Christmas has certainly changed in my life over the years, with growing up, with getting married, with relocating and with having children.
When I was a child, whether in England or in Canada, Christmas was always pretty similar, because it brought with it the traditions that my parents had built. Opening presents first thing, a big breakfast cooked by mom, playing with our toys, watching tv and having a huge Christmas lunch, crackers, paper hats and all. The house when we were younger would be decorated with shiny foil streamers from one corner of the living room to the other, Christmas cards hung on thread across the walls. There was always myself, Kylie, mom and dad, and some variation of having John, Robert and Stacey with us. Eat, drink, laugh and fall asleep with full bellies and even fuller hearts!
It changed as I grew up, when it was just Kylie and I still living at home, siblings would join us for dinner either Christmas Day or Boxing Day, spending the mornings exchanging presents in one location or the other, the decorations becoming more minimal, but the love and laughter remaining.
When I moved to America, I joined Curtis’ family at Christmas time, either with Curtis or alone if he was working. Our decoration, a tree with a box of ornaments accumulated over the years of Curtis’ life from his Nannie, with a few of my own being added these past few years. I have spent one Christmas away from everyone since being here, I just couldn’t stand to be in the spirit of the holiday, feeling depressed and frustrated, and I hope never to have a Christmas like that again.
Our first tree didn’t even light up properly but we didn’t care!
Now Christmas is about creating traditions with Calvin and Mia. Calvin understands Santa now, so there is a renewed energy and excitement surrounding the holidays. Ornaments on the trees are a mixture of Curtis’, mine and the kids. Calvin even made our tree topper this year. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer and had our dinner Christmas Eve because of Curtis having to work. The kids and I spend the day quietly, playing with toys, watching movies and enjoying the unseasonably cool weather for California! We even got to the snow this year and I’m sure we will again before winter over.
So Christmas has changed. It includes Skype chats, international parcel services, split family gatherings and new traditions being made each time. But one thing remains the same, the love.