The Bitter and Sweet of Christmas


Mid December Sunrise

A week from today Christmas will be another memory for many of us—except for clearing away the debris of ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper. This is why several years ago I adopted my sister-in-law’s view that Christmas lasts 12 days just like the song. Following that principle makes the rush a bit easier as I don’t try to have everything done by December 24th.

Today I’ve baked in preparation of sending my Alaska son’s his favorite cookies. Those will get mailed tomorrow. But right now, I get to enjoy their wonderful aroma while I know I won’t touch a one as I’m sending them as a gift.

I’ve mentioned before that December is a bittersweet month for me. It’s sweet as I love the holiday and always have. It’s bitter as my son and grandfather both died within a day or so of December 24th. So I fight silent tears more than a few times during the month, especially in this coming week. It’s also bitter as my family isn’t together on this holiday. And that always brings me to remembering past Christmases where we were all together.

What I have realized is that while I treasure those memories, at the time “something” was always present that made the moment less than perfect. For example, in my childhood, while all my siblings and my grandparents were with us, very often my dad would be gone as he worked for the highway department and was often called in because of a storm.

When I married and had my own family, very often the “perfect” Christmas dimmed a bit because one of my sons was disappointed with Christmas gifts. While that didn’t happen too often, since money was usually tight, they usually got one thing they really wanted instead of several items that might have been on their Christmas lists.

So while I may not have all my immediate family around me this Christmas, I will be celebrating Christmas Eve with my sisters, their children and grandchildren, my husband and son. We will miss those who can’t join us, but we know those who live away will be surrounded by friends. And we have telephones to stay in touch. And memories of Christmases past which we all share. We are a close family and sometimes a little bit crazy. I guarantee we’ll sing a lot, eat a lot, and enjoy the antics of the youngest generation as they tear apart Christmas packages.

I hope your holiday celebration is all you hope for. If you live in the Midwest I hope the weather makes it easy for you to achieve your plans. If you have a bit of the bitter in your celebration, I hope you can dwell on the sweetness that can be found if you look for it.

Merry Christmas to all.

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6 Comments on “The Bitter and Sweet of Christmas”

  1. Edie Ramer Says:

    Mary, though they won’t be with your physically, I hope you can feel the love of your son and grandfather over the holidays. And I know you’ll enjoy the your friends and family who are with you.

    Today my husband and I gave my grandson his birthday gifts. I got 2 toys that were on his list and learned that one of them was named the most popular gift on a morning show today. (Loopz) I also gave him a book and a really cute cat ornament that has the coloring of his cat. When we came home, I told my husband that of all the gifts he’ll remember from us in years to come, it will be the cat ornament. lol

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    Edie, You are so correct. Your grandson will remember, and hopefully still have, the cat ornament. I’m so very glad you had such a memorable day.


  3. wonderful take. it is bittersweet. thanks for sharing some of yourself! keep on!.


  4. A beautiful post, Mary Jo. I miss you and thought about you during our Christmas party at Kate’s (Stacey, too). Hugs to you, dear friend! 🙂

  5. caseyclifford Says:

    Donna, So glad you stopped by! It’s as if you’d given me a cyber hug. I thought about you and Stacey and the other GGBA members last Wednesday a loat since I was waiting to see a specialist and getting even more blood work done. Would have had more fun at Kate’s lovely home.

  6. caseyclifford Says:

    Thank you, Sana, for dropping by and offering a complement in the process. Have a good week in your busy life.


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