This is a repost from my first Christmas spent as a widow. This year (December, 2012) will be my fourth Christmas without the love of my life to share it with. I think it would be safe to say that I'm still a Scroogette. However, I enjoy Christmas more than I used to, because I don't get involved in the holiday machine. New traditions have been set in place and my Christmas season is much simpler, more relaxed and enjoyable now. For that I am so thankful! Perhaps more about that in the near future.
Posted Dec 20, 2009 (9 Months into widowhood)
I have never done a survey, but I would be willing to guess that most people are Christmas lovers. I have a confession to make. I’m not one of them… I am not a Christmas person. My reasons are many. Buck and I both shared an attitude towards retailers who started their Christmas sales focus prior to the end of October. It seemed that Back To School sales had barely wrapped up before the artificial trees and decorations came out. Then there was the issue of our favorite radio stations beginning to play Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day or earlier. Frankly, we would not listen to the radio as much as usual, until the week before Christmas. Then we would welcome and enjoy the special seasonal music. I’m sorry to sound like such a Scrooge, but this is honestly how we felt.
My main frustration was the addition of all the responsibilities that came with the holiday season. These, plus an already full schedule, made for a stressful month of preparation. Being the classic procrastinators that we were, surely didn’t lighten our load. Some of us never figure out that it’s possible and very wise to think about, and shop for, gifts throughout the year. Christmas encompasses many things that I hate; things like shopping and crowds, long lines and snarled traffic, deadlines and decisions, because I am not creative with my gift giving inspiration. I have a difficult time making decisions about what I like, let alone trying to decide what my loved ones might enjoy. Then, of course, there would be the new five to ten pounds that I ‘found’ every January, after working throughout the year to lose them...again, (but that’s a personal problem).
It has been our tradition to have our family gathering on Christmas Eve each year. All our children and grandchildren would come together to enjoy Buck’s specialty: his wonderful fried deer steak dinner that he lovingly prepared for all of us. I have never mastered making it as well as he did. I was his assistant, but he was the main chef for this annual feast. In addition to the venison, his menu consisted of mashed taters and gravy, corn, green beans with bacon, cranberry sauce and biscuits or cornbread. I would be responsible for making desserts, usually German Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Pie and ice cream. It was the highlight meal of the year that all of us looked forward to.
I rarely got to see what presents everyone got, because I was the gifts distributor for Buck and I, and I could never convince my sweetheart that opening our gifts one at a time was a reasonable way to do things (my opinion). Occasionally, I would catch someone’s reaction as they opened one of the gifts from Buck and I, but for the most part I missed all of that, and that has always been disappointing for me.
All the activities and preparation left no room for the very reason we celebrated. There never seemed to be any real focus on what Christmas was all about: the celebration of the birth of our Savior. It seemed like the only attention given to the ‘reason for the season’, was the cake I made the past few years with ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ spelled out on the top of the cake with chocolate chips. When our Christmas Eve celebration was over and the all the gifts were packed up to travel to their new homes, we would send our loved ones off with smiles and hugs, and I would spend my remaining energy cleaning up the kitchen.
After our family would leave, I would experience the same emotions each year. I would ask myself; ‘what just happened here?’ I thank God for cameras or I probably wouldn’t have any Christmas memories. After everyone went home, Buck and I would feel spent from all the preparation and relieved that it was over for another year. Please don’t misunderstand; we loved getting together with our family. But the time invested in all the preliminary activities would leave us too exhausted to go to the last Christmas Eve service at our church. We both would feel disappointed when we didn’t have energy enough to be there to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
This year will be very different, as I just don’t have it in me to carry on our family tradition. I hope our children and grandchildren still love me after my ‘true confession’ and know that I won’t be offended if anyone addresses me as Scroogette in the future!
I am not certain if I will post another entry in my journal before Friday, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope it will be a special time with your family and friends. Thank you for continuing to care about my journey.