As Christmas approaches, I have many fond childhood memories from the past, such as visiting relatives( 2 aunts and their families in particular) which memories are bittersweet for me as most of my relatives(other than the cousins) have all died now,and there’s hardly anyone left; I’m still here and they’re not,and most of the relatives I knew and spent time with growing up are no longer here,and this fact is most evident at Christmas time; we can no longer visit them and no longer receive cards in the mail…
I also am reminded of decorating the tree, and having the European traditions such as Advent calendars, Stollen, pffernusse cookies and opening a gift on Christmas Eve after Mass.As a child we also ordered special Christmas items from the Avon catalogue.It is a season that always reminds me of Europe and the rich traditions.
I also fondly remember time off school, skating outdoors with my friend who I only saw over Christmas and summer break, tobogganning,and baking; one time I baked over 12 fruitcakes in a day! Cookies, eggnog, special chocolates and other various treats,and the giddy excitement of awaiting opening my presents as a child and rummaging thru my stocking ,and of singing carols at school around the tree(although sadly now with political correctness this would no longer even be allowed in the schools!).
My fondest memories would ha ve to be visiting my aunts, which we only did over Christmas and summer-time, so it was special and exciting. One aunt we spent the w/e and the other(who lived a distance away) a week. Some of my happiest childhood memories swirl around these cherished visits I always looked forward to.I can even still remember the way they decorated their trees and the blue lights my one aunt had,and her mantle-piece decorations; such memories are rich and clear, even over 30 years later. I cherish them in my mind , heart,and soul .They are as warm and vivid as when I was a child.
I currently pass on some of our traditions with my own kids such as the tree and Advent calendar and the edible treats, but it is always focused around the real and true meaning: the birth of Christ. We must never forget Jesus is the reason for the season and to keep the CHRIST in Christmas!! and it IS “Christmas”, too, and NOT “holidays” or “season” as the secular world wants you to think.Keep Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas close to your heart.