Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, mostly – it has to be said – for the family aspect of it.
When I was younger it was one of the few times when the entire extended family would get together – or at least as much of the extended family that I saw more than every couple of years or so. There were a dozen of us if everyone from grandparents through first cousins showed up, and on those years where my great aunts and second cousins came there were nineteen. We weren’t a big group, but we were a close one.
There would be good food and good company, and while the gifts were never the main focus of the day we all liked getting them as much as anyone else. Mostly I remember the time spent together, though.
Gradually the group shifted. The older generation began to recede into the past. My generation grew up and found spouses. Most of us had kids. Everyone moved up a generation. We acquired new families of in-laws to celebrate with, and the holiday began to get spread out not only geographically but chronologically.
We’d still get together when we could, though, because that’s what family does. An east coast celebration for the Gregorian calendar Christmas. A Wisconsin celebration for the Julian calendar Christmas. When Oliver and Lauren were little it was fun to have multiple Christmases with both sides of the family, and sometimes just with ourselves in between. It’s a holiday that is especially lovely with kids. But we were always together in some combination, at least until last year when the plague hit.
We’re all moving up another generation now, slowly and in bits and pieces. We’d planned to go to my aunt and uncle’s in Tennessee this year, but the latest round of the pandemic put a stop to that. And then we’d planned to celebrate just the four of us here in Wisconsin, since Lauren would be out of isolation by then, but my positive test put a stop to that as well.
So I’m up here in solitary. Kim, Lauren, and Oliver are downstairs. We’ll move Christmas to a later date when we can all be together, in accordance with our Movable Feast Tradition (“holidays happen when you have time for them”), which has the advantage of allowing me to do some online gift shopping in the meantime, I suppose. It’s not the main focus, as noted earlier, but it is a nice thing to do for people. That’s why you make the money, isn’t it? To do nice things for the people you love?
I can’t say it’s the most festive Christmas I have ever had so far – it’s been a long hard year and it took me until very late in the season to find any Christmas spirit at all, frankly, and that was before being identified as a plague carrier – but I’m feeling surprisingly fine as far as my health goes (covid notwithstanding) and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again sometime soon. And thanks to the magic of FaceTime, texting, cell phones, and the friends and family who use them to reach out to say hello, it’s actually been a pretty good time here.
So Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and to those who don’t, well, I hope your day was merry as well, just in general.