Christmas, for me, is all about traditions. I’ve always celebrated Christmas surrounded with a lot of people. Since i was a small boy, my Christmas memories involve dining rooms full with family or friends. I come from a large family, and as a small boy , this is what i thought was standard for most. I grew up to learn that not everyone was as lucky as i was to have a family so close to celebrate Christmas. As time went by, more and more people stopped coming and my parents just decided that they wouldn’t throw any more family gatherings. We would celebrate our way, just us and our grandmother. We would just have new traditions.
Nowadays, i don’t really care for the rest of my family besides those i spent Christmas with. We’ve grown apart and i don’t really miss any of them. In fact, i barely maintain any contact. It is a non-issue for me. But i digress.
And so it was. Just us and it was always nice, so unique. As we got older, me and my brother and sister began to be the only family my parents really enjoyed having around and we had the best of times.
Now that things have change quite a bit, i truly miss having a night like we used to. It is inevitable, the change as times goes by, but the memories take me back to a time where things were much easier, simpler and joyful. I still enjoy Christmas but not in the same way. I tell you this not because it is sad but because it is true. I am the way i am because of what i lived through. It had a great impact with me.
But i want to tell you about how our Christmas came to be so special because of my sister. A small change in schedule led to a tradition that lasted years and made it all more special for us. See, my sister is a good person. In fact, my sister is a great person. Me and my brother had had a taste of life by then to be minimally cynical but she was as innocent as a small child. Come Christmas Eve and we’ve got everything ready to go. Except my sister is missing. Well, not missing but not at home. And this is what makes her who she is. She mades us wait till 23h to have dinner because she was volunteering over at a local association to serve supper to the less fortunate. Which in sequence, led us to start this tradition of having this talk about what the last 12 months had been while enjoying some food and drinks. Since then, every year, our Christmas dinner has been served at 22h30,23h because we had this tradition that began because my sister had (has) a heart bigger than you can ever imagine. Even when she stopped going to help serve supper, we kept the tradition going. Between cheese and wine and whatever else we would serve, we would just replay our year between us. I’m a clown for lack of a better word so i just want everyone to feel good around me. My mother used to tell me that i could talk about the simplest, less interesting subject and make people laugh through it. Maybe, i don’t know. There is an inherent stupidity to it.
It might seem something really simple to anyone else, but for me it was special. It made me realize that, at the end of the day, they were all i really needed. Being treated as an adult, having my voice heard, it really mattered and it all began with my sister being this innocent child that wanted to make the night a little bit better for someone else.
There was a time i just wanted to skip Christmas. It was too painful to live through it without what made Christmas special too. Now, I’ve sort of recovered part of my Christmas jolliness. It will always be a time when the loved ones that are gone are missed the most. But it is also a time to remember that traditions allow them to be present in spirit. And that is what Christmas should be about. To me, at least.
And guess what?, i did grow up to enjoy giving more than receiving.