Christmas used to be huge in our house.
When my mom was alive, she was like a female Clark Grizwald, immediately wanting to put the tree up after the Thanksgiving turkey got cold. Our house had to be the BRIGHTEST house on the whole block. Dad and my stepmom? Not as much. But that was okay as the years went by and we grew up. This year however, is the last Christmas in our house before we all split up in ten different directions. So out came the Clark in all of us.
This year my father found an old box with Mom's ornaments inside. It was pretty fantastic to finally see a "Baby's First Christmas 1983" ornament or a "First Christmas together, 1982" decoration. I liked that it was mixed with new decor. When two lives collide I suppose.
When it was the five of us and life was a lot smaller, Dad would drill into our heads the true meaning of Christmas, and try to get his troop to attend Christmas Eve midnight mass. First of all, NO WAY did I want to get out bed and miss out on a possible Santa sighting, so I was out. Brother was out also, as he would become so excited that Santa was nearing our house, he would vomit. Mom didn't want to leave her ducklings alone, so she was out too. And Little Brother always fell asleep in any place that wasn't his room. Sorry Dad. 1 out of 5. I completely listened to the True Meaning of Christmas story. Totally. BUT, Santa had to come too you know. We did always end up at Christmas Day mass.
I never asked for much from Santa. In fact when I was older, Mom often told me I was the hardest to shop for, because she had a budget for each kid and I always came up grossly under budget. (My total often came up to $20 or $30 dollars) I was an odd child. I asked for little paperback books. Or buttons. Or stuffed animal dogs I could call my own. "Santa" always granted my wish for miscellaneous items, and I would often get "surprises" as well, since he ran out of ideas on what to get me. I thought about all of this and smiled as our Santa troop was laid out.
I wondered what my new traditions would be like? As Dad and I explored Costco earlier that afternoon he saw light purple ornaments and grinned. "These will probably go on your tree," he said. (purple was my favorite color) Probably. What else would be included in my Christmas card next year? I couldn't imagine what my apartment would look like or my tree, or if I would have a sprawling dog at my feet, but I wanted those things. I look forward to the future. I realized that the Christmas traditions Mom drilled into our heads and the True Meaning of Christmas story Dad couldn't stop reciting weren't in vain. I wanted those things in my adult life. I wanted everything we were taught for my own children. Indeed, we turned out okay. A little kooky perhaps, but that was just fine.