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Holiday Wishes to You and Yours

December 24, 2011

Christmas 1956Ever since I was little, I’ve loved the Christmas season. Clearly, when I was young it was about visiting Santa Claus at Eaton’s Toyland (we had to take the bus into ‘the city’ [Toronto]; there were no malls [and, therefore, no ‘mall Santas’] in our town, and Santa was ONLY at Eaton’s – the department store that sponsored the annual Christmas parade), and the gifts (we were allowed to ask for only ONE THING from Santa – a tradition I followed with my own boys – but he also filled our stockings with things like oranges and underwear), and dinner with the whole family, including the two grandmothers who lived upstairs.  New Year’s Eve was when my parents’ many friends came to visit; at midnight we’d all go outside and bang pots and pans to ‘ring in’ the new year (staying up until midnight was a really big deal back then).

Later, in my teens, it was about meeting up with friends and going skating or tobogganing (in those days, we had lots of snow and public ice rinks at Christmas-time) and sharing secret wishes about what we hoped to find under the tree.  On Christmas Day there was the excitement of finding out if our deepest desires had been met (usually, they were, even when times were tough), and eating turkey and Christmas pudding.  New Year’s Eve was for small parties at our own friends’ houses (or, occasionally, our own) and watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV.

In the earliest days of my first marriage, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve was spent in some tropical vacation spot (Jamaica, Mexico, the Bahamas) to avoid the hassle (and arguments) around whose parents’ house we’d spend Christmas at (the real ‘upside’ of that was I didn’t do any Christmas shopping until we got home and by then everything was on sale. Woo Hoo – gifts at half price!)  New Year’s Eve was always spent with a small group of friends.

An 80s ChristmasWhen the kids were little, of course, Christmas was all about them – taking them to see Santa (at the local mall), hunting down that ‘one special gift’ they’d asked for (one year, my eldest son asked Santa for a particular ‘Transformer’ that was incredibly hard to find; I must have put 1,000 miles on the car driving to every toy store within a  50-mile radius looking for it; I finally found one with only days to spare), trekking into the wilderness to cut down a tree, making cookies, and decorating the house inside and out.  New Year’s Eve was spent at home, eating dinner in front of the TV while we watched one movie trilogy or another (Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Die Hard when they were older).

Christmas NowNow Christmas is quieter, more subdued. No more trips to see Santa, no more ‘one special gifts’, less baking (shortbread cookies only), less decorating (no ‘real’ tree, fewer ornaments and lights).  Family is still important – my sister and Mom are coming for a visit later this afternoon; my husband and I are having a ‘quiet day’ tomorrow (just the two of us, alone, for the first time); the boys and their ‘significant others’ will be here on Boxing Day – but we see fewer people, eat less food (that’s a good thing), and celebrate in a more reflective way.  New Year’s will be just as quiet; I doubt we’ll even make it to midnight (but it will still be January 1, 2012 when we wake up the next day, so it’s all good).

The traditions may change – and the families may, too – but this time of year will always be about family, friends, and being with the ones you love.   To you and yours – all the best for this holiday season from … the other side of 55.

Christmas Card to You 2011

  1. Sharon permalink
    December 29, 2011 1:12 am

    Thanks for the memories. This was a different Christmas in some ways but still about family and friends.
    Happy New Year.

    • December 29, 2011 11:17 am

      Memories are probably the best Christmas gift we give to ourselves, and to one another.


  2. Margie permalink
    December 27, 2011 6:49 pm

    Things do keep changing, and it is important to remain flexible about how Christmas is celebrated! Our traditions keep mutating to fit the growing family, and I’m sure yours will too! Merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Blogging Year!

    • December 28, 2011 8:38 am

      I’m finding I can adapt to the changes – they’re just happening way faster than I expected! All the best to you and yours as well.


  3. Cathy permalink
    December 24, 2011 11:43 pm

    Christmas traditions change over the years as our families grow up and change. We invite new people into our families. Some loved ones move to distant places and others are no longer with us – except in spirit, I believe. But you’re right. As long as you can celebrate with those who are special to you, that’s what’s important. Merry Christmas to you too Margo!

  4. December 24, 2011 4:13 pm

    My big kids will be finding a clementine and some roasted peanuts among other things unmentionable today. (wink, wink) We’ll be skyping with my daughter and grandson tomorrow morning, our first Christmas apart in her 30 years. We have to adapt to the seasons of our life.

    • December 24, 2011 5:28 pm

      I thought at first I’d be miserable not seeing the kids on Christmas Day, but now I’m actually looking forward to a quiet ‘jammie’ day with just my husband and a huge selection of DVDs! I’m sure things will change again once there are grandchildren. Happy holidays!


  5. December 24, 2011 12:26 pm

    Your childhood memories of Christmas bring back many things that I’d forgotten about…such the treat of an orange in our stockings. Thanks for taking me back. Merry Christmas!

    • December 24, 2011 1:55 pm

      I’m glad I jogged a memory or two. Have a super holiday.


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