My mom, Nancy, is posting a different Christmas memory for 12 days. She gave me her blessing to repost them here. It’s amazing how a life story can be told through the lens of a certain day.
10th Christmas Day Memory – The odd Christmas
As my extended family continued to grow, each of my brothers began spending more of Christmas with their own children and grandchildren. We really are too large a family to fit inside anyone’s home in the winter. In the summer we have a camp out which provides the space needed for all the parents, children, and grandchildren, not to mention that nobody in my family goes anywhere without their dogs. A lot of dogs.
My children grew up and moved out, and like it happens, at one point my house just seemed too large, so I sold it and moved into a condo on the other side of the lake. We have had many Christmas celebrations at that condo including the year the “boys” acted out a rather rowdy SNL Christmas skit for us.
At some point Jaime and Philip were far away in the USAF, Karey was living in DC with her husband and baby, Kylie and Ryan each had homes across town. Sometimes Ryan and Mary spend Christmas with her family on Christmas Day.
It was one such Christmas when most of my children were elsewhere and I was invited to go over to Kylie’s for Christmas morning. Kylie baked Christmas goodies for breakfast, presents were opened and it was wonderful. I had not thought things through about how I might spend the rest of the day. Kylie and her then husband, had some Christmas traditions of their own which involved spending the day with their friends.
So, now it is mid-morning on Christmas day and I have no idea what to do or where to go. Looking back I am sure I could have called someone and invited myself over, but that thought did not even occur to me. This was the very first time in my whole life I had been alone on Christmas Day and I thought I would just see where it took me.
I went downtown to the Catholic chapel on Burnside, which is always full of homeless persons. Then I wandered over to Powell’s Book Store – who knew that they are open every day – and I hung out in the coffee shop with all the other people that also seem to have no place to go on Christmas because they don’t celebrate Christmas or they just have nowhere to go.
It was the strangest sensation of not being “in” Christmas, but rather “outside” of Christmas like walking through a neighborhood at night and seeing families eating supper at their tables and knowing you are not part of what you see. After so many Christmases with so many people filling my home to be on the outside of Christmas was a very odd feeling. I thought about the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future from the Christmas Carol.
This was a good lesson for me to really see Christmas from a whole new perspective. While I have always tried to include people I think are alone at Christmas it has made me even more aware of those around me.