Christmas was my mom's holiday. To her it meant family, love, time together, to be thankful for all we had. It just doesn't feel like Christmas. Living in California is hard during the holidays. It is not cold, there is no snow, there is no family except the three of us. This year it is worse because Phil is not here.
When I was a kid, we would always spend Christmas Eve going out to dinner with our grandparents. Some times if the weather was bad we would order pizza. Several years mom would boil shrimp and we would have a feast. Then back to our house to open Christmas presents from each other. My dad always called it conspicuous consumption. It usually did look like a wrapping paper factory threw up when the chaos was over. After we went to bed, Santa would come. After waking mom and dad up at ugly early and checking out the loot, mom and dad would go back to bed. When they were finally up there was flurry of activity as mom started cooking Christmas dinner. My grandparents would come over and some years my dad's other relatives from Hiawatha would join us. My dad was a firm believer that kids needed to be in their own environment during Christmas because it was a such a confusing chaotic time for them and being in their own home allowed some sense of normal routine.
I have tried to recreate the Christmas of years past. I have realized that is not possible. I can never be my mom. All I can do is remind my children of the meaning of family and when all else fails all we have is each other.
As we got older my mom became more of a Christmas fanatic. It would take a weekend to put up and decorate the tree. My parents best friends the Hazlett's would trek to Kansas city the day ofter Thanksgiving and start the process. I know there was one year that dad and Allan held the tree up while mom and Peggy rushed out to get fishing wire to string up the top part of the tree. I always felt safe and warm during Christmas. While we didn't do lots of baking and such, it was still my family and my traditions. I miss my family in Kansas. I wish many things could be different. I wish the closeness of the holidays was still present in all of us. I cherish those memories of Christmas' past. Sometimes I feel like it is all I have left.