“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ― Bob Hope
If there’s one thing we can rely upon in life, it’s that nothing stays the same. Faces and places which were such a familiar, constant presence in our lives have disappeared only to exist in our memories.
While new faces and places are certainly created to fill the noticeable void, there’s something about Christmas time which litters our mind with nostalgia. A deep reckoning for holiday celebrations we can still remember with such clarity though can no longer experience.
An understanding that it’s often the simplest things – not the great occasions – which ignite such time-honored emotions.
Growing up in an Italian-American household, food and family were always in abundance – especially during the Christmas season. Folding tables and chairs were retrieved from the garage to accommodate holiday guests and the endless parade of food which seemed to stretch from one end of the table to the other.
I can still see my grandmother’s wearing their holiday sweaters with handcrafted pins clipped to the front – no doubt purchased from one the holiday craft fairs their charitable organizations always hosted.
With the Yule Log safely burning away on the television set in the next room, the air was filled with holiday classics and the aroma of meat sauce, bread heating up in the oven and cookies baked earlier in the day. It was truly impossible not to feel in the holiday spirit.
It’s those holiday memories, and hundreds more, which often turn my Christmas blue.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, as my life is certainly filled with abundance. But the past can be both a blessing and a curse. A joyous place where you can revisit those faces and places, yet a haunting reminder of all that we’ve lost.
Combatting it can be difficult, but one thing which has proven helpful for me this season – this crazy, COVID season, is turning off all other distractions.
When we remove all the negativity which so often surrounds us on social media, newsfeeds and television programs, I find it makes dealing with the holidays a little bit easier.
Removing that negativity has helped me to focus on what I’m grateful for and how blessed I am. No longer are messages of hate, competition, vanity and selfishness haunting my subconscious – now my focus can be on managing the season while enjoying the holiday lights, the Christmas trees, the music and the current company.
The holidays can be difficult for many of us. But if you turn off all the other negative distractions in life and remember it’s about the simplest things – not the great occasions, you just might find the ability to enjoy even this most unique season.