Christmas Renewed

As the busy days of December flurry past and we march through our calendars to Christmas, I ponder on the many elements of the season. The dictionary gives us the literal definition:

a. the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25
  b. observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged

Reflecting on most of my Christmases, I feel a warm glow around my heart. But does that feeling come from observing the season as defined above, or from somewhere else? What is my common denominator, the origin of these warm, fuzzy, though sometimes bittersweet, emotions?

For me, it is Family. My most precious memories are intertwined with the love of close family through the years, especially the early reminiscences of my mom and dad, bless their souls, who helped create the tinseled childhood magic I hold so synonymous with Christmas.

Then came the low period. For years, more precisely since my mother became ill, I was the Scrooge who just wanted Christmas to go away. Putting up a tree, cooking and baking, the shopping, I only wanted to get it over with. Nothing seemed the same anymore after Mom got sick and passed away. I missed Dad too, of course, but to me, my mother epitomized Christmas, with her Nancy squares, her sumptuous turkey dinner, and her selfless but fun-loving spirit. I couldn’t look at a tree without thinking of the time I couldn’t get home, and she kept hers up and decorated for my visit on January 15th. Without my mom, my heart was no longer in it.

Mom - Christmas 1967
Mom – Christmas 1967

But somehow, this year feels different. At last, I can say I’m not going through the motions of the season. There is a sleigh full of love, too, in the shiny new memories I forge these days with my children and their significant others, and with our two beloved grandchildren. There is a renewed love, baked into the Christmas cookies I prepare (and the ones I buy), and in the gifts I wrap for them (yes, that includes gift cards!). There is love and wonder in our hearts seeing our grandson sing in his Grade One Christmas concert. There is laughter again while watching TV shows with the kids, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and silly Mr. Bean’s version of the holiday.

There is revived anticipation of traveling back to see our loved ones in a couple of weeks, a fresh gratitude when we gather round with our extended families, to eat and celebrate together. And when we return, there are the New Year’s festivities with friends here, who always make us feel like family.

Until I am with my grandbabies again, I will hang their pictures of the Grinch they drew for us this past weekend.

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?"
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?”
"What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
“What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will gaze at my grandson’s Kindergarten portrait…

10570415_10152599057065395_8728658344258524675_n…and remember the conversation we had on Saturday morning. He imagined being so tall his head touched the clouds. We joked about it, and then I said:

“If you’re that tall, people wouldn’t be able to talk to you. Not even your girlfriend could talk to you.”

“I don’t want one,” he said.

“A girlfriend?”

“No,” he said, giving me a hug. “I only want you, Nanny.”

Me: {{{heart melting}}} “Awww!” ❤

IMG_1180

What do you love about this time of year? Celebrating with family? Giving to the less fortunate?
The church services? The carols? The decorations?

Or is it all “Bah Humbug”? Has it been overshadowed by loss in your life?

Please share: what does Christmas mean to you? 

The Daily Post: Getting Seasonal

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28 thoughts on “Christmas Renewed

  1. Jennifer, your grandchildren are beautiful, and what your grandson said was so precious. Please tell them I love their drawings.

    To me, Christmas means remembering and celebrating Emmanuel (God with us). We tend to have a simple and quiet holiday that includes traditions my husband and I began since having our three children. We didn’t realize how important these traditions were to our family until last year when our daughter was too sick with a flu to participate in them. Yesterday we all sat around the table working on our own version of mini gingerbread houses. We laughed so much. I’m cherishing these special moments while our teens are still in the nest.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wendy, that sounds like such fun, making gingerbread houses with your family! I miss those days when my children were still home; I’ve often wished I could go back for one day when they were little. Some of my fondest yuletide memories include the many Sunday School Christmas concerts they took part in, and the magical feeling of Christmas Eve when we went to church. You are wise to cherish the special moments with your teenagers while you still can. Sometimes I wonder where the years have flown. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post.
    On another note, the photo of the children with Santa made me think of the current suggestion here in Australia of banning such photos due to them being inappropriate due to ‘stranger danger’.
    I could not believe how far as a society we have come (or how backwards we have gone) when I heard that.

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    1. That makes me sad, Elizabeth. What next? Will they ban all the costumed Disney characters as well? I think banning photos such as these is taking things too far. The next thing you know they’ll be banning childhood altogether.

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  3. You have beautiful grandchildren and I love the pictures of Grinch they drew for you. ヽ(•‿•)ノ. Christmas has always been a time of mixed feelings. In short my family is kind of a mixed bag and my dad has passed on since 2001. But it has been great celebrating Christmas since the birth of my two daughters. They have thought us so much about love, sharing and just living life in the moment. Happy Holidays! Cheers, Pat シ

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    1. Living in the moment, yes. Children teach us that, and is why I love spending time with them. And they grow up so quickly, you want to be present with them every moment possible.
      My dad passed in 2003. So many memories of this time of year are bittersweet because of those we miss.

      Merry Christmas, Pat, to you and your family. I hope it is a special time with your little ones. 🙂

      Jennifer xo

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  4. For a long time, I have worked to be the ‘Christmas spirit’ person all year long. I have also eliminated negative people from my life because they were detrimental to everything I wanted to do. As a result, I don’t change that much during the holidays. I hadn’t thought of that until you asked me to share. Thanks, Jennifer.

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  5. One word FAMILY is everything, the memories for me are fresh in my mind as I think about all those that won’t be there. Your grand babies are adorable. I wish you health, happiness and lots of kid time Jennifer. Ps Love the Grinch sketches very cool.

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    1. I wish the same for you too, Kath, and your precious family. I know you have loved ones you will miss, but I hope good memories will help get you through.
      By the way, you’re an artist: do you see any promise in the childrens’ art? 😉

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  6. For me, much of it is about family, too. Everyone gathered together, no responsibilities, fireplaces, good food, music. Those last two are probably why the memories are so rich in our minds, too. Music and smell conjure memories so efficiently. All those memories contribute to the warmness we feel for Christmas. As we get older, I think some of the excitement wears off, but hopefully through our kids (and grandkids) we find it again.

    Liked by 1 person

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