The tree is lit and laden with treasured ornaments. The cookies are baked, their delicious aroma wafting through the house. The gifts are wrapped and ribboned. It’s beginning to look a lot like –
Uh, sorry, but no. At least, not yet. Perhaps by the time you read this I will have everything under control. It seems there are a million things to do, tiny but important details to take care of in preparation for the Big Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It was so much simpler when we were children, wasn’t it?
When I look back upon my childhood I tend to focus on what was best. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Brockton, Massachusetts, specifically Campello. My father was a cabinet maker and my mother was a data entry operator. I am the eldest of their four children. Christmas was important to us because we were Catholics and my parents raised us in the faith. Each year they made sure to give us a memorable holiday, and my recollections of these special times taught me how to create memorable holidays for my own child. Our Christmas memories are a reflection of our past and a blueprint for our future.
I remember Christmas as a magical time, full of wonder and delight, dreams and wishes. My parents did everything for us, and made sure we had all the fixings of the holiday: the fresh-cut pine tree glittering with lights, tinsel and garland, surrounded by piles of gifts wrapped in shiny paper and bedecked with pretty bows, a feast of roast turkey or ham with all the accompaniments, lasagna, meatballs, and desserts to last a week.
Each holiday was special, filled with love and laughter, the door open to friends and family who shared the holiday with us. We made memories, fuel for the future for when we grew up and spread apart due to marriage and jobs. These memories also helped to buffer the loss of too many of our loved ones who departed this world, including my precious dad. So many of these memories warm my heart, and bring my family closer to me in spirit. I’ll share a few. Continue reading