As a little girl, Christmas Eve meant sleeping under the family tree in our small, suburban living room.
My sister and I begged to do this every year. We dreamed of St. Nick as we looked up at the multi-colored lights and struggling to stay awake in hopes of seeing him.
I remember well the sweet smell of scotch pine or blue spruce Christmas trees. My father would bring the lot of us out to a tree farm or a roadside lot looking for the perfect tree. It brought nature inside and the scent lingered for weeks in the house and on the few gifts that magically appeared Christmas morning to our squeals of delight.
My mother spent hours in the kitchen overseeing the turkey in the oven and cooking pots of mashed potatoes and green beans. The meal was always tasty, but I loved her pumpkin pies and shortbread cookies decorated with sweet pieces of glazed cherries.
Food was always a big part of family celebrations. My only complaint was the dried-out turkey. My mother worried so much about food poisoning that she destroyed any trace of flavor.
Whatever was lost in the turkey was found in the Christmas catalogs. Remember those? Weeks before Christmas my siblings and I spent hours flipping through pages of toy dreams. Years later, my husband and I put as much energy into Christmas as our parents did.
We cherished the anticipation and all of the traditions that dominated our childhood memories.
I’m beaming in this photo with my siblings, two cousins, and grandmother. That’s me on the bottom right in the red dress. I’m holding the only doll I ever played with because her hair grew with the turn of a knob on her back. What’s missing are the stresses of the season and our family challenges.
Christmases weren’t perfect and still aren’t. They include arguments about finances, relatives who were wronged and squabbles about things that are so insignificant in light of the world’s bigger problems. We weren’t hungry, we had a roof over our heads and we knew we were loved. Today, that should be enough. But so many of us have lost the meaning of Christmas and the meaning behind O Silent Night.
At WomanScape, we want to highlight the simple pleasures and the love manifest in the season’s joys. Let’s value time with family and loved ones and forgive. It takes more strength to make peace than it does war.
Today, we’re signing off for a few weeks until January 5th. We hope you enjoy today’s video link; it is a CBS interview with Julian Lennon, dating back to 2010.
As the son of the peace advocate and member of the British Beatles band, John Lennon, Julian shares his journey to peace in the wake of long-standing family discord. He says what truly matters is learning to forgive and to understand one another.
In this spirit of peace, we wish you a joyous holiday and blessings into the New Year.
Rose & the WomanScape Team