I (Joy) had always wanted to have a Christmas tree. As many Jewish children will tell you, pleading, making the argument that the tree can be a Chanukah bush, that it isn’t truly a Christian symbol, ya de ya de ya de… It didn’t work with my father and I’m sure it doesn’t work with many Jewish families. Though in today’s world, times are different and maybe a small tree might fly!
Fast forward many years later at the tender age of 23, I marry a nice Catholic boy. Finally, I would get to experience Christmas! (Why else marry outside your faith?!!)
It was Christmas 1977 and I was so excited. We didn’t own a car since we commuted into New York City by bus from New Jersey. I had a driver’s license, but never drove having grown up in New York City. My husband walked with a shopping cart to the local supermarket, a distance of a mile or more, to buy a tree and surprise me. I remember it vividly when I came home to a tree standing tall in a stand ready to be decorated by newlyweds who were doing everything for the very first time. I cried putting the tree up and I cried taking it down.
I have been carrying on this tradition for years, but this first Christmas will always be one I cherish in my heart and memory. There is only one first and the ones that you remember are special, never to be duplicated again.
Christmas, just like many family holidays triggers memories for many people. If you have lost someone, a parent, a spouse, someone dear to you it is a time for those memories to be felt acutely. Recognize that the most mundane things we do can be made memorable. Live in the present, not in the past, but hold the past locked in your heart for safe keeping. These reminiscences will make you smile now and 10 years from now. It’s your unique story that is unlike anyone’s else.
So, indulge Barclay and me, if you will, as we muse on Christmas past and present.
Charles Dickens, where are you?
. Time is your friend now. You don’t have to compete with your job, raising children, getting dinner on the table. Savor each baked Christmas cookie and each unwrapped ornament as if it was the first time you ever experienced it.
. Make new memories and blend them with the old. After all, your retired life is just that, a patchwork quilt that you are weaving together.
Enjoy the Ride,
xox Barclay & Joy