Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Need Something To Warm The Heart

The holidays would be something we would all look forward to. Relatives living far away would be coming home for short holiday vacations, preparing the food would keep everyone busy, small family reunions would always be full of fun, stories and laughter, cousins seeing each other after quite some time would love playing together and would wish the day would never end. There would be gift giving and merry making. The fun would last well into the night when we kids would be too tired to even contest having to go home and call it a day. The next day, everyone would wish it were Christmas again. The days ahead would serve as a reminder of the Christmas that had gone and the Christmas that was to come again.
I wondered why this Christmas felt quite dry. As if I was even dreading it because I did not know what to expect. My 5 year old's excitement suddenly reminded me of how beautiful the holiday season is - or was.
We would all have dinner with my father's family on Christmas eve. Food was plenty, stories were more. When us cousins were a little younger, we would open gifts even before midnight. But when we were a bit older, we would all wait until the stroke of 12. At times we would watch movies together - family movies. Us younger ones would often fall asleep while my 2 older cousins would stay awake, all too excited to be allowed to stay awake till late in the night. When the clock would strike 12, they would wake us up. And then we would remember it was time to open gifts. After the opening of gifts, we would eat salad or whatever was left over from dinner. We would all fall asleep way after midnight. When tucked into bed, I remember my Mom and Dad would hug me and say "Merry Christmas anak."
With no gifts under the tree- a big reason is because both hubby and I were low in cash, no plans set weeks in advance, no family member 'coming home' for the holidays, I did wonder where my Christmas spirit was. I wanted it, I needed it. I was craving for it.
On Christmas day, we would go to my grandma's house (my Mom's side) and we would all have lunch there. Again, food was plenty. And jokes and teasing were more - as this is the character of my Mom's family. Us cousins would have a separate table, specially set for us littler ones. We too would have our own stories to share with each other. The eating and story telling would go on until mid afternoon until gift giving time. After opening gifts, we would all tease my grandma until she would give in and give us money to buy ice cream. Since her house was near town, us cousins would all walk and look for whatever mini mart or grocery was open. In the late afternoon, my Uncle would gather us all together and then we would go to the cemetery to visit my grandpa. We would then come home with hearts full of memories to treasure.
I did the Christmas grocery in the morning of the 24th. I tried to be excited. I asked my husband if we were spending any Christmas activity with his Mom and sisters. But with an invitation from his Mom saying "come if you come but if you don't want to then don't," suddenly, I had to appetite for any Christmas cheer with them. He probably felt it, so instead, he invited them to join us at home. And I'm glad they did.
I find myself missing the old. Missing what used to be. Terribly missing that warm feeling. And I wonder if my children will ever be able to feel that same way about Christmas as I used to because I feel I am unable to create a 'tradition' that they will look forward to every year. I feel guilty for not creating that warm feeling for my children.
How does one start a tradition? A tradition not done just for the sake of doing but a tradition that warms our hearts, that makes us look forward to the next- that sparks the love in us? I want my children to treasure memories that they will forever carry in their hearts. Not just of Christmas time.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Karen MEG said...

Louann, even though you don't know it, the time that you're spending with your boys and hubby this time of year IS making a new family tradition. Your kids will remember these times fondly and happily, because it will be family time. And those things are what kids treasure most of all. Even at such a young age, they'll get it.
All the best to you and your family this Christmas.

Pavel said...

Hi there,

I agree with Karen Meg. Just enjoy time with your family and do it regularly. It will become tradition by default. (smile)

Merry Christmas!

Shana said...

Echoing the words above. :o)