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Thinking about Christmas

Thinking about Christmas

Thoughts I already posted on the forum, but still wanted to share

When I was growing up, Christmas used to be a magical time to me. I was raised a catholic and we went to church every Sunday. Christmas then however, was more than just religious. It was a true family celebration, and on Christmas day, our family of five, my parents, brother, sister and me, always expanded. My aunt who wasn't married would be there, and usually some colleague of my father, that did not have anyone to celebrate with. Presents were never there, not even thought of. Christmas was not about presents, it was about family and sharing. For us five, Christmas really took of on Christmas eve. We would go to the church at midnight, celebrate there, and walk home together. There, the little lights would be on in the tree and the Christmas stall, the candles would be lighted and we would have breakfast, with raisin bread and real butter, and warm sweet tea. The next morning would see a similar breakfast, the five of us together at the table, set with white linen and the good dishes, the ones with a small golden line all around. We would feel special then. Later the guests would come, the aunt, the colleague, and we would go to church again, all together. Even though I no longer believe, those masses never lost their magic in my memory. And then back home, just relaxing, enjoying the wonderful Christmas dinner my mother would prepare, and most of all, enjoying the company. The guests my father invited, included within our family during those days, were always special. I remember a real Papua, who told stories of the jungles, of tigers, crocodiles and cannibals. He had brought real spears, bow and arrows, and told of his adventures with them, of surviving there. I remember a gypsy violinist, who now moved pallets and a broom for a living, but who used to have an orchestra of his own. He had photo albums that showed him with his orchestra in grande ballrooms and in concert halls, in Vienna, in New York, in Moscow. He had met kings and queens, presidents an dictators. These people showed us kids a world, we would never have dreamed of. They made our Christmases extra special.

Later, when we grew up, those guests were replaced by the ones we fell in love with, the ones we later married. And the family expanded further with the birth of grandchildren. We stopped visiting church, but the feeling of togetherness as a family stayed.

Nowadays, Christmas has lost it's appeal. The three of us all divorced within two years from each other, a few years later my father died of cancer. The family celebrations never were that special again. The fact, that Christmas has turned into a commercial event doesn't help either. Today, Christmas isn't a celebration anymore, but it isn't a burden either. It simply is a two-week holiday for the kids, two weeks relax time for them. We do some Christmas decorating, out of habit, and because we still love those little lights, and we buy and give some presents, but it will never be a magic time of year again, like it was, when I was a child.
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