I wrote this post and didn’t get the chance to put it up in time for Christmas, but I believe it’s meaning holds a lot of value and still worth a read. So please forgive my tardiness because I have been in the process of moving for the last two weeks and didn’t even get to partake in the holiday spirit.
Better late than never so the old cliché goes, so I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and made resolutions to have yourselves a wonderful 2015.
Please forgive my absence until well into next week as I will be disconnected from my virtual world on Friday through the weekend and I will have to deal with internet withdrawl until I’m reconnected after the weekend. So if you don’t see me visiting and commenting on your wonderful blogs, or responding in a timely manner here to your wonderful comments, you know that I’m up to my ears in moving and unpacking.
Enjoy your weekend and enjoy this little Christmas memoir.
As December approached, and Christmas decorations sprouted everywhere, from the street posts to the homes all lit up, I remembered driving by them in all their glory. I was a child and wanted so badly to be part of Christmas.
Coming from a family that didn’t practice much of religion, and having Orthodox Jewish grandparents on my paternal side, didn’t afford me the luxury of having a Christmas tree. This didn’t mean that I didn’t love Christmas and all special things about it. I envied the kids who spent fun times with their families, doing traditional holidays things such as wrapping presents, singing carols and most especially, decorating the tree. Oh how I longed to have a bright and sparkly Christmas tree in my home.
When I was very young I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be a part of the festive season, and nobody explained religion to me, other than being told by my grandparents that Jews don’t celebrate that holiday. I felt empty inside. I wanted to be a part of a family celebration and other than seeing the menorah lit at my grandparent’s house or gathering there for a Passover dinner, a long time sitting for a child to listen to Hebrew prayers for what seemed like many hours, we didn’t celebrate anything. This didn’t quench my fascination with celebrating with loved ones, nor did I feel any bonding; something I craved much of as a child.
I wanted to wrap up shiny presents and give them to people I loved. I wanted to give gifts even more than I wanted to receive them. I wanted to sing to Christmas songs and wake up Christmas day and run to the tree and open presents with my family.
When I turned eleven, my excitement for Christmas had only heightened. I decided that I just had to be a part of the tradition; if only in a small way. So I began my own ritual.
I was the eldest of four—the mother hen of my siblings. We were alone together much of our childhood and I wanted to get them as excited as I was about Christmas. I saved my allowance and went to the local drug store before Christmas eve and bought candy and little prizes with the coins I had saved so that I could fill stockings for them. I told my siblings to hang a sock over the fireplace before they went to bed on Christmas eve. I made up little Christmas stories and convinced them that Santa loved all children, and if they would be good and not fight, Santa would come to our house too.
I filled those stockings for a few years, until the younger ones realized as they were getting older that there wasn’t really a Santa. But for those four to five years, I filled their imaginations and stockings, and they believed in the magic of Christmas. I wanted a Christmas tree so badly, and I never gave up asking my mother to allow us to have one, to no avail.
When I moved away from home, still in my teens, I got my first tree. I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come so I could go and buy the biggest tree I could find that would fit in my living room. It was a Scotch Pine and I didn’t realize just how humongous it was until it ‘thawed’ and drank lots of water, and its branches unfolded to almost eight feet wide! Not to mention the aftermath of prickly Scotch Pine tiny needles left fallen deep inside my shag carpet, long after Christmas passed. But I was filled with excitement buying my first Christmas ornaments to decorate my very own tree. I will never forget how happy I was that Christmas eve, in my own peaceful home, sipping wine with close friends in front of the tree, on my first real Christmas eve.
I’d like to wish all of my friends here a very happy holiday season and a new year filled with health and happiness. Remember to be grateful for all of the wonderful things and people in your life, let us not take them for granted. As a very important lyric in one of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time states, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, reminds us: “Through the years, we all will be together, if the fates allow.” Let us love while we still all have the chance.
D.G. Kaye ©2014
Enjoy the song, sung by Sam Smith http://youtu.be/rnEqv8WcVq8