests. It was tiring and I got very little sleep, but it didn’t matter. Everything had to be done by December 21st for us because that’s when our daughter and her family would be in from North Carolina. Having to be ready three days earlier than most people made it a little more difficult, but we knew we’d get it done in time. We always did.
Looking back, it already seems like a dream. My daughter, son-in-law and their two grown children arrived. We greeted them, had dinner, visited, laughed, talked and, along with some of our other children who stopped by, had a great evening!
The next evening, it was planned that the rest of the family would be here to celebrate, as most people do on Christmas Eve. My daughter and her family wanted to leave on the 23rd so they’d get back to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in their own home.
So, on the 22nd, a total of nineteen people, some of them little children, gathered in our home to eat, exchange gifts and celebrate. Although enjoyable, it was hectic, to say the least.
But it all went too fast!
And so... the next day, when our North Carolina family members drove out of the driveway waving goodbye and looking forward to another celebration at their home, Christmas was literally over for Mr. H. and me. We’d had our family celebration the night before and nobody would be back. They’d all planned their Christmas activities around being here when their sister and her family were here. Now, they had other places to go. In-laws to see. Friends to spend time with.
Christmas Eve was quiet for us – not at all like the noisy, chaotic ones from the past when all our children were at home and each one brought a friend or two to our celebration. Nothing like when both Mr. H’s and my parents were still with us and always a part of our Christmas Eve shindigs. So different from the Christmas Eves when we tip-toed to bed at daybreak to try for a little nap before the kids got up to open presents.
Not like that at all!
On Christmas Day, I prepared a nice dinner. Our eldest son came and ate with us and visited for several hours. It was enjoyable.
But when I awakened the next morning, it was December the 26th – the day my father had dubbed “the saddest day of the year” many years ago.
And, for the first time, I felt it! He was right. After weeks of preparation and expectation, it was over much too quickly and I felt sad. Empty.
It’s not supposed to be that way!

The Christmas Spirit is all about love. We should be filled with it throughout the season. Ideally, throughout the year.
To be without it is very sad, indeed!


Jane said...

I know that feeling you describe Peggy. I get it every year after the holidays. Good post/ said...

It's to commercial. sell,sell, sell. that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

Anonymous said...

Very nice peggy.

Jim said...

Touching. You and Mr. H must have felt lonely on Christmas Eve. Sorry. Maybe you could rearrange the plans next year.

Karen Voigt said...

I know the feelings that you described.

Claire Swenson said...

I think we moms feel December 26th the hardest. I don't like quiet after the children have gone.

Drema Ward said...

We are so fortunate to still have moms home to gather in at Christmas and New Years, even though she can't cook anymore we take it in and are together.

Peggy~ said...

Yes, you are very fortunate! I miss my mom most at Christmastime. She loved it!