A week from tomorrow, we "fall" back an hour, to me the beginning of the fall/winter holiday season. Thursday will be Halloween, and I have a bowl of goodies ready to give to little ones (and some probably not so little) as they come to my door. Robert has some candy to pass out if tricker-treaters come to visit him. I remember when I had most of my Christmas shopping finished by Halloween so I could enjoy the holiday seasons and not scramble to find gifts for all the family. Oh, yes, I remember because now I do well to shop anytime for any reason. But, I still like the idea. However, Halloween signals preparation for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving this year is unclear: Will there be a family get-together? Where? When? Bob and his crew will be in Oklahoma the week of Thanksgiving, so we'll surely see them. Usually Randy and Janelle host a family dinner. I no longer am able to host a dinner, do well to provide a meal for myself. No, no pity, just the facts of life. I know since Robert can't leave the skilled nursing facility I'll be spending most of Thanksgiving Day with him. He needs company, especially on a holiday. I understand that Grace Living Center holds a big celebration for the residents and their families. Wonder if some of our family can join us? We'll have to ask. Thanksgiving is important to me because I believe we all need to pause and realize what God has given us, and to give thanks.
A month after Thanksgiving comes Christmas. Robert will be on long-term care and can leave the center for the day during that time period. Therefore, he can be driven in his van to a family dinner. Once we know what the family plans are, we can make our plans.
For me, Christmas has always meant family being together. Of course gifts are nice, symbols of sharing with those we love, but expensive gifts that place a person in debt is not the spirit of Christmas. As we have gotten older, we can't afford much anyway, but I like to give a little something to "show" those I love that I love them enough to want to share with them, even if only a card or a photo.
I have begun to shop for Christmas. As I've seen something I think someone will like or could use, I saved and bought. No, I didn't buy a grandchild a new car or a new wardrobe, much as I would like sometimes. However, I found something Robert could use with his power chair (his poor, worn out power chair, oh, for the funds to replace that). I discovered something for one of the kids. I have an idea what to obtain for another grandchild. Not much, but a token of what those people mean to me.
When I was a child, my parents were poor. At the time I never realized how poor, after all my dad was in the service, but ... Christmas was always special, and my parents made sure my brothers, sisters, and I had at least one special gift. My dad read Christmas stories to us on Christmas Eve, ending with the Bible story. We sang Christmas carols and hung our stockings before heading for bed. Robert didn't have any family traditions because Christmas wasn't treated as anything except another day other than having a good meal.
I tried to pass some traditions to my children, but after they became adults with families of their own, they soon adopted the traditions of their own or from the other side of their growing families. One tradition we started seems still to exist: new pj's opened on Christmas Eve. With our children, the new sleepwear was from Daddy, for grandchildren, from PaPa. I hope even after he's gone, that the families will continue the practice with the pj's for children from their daddies.
This season beginning in a few days brings happy memories and a few of sorrow. To me, though, enjoying family and remembering all for which I should be thankful and giving praise for the symbol of Christmas is most important.