What is your favourite Christmas/Yule/Holiday memory? And I mean, when you think of the holidays, what memory makes you glow and feel all warm and happy? Does it have anything to do with receiving presents or gifts?
When I read this question on SlowChristmas.org it gave me pause. Right now the holidays are filled with daily questions of "Are you ready? Are you all ready for Christmas? Have all your shopping done yet?" and comments of stress, exhaustion and dare we say... misgivings.
Taking a few moments to actually wade through those gnarly clouds of stressful, consumerist thoughts to actually remember completely the *feelings*, the emotions of my favourite memories took some time. I thought I'd share mine with you...
My absolute best memory of Christmas is actually Christmas Eve. In my pre to mid teens we started going to the evening, Christmas Eve mass (French Catholic) so that we could take our time Christmas morning. After we'd return from attending church, we'd have a few minutes to unwind while mom and dad set up the snacks and beverages.
You see- each year they had family friends come over for rum and eggnog, spiced apple cider, chips and lobster dip, cookies and snacks. My parents friends would all gather in the living room, with the tree lit and soon there'd be choruses of "Play Lisa, Play some Christmas songs!" I'd sigh dejectedly like the teenager I was and trudge up. What they didn't know was that I had specifically practiced the Christmas piano songs for weeks before. I really wasn't "too cool" for that.
Eventually enough drinks were had that a few would join me up on the bench and belt along, off key and laughing. I had to fight to keep myself on that bench and not be slowly and a little woozily pushed off... Around midnight they all eventually braved the cold snow to make a (short) drive down the road home and while my brother and I fell asleep I could hear them whisper and sneak the gifts from the closet in their bedroom.
Such a sense of family and connection. THAT has always been my favourite Christmas memory. Sadly, in recent years these friends have all had grandchildren and instead go there for Christmas Eve... (women get married and have babies a lot earlier if you stay in the village... I'm sure if I wasn't engaged my mom would have given up!). I never knew how much I loved that part of Christmas until they stopped coming.
This memory really has nothing to do with presents. I actually can barely remember any gifts I received past a few years ago. The materials things weren't what stuck with me, but the feeling of being together, or shared love and friendship... that's what has stayed.
If the holiday memories are going to be predominantly about experiences and not things, then why are we stressing about gifts? This simple question has made me realize that choosing to simply give a gift over Yule wasn't going to make the *cherished* bank.
My first step in establishing a Slow-Christmas/Yule tradition are the carols that I love so much. Even though I'm not Christian myself, something about Christmas songs bring so much love and joy in people's hearts. This year I've officially made plans to bring my guitar home over Christmas weekend and sing at the hospital where Grand-Mere is staying. When I informed my mom, she thought about it for a few days and called to say she'd asked the staff's permission and she was bringing cookies.
What's better than yummy homemade cookies and song?
I think it would be lovely if you, fantastic reader, would blog about your favourite Christmas/Yule/Holiday memory... and check out SlowChristmas.org. Seriously a beautiful site.
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com