Even in the best of years, Christmastime can be fraught with hard to live up to expectations. This year may be painful for many people as family and friends cannot gather as they usually do.
I’m finding cheer by remembering past joys which has made me realize that many of my best Christmas memories came when least expected, often starting with a small calamity that developed into a fleeting moment of perfection.
My parents were furniture merchants, so many of my Christmas Eves growing up were spent doing deliveries. The night before Christmas we’d load up our delivery truck and drive around the city dropping off surprise gifts. This was the era before mandatory seat belts, and my brother and I would ride freestyle in the back of the delivery truck.
Like many hard-working small business owners, my parents were tired and anxious to get home the night before Christmas. So, when the truck was finally empty, my dad would put extra pressure on the gas pedal. My brother and I would cling to the moving carpets while getting pitched around the back of the empty truck like we were on a carnival ride. Of course, we loved it and would scream with glee. This may not be a conventional Christmas memory, but I cherish it nonetheless.
I also remember finding my mom reduced to tears because we’d run out of wrapping paper too late on Christmas Eve to do anything about it. My dad, ever resourceful, simply handed my mom the newspaper funnies. I remember those gifts, so carefully wrapped with comics and my mom’s boundless love.
My family hosted dinner for at least twenty-five people at Christmastime. My mom didn’t enjoy cooking, and so, the Christmas morning we woke up to discover the oven broken is etched in all of our memories. My dad, anticipating trouble, got on the phone and called every repairman in the phone book. Remarkably he found a willing candidate who just happened to be spending Christmas alone. He was thrilled when we invited him to stay for dinner and I fondly remember our stove fixing saviour sitting by our fireplace sipping eggnog.
One year, when our kids were small, Santa’s existence was a hot topic in the weeks leading up to the big night. My parents spent the holidays with us on Saltpsring that year, and my dad enjoyed a little too much rum and eggnog on Christmas Eve. At midnight, on his way to the bathroom, he fell down a small flight of steps, and crash landed in front of our fireplace. Our kids, who thought they heard Santa jump down the chimney, remained believers for a little longer.
I hope for you that this year, you can draw on your memories to bring joy to the season and that you may find cheer and comfort in the unexpected moments.
I’ve found solace in this poem in 2020 and so I’m sharing it with you now in hopes that it also brings you peace.
Life is amazing. And then it’s awful.
And then it’s amazing again.
And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Wishing you all the happiest of holiday,