I mentioned in Blogmas Day 1 that since my (step) mom passed in March of 2011, our family has struggled to muster the Christmas cheer.
I haven’t really talk about my mom’s death here… not for any particular reason, it just hasn’t really felt like the appropriate time. Maybe I will share more after the holidays after we approach the anniversary of her passing.
Anyway, after she passed… the holidays stopped feeling like something worth celebrating.
My mom was the creative one. Some of my favorite memories with her are from our girls craft nights. My dad would take all three of the boys and go do something fun like going to Monster Jam and we would go raid the craft store and come home and spend hours at the kitchen table painting, hot gluing, and just enjoying each other’s company.
Not only did she do all the holiday decorating, she also handmade a lot of our holiday decorations. So when she passed it was left to one of us to take the initiative to get the decorations out and do the decorating and it just felt… wrong. It was especially painful to see some of her handmade decorations. So for several years we didn’t put up a single decoration.
After a handful of years, my dad found these blue LED lights that he really liked and strung them around the ceiling of our living room. He used to string multicolored Christmas lights around the ceiling of our living room every year when we were little, before he met my mom and we all moved in together and she took over decorating. Those blue LED lights have become a permanent fixture of our living room décor.
Mom also did all of the shopping. Grocery shopping. School supply shopping. Gifts for birthdays. Gifts for holidays. Gifts just because. So when with her no longer here… unless it was absolutely necessary, it wasn’t getting done. And for the first couple of years, gifts weren’t a necessity. Now, my dad and I go shopping for my brothers’ Christmas gifts together just a couple days before Christmas. But if I am being honest, I have yet to receive a single birthday or Christmas gift since Mom has passed.
And I know that Christmas isn’t about the gifts. I do realize that.
Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending time with the ones you love. But the thing is… After Mom passed, we started traveling to Florida for Christmas to be with Grandma, dad’s sister (Angie), her husband (Scott), and their kids (Mitch & Tori), dad’s brother’s ex (Karen), and her kids (Candace & Brittany), and their families, but we don’t actually spend a lot of time together. We have dinner together on Christmas Eve, we sit together at church during Christmas Eve service, and we have dinner together Christmas Day, but we are there for the better part of two and a half weeks and we barely see anyone outside of those set times.
Let me be extremely clear: This is not any one person’s fault. We all get busy doing our own thing, with our own families and don’t want to be bothered.
…But that is going to change this year because instead of giving gifts this year, we have decided we are going to give an experience and make a memory. If you don’t know what that is, stick around! We’ll discuss it more in a later post.