Christmases Past

I’m sure you are familiar with Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

One of my favorite parts is when Ebenezer is visited by The Ghost of Christmas Past, which lets him see his childhood, which was lonely, however he also sees a joyful Christmas party that quickly turned somber when his fiancée leaves him after realizing he’s obsessed with money.

When Christmastime rolls around each year, no matter how hard I try not to, I always think of the years gone by; the Christmases before this one.

As a child, I absolutely loved Christmastime. Getting out of school was probably one of the best parts about it, and I loved being home when my dad would get all of our Christmas decorations out of the garage and attic.

Together, we often put dozens of strings of lights on our house, and lined the driveway with luminarias. In anticipation for Santa, we baked sugar cookies—sometimes with red and green M&Ms—and decorated them with icing and red hots.

Come Christmas morning, I just could not wait to jump out of bed and see the SLEW of gifts Santa had magically placed under our tree. We’d open all the gifts, one at a time, and then enjoy the treats in our stockings—which always included an orange—while we sat in awe of our piles of loot.

As I get older, though, Christmas isn’t quite the same. And yes, I know, Christmas is for children. I find that with each year, I’m not quite sure where I am come December 25. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to be with my family. Other years, I am invited to join friends—always a fun adventure. And sometimes, I (believe it or not) have had a man in my life that I’ve spent Christmas with.

All of them are fun, in their own ways. For me, it’s more about gauging my own Christmas spirit. As my friend told me on Christmas Eve, “Some years, you’re really into it, and other years, you’re not.”

One year, I wasn’t feeling it, so I told myself I would say “yes” to every Christmas/holiday-oriented activity I was invited to. And I did. It still took me all the way to Christmas Eve before I felt like I was in the spirit, but I finally got it.

I just remember the excitement coming so easy as a child. And, perhaps that’s because as adults, we’ve got our own sort of Charlie Brown syndrome—we know how commercial it is, there’s money noise, things to wrap up at work, and the stress of juggling the busy season.

I found that this year, it all came so fast, and I was surrounded by stress in general, that sometimes I questioned why I was putting up a tree? Why was I baking cookies? Most of the time, it was simply because I didn’t want to be seen as a Grinch.

I do know, that if The Ghost of Christmas Future were to visit me, I won’t be quite as cold as Mr. Scrooge himself—but, like some of us—I don’t know what the years to come will bring. Will I be decorating a home full of children? Maybe I’ll have at least moved to a place where I can have a white Christmas.

And maybe that’s why I put up a tree, baked dozens of cookies, and spent afternoons crafting—because I hope that Christmas will always be in my heart.

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