I get Sentimental and Reflective during the Holidays. It starts at Thankgiving, continuing thru Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I have Traditions during these “Holiday Seasons” that bring me Joy and Tears. There’s this Stephen Curtis Chapman Christmas song that touches me so deeply it makes me weep. And amidst all my crazy outings and web site searches for just the right present for everyone on my list, I think about Christmases past as well as friends and family members near and far — and those special people who’ve departed this earth for a new adventure.
For me, Christmas isn’t the brightly wrapped packages, though I do enjoy them. It’s about a greater Gift than something found under a Tree. It’s about Love and Connecting to those dear to me. I think about the Swiss Cheese my Uncle David used to bring and the great hugs he gave, the Slippers my Gram made me, the smell of my Grandfather’s pipe and that personal Coconut Cream pie my Grandmother made. I think about the Ray Conniff Singers and sneaking downstairs to listen to the GrownUps play Tripoly. And I think about waiting on the stairs to come down and see what Santa brought.
Every Christmas for the past 17 years I’ve visited Santa at the Somerset Collection with at least one of my kids. Afterward, I write an email note and send it with that year’s photo. I have a dear friend — my Albion “big brother” — who tells me how much he looks forward to that letter. It’s truly the only time we Connect all year long. It’s a Special moment when I see his email pop up in my In Box … to hear how he’s doing — how is family is doing.
I have other Traditions like that … I’m sure we all do. And they aren’t about ribbons or packages. They are about the people I share Time with.
So many people come and go quickly. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same — a quote from Flavia I discovered during my Kappa Alpha Theta years at Albion College. But that quote has a part three. See, some of those people leave deep footprints, shape us, and perhaps … though we don’t want them to … eventually choose to move on down their path.
The Gifts these people give us may come in glittery wrapping paper and become treasures of the heart. I have at least three bracelets made up of black and creme plastic beads. My son gave them to me when he was four or five. He cashed in prize tokens at GameWorks for them. Pretty sure they were made in Japan … the lettering on the beads gives me that impression.
I have other items like those bracelets … a sparkly ring my daughter bought at her school Santa’s Workshop a now tarnished charm I added to a silver chain given to me by a friend after a play we did together, a “cruise director” Boyd’s Bear my brother and sister-in law gave me — guess that means I’m their favorite social director, letters from girls I performed with and a doll their mom made me, a play which a friend wrote and gave me, and a very out of date ski sweater given to me by my husband.
I still wear the bracelets. And the ring and necklace. Heck, I still wear that sweater — it’s super warm and looks good with leggings now that I removed the mega shoulder pads. The Cruise Director sits on my desk while the Maria doll has a place on my dresser. I read the play and the letters from time to time. Each of these items reminds me of times past and special people who’ve made a difference in my life.
Each of these items means something to me. Each of them tells a story and has value. I have gifts that come with “stories,” making them all the more relevant to me years later. They may not arrive in sparkly packages or boast ribbons and bows, but they brighten my heart and I treasure them.
When it comes to Christmas shopping, I work from lists. I have the lists that were given to me. But, I prefer to select on my own, honestly. I like to come up with creative ways to show those dear to me how well I know them … Selecting something not specifically asked for is my way of shopping without a net! Dangerous, yes. But very rewarding when you see that look in their eye as they open something chosen just for them.
Only a few days remain before Christmas. My mind drifts to the people who’ve left Footprints on my heart. Some remain near and I enjoy them today. Some I see only rarely. Some have moved out of my life and I miss them. But … They are no less a part of me today than they were during those days we hung out together.
If you have people like that, take time to remind them that they give Meaning to your life. That they Gave Meaning once. Remind them that though you may not spend Time together anytime soon, that does negate the impact they have had on your life. And, because of their very Simple Gift of Self, you will never, ever be the same again.
All that Glitters is not wrapping paper.
Huh … now that I think of it, that IS the Meaning of Christmas …
Merry Christmas to All … God Bless Us Every One ………….. Jenni