Thursday, December 13, 2012

The year I was thrown off the Christmas treadmill...

I was never a crazy, over the top, participant in Christmas. A christmas tree, some tasteful decorations, and a reasonable amount of money spent on gifts for family and friends worked for me. It would still get stressful at times, to squeeze everything in, in a few short weeks, and worry if I had forgotten someone, or something.

Some years back my elderly parents announced that they were only buying Christmas gifts for the grandchildren. We adult kids were getting too hard to buy for and they asked us kids to please not buy them anything either. I continued to buy them something every year, I just couldn't imagine not!
...and then there was December of 2008.

John died on the twelfth of December. I obviously had not done any Christmas shopping. I returned to work within the week... the thought of being home alone in an empty house was unbearable. Work would keep me occupied. I drove past the mall everyday, to and from work. Finally one evening I decided I needed to stop and doing some Christmas shopping. I wandered around the mall feeling like an outsider, walking through a world that I didn't belong to. How could all these people be happy and festive? How can the world continue to be business as usual when I have experienced this tragedy? I left the mall and drove home without making a single purchase.

At some point I did manage to get my daughter and her boyfriend a gift certificate and I made some chocolate peppermint bark. Christmas dinner was at my parents, everyone was there... the chocolate peppermint bark was forgotten at home (but I did remember the gift card). It was a really nice Christmas day spent with the family I love. Like the Who's down in Whoville, Christmas still came without all the gifts and fanfare.

Since 2008 I don't stress about Christmas gifts or really buy much of anything except for my daughter, and even there I keep it simple. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.


  1. I have't been on the xmas mill for years, if I had kids I might. Your pigs have inspired me to possibly make a rabbit bank, we shall see.

  2. When Christmas holidays no longer bring joy to you, sharing whatever you do feel is ok, especially with those you love. They will continue to offer the warm embrace that the season of giving is all about. And it's really good to get out of the malls. I think there are some great other places to be!

  3. The days of a mall and the night visitor are long gone here.

  4. Thank you for sharing so honestly and deeply about losing John near Christmas and the way Christmas changed for you. It is thoughtful and moving post. Christmas provokes an odd blend of emotions in me, memories of past joys, and feelings of loss and mortality too. What a moment in the year this is when family and friends reach out to each other and say "Do you remember when...?"!
    Kind Thoughts, Pxx

  5. So sorry for your loss! It's sad and beautiful at the same time. I love your description of your final days with John.

  6. JZ! Golly your life has changed since then, hmm?

  7. IMHO the best gift you can give someone is yourself and the best time you can give that does not have to be just on Dec 25th. I suspect St. Nicholas (the patron Saint of retail) would disagree.


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