Holidays like Christmas and New Years shine brighter or darker depending on your life stage and outlook perspective.
If you have little ones to gift shop for, cook for you get caught up with the ho ho ho spirit of the Christmas season. Helping write letters to Santa. Leaving out cookies and milk, an encouraging note for last minute brownie points for the big guy in red velvet and fur with the boisterous flying reindeers.
While witnessing a child’s excitement and wide eyed wonder it is impossible to not remember your parents, grandparents, other older family members, neighbors and school teachers having a hand at creating the same Christmas magic for you.
Growing up in a small Maine town, everyone is very inter-connected.
Wired pretty much with the same family values, traditions, holiday rituals. Sitting a few pews over during the church Christmas pageant. One by one lighting candles around a balsam fir richly decorated sanctuary while sinking tried and tested, old favorite Christmas songs. Out in front of their Maine homes stringing up Christmas lights to add to the twinkle of the season. Making more of an effort for any kids in the small town audience. Or to rekindle the spirit of past Christmas of their own in the decorating process inside and out of their houses.
The coconut covered bon bons, peanut brittle, divinity fudge, pin wheel date filled and frosted sugar cookies my mom would love to make during the weeks leading up to Christmas were special. Banana breads, other passed down holiday food recipes for sweets carefully prepared, wrapped up with festive trimmings. And delivered one by one in care package fashion. My secretary at work says she misses “Nana’s” Christmas goodies. My kids, I do too.
Where son number one works at A Basin Colorado ski area winters, he says an eighty something year old couple swish swish down his mountain.
And the lady half of the couple creates the same vintage, style holiday survival, enhancement packages of sweets. And each lift operator, mountain resort worker gets their own box to enjoy. It reminds him of Nana even though she has been gone for years. This year’s box will help salve, bag balm the bitter sweet feelings the much appreciated goodies evoke. He is looking forward to that woman’s smile, love and attention. That may be coming again to brighten another Christmas away from home town Maine.
In Maine snow flakes come in different sizes. Delivered in different speeds and amounts. In December when slowly drifting bigger, lighter flakes fall under warm, glowing street lights I think of my Dad’s father. Laying in Madigan Hospital run slowly dying of throat cancer. And my brothers’ nightly visits up the big front granite steps. A parent holding my hand as a small child.The room smelling of Cepacol and his hacking, labored breathing making me feel helpless, uncomfortable. Not how I remembered Grampy with a dress hat, tie, sweater and love of playing checkers.
Worrying if Grampy was going to witness another visit from Santa or not.
Seeing others cousins, family members with long faces and not talking much. It was my first introduction to death, which we were taught with routine visits to the graveyard to plant headstone flowers is part of life. Reminded to celebrate life, family and days with blue skies, bright sunshine and perfect health. That don’t happen every day in Maine, any where forever.
Embrace the happy memories of Christmas.
Make New Year’s resolutions that involve others, less of your own wishes, desires, gains. Reach out and mend strained or broken relationships. Have yourself a holly jolly Christmas, Happy New Year this year. Ring the Salvation Army fund raising kettle bell with a friend, or family member.
Without fan fare, do whatever you can to brighten the Christmas of someone you know with a son or daughter away. A missing parent lost too close to the holiday this year. Or with family overseas in the military and gone. Pass on the trappings, experiences of Christmas pass to those around you. For ideas on how to enhance their own.
Everyone in our state is worried, praying for an Orrington Maine mother this year who is suffering the gruesome loss of her three kids and husband in a recent fire. Or directed toward a local man burned in a car accident. In a coma, missing both feet, on a long straight up hill recovery from burns to much of his body lying in a Boston hospital bed. Hoping the good past Christmas memories can sustain and lift up the heavy, broken spirit horror they struggle with that must be causing deep depression. Thick dark clouds over their holiday season. Hoping to just get this year behind them. Prayers for families enduring divorce and the hardship it causes in the split up, highly emotional rift too.