Homebodies - Christmas past...


By Rita Friesen

Neepawa Banner & Press

I am steadily moving up this life’s ladder. It is a good climb. The higher I go the more I have to look back on and reflect. The Christmas’ of my past slowly passed before me.

As a child, the anticipation mounted as the day approached. The school concert, the gift exchange within your classroom- hoping with all your being that a certain someone had pulled your name!- crafting a feasible want list to present to your parents, planning and hoping. And then the day. In my early years our immediate family had our gift opening on the evening of the 24th. As soon as all the chores were done- we were all eager to work that day. The next day our time was divided between the two sets of grandparents with cousins aplenty at both homes. Playing outside, and the traditional box of chocolate covered cherries from a grandmother.

As a parent there were more pressures. Many more. What to give each individual child, for our five were all distinct individuals, that would meet their expectations Christmas morning. The schedule before the holiday was hectic; school concerts, church concerts, cards to be sent and baking to be done, (not simply consumed as in that earlier stage) and juggling family commitments. The day itself was wonder filled, brunch being traditionally a massive fruit salad, a healthy counterpart to all the candy and in preparation for the evening family feast.

As a grandparent, priorities changed. Our home was especially blessed to be very near to all our grandchildren in their formative years. Now gift giving was simplified, a token gift for the day and plans for a family vacation in the summer. The day, and now it needn’t be the 25th at all, was filled with laughter, love, play and lot of food. Stories were told around the table and papa read the Christmas story, blessing us all with the peace of the season. It was still important to stop in on our aging parents, catch some time with siblings, but it really was mostly about ‘the kids’.

Before I knew it, the grandkids where grown, having families of their own, filling another home with the love and laughter. As a great-grandparent, I receive the sincere invitations to join them for the holiday. I could, and sometimes I do. They come to me and I go to them. But…it gets easier and easier to simply stay at home. Knowing that I am loved and cherished every day, makes the 25th a great day, but not one that compels me to join my away families. A phone call, or a text, and we are connected.  One year the day was spent with female friends, all of us widows. Another year I was included in another family’s celebration. It’s all good. I know I could be content by myself on Christmas Day.

 I may see the day that I will celebrate Christmas as a great-great- grandmother! And when that day comes I expect, yes, expect, at least one family member to stop by the care home with a hug, and please, dear God, a bite of chocolate!