A Christmas tradition, photo with Santa.
For me, there's a little sadness associated with Christmas. For some people, I suspect there is a lot of sadness. In the middle of the decorating, the Christmas television shows, the shopping, and all the other activities, melancholy can creep in.
For those whose incomes and lifestyles have changed, Christmas can be a source of parental guilt for not meeting their children's expectations and needs. The giving and receiving parts of the holiday are emphasized in stores, on television and even at school. Children who realize Santa won't bring them gifts feel deprived, maybe even angry. It is worse if they still expect gifts and there are none. The fantasy of Santa is gone. Knowing there are children who experience this is a sadness for me. I so appreciate the organizations and individuals who gather toys and treats for children during the holiday. The Salvation Army Angel Trees make me feel happy. At least some children will have Christmas. I usually buy for an angel on the tree or donate to the Salvation Army. Their motivation seems pure--giving not profit.
Christmas is such a store of memories for many of us older adults. We remember grandparents and parents who are long gone. Nostalgic memories may make us smile, but there is an edge of sadness to them. In my dad's family, Christmas was always a really big deal. Those Depression Era children did not have a big Christmas, but everybody got something and an orange in a stocking was a special treat. One special story is about my grandfather placing shoe prints in the ashes of the fireplace before my dad and his siblings got up on Christmas morning. The prints belonged to Santa, of course.
When I was very young, my dad's family with all the children and grandchildren met in my grandparent's living room. It was always cold and a fire in the fireplace wasn't just for aesthetics. My aunt passed the presents around and there was a chaos of noise and paper cluttter as we unwrapped and showed our gift. This all sounds so simple and ordinary, but those Christmases have been a lasting memory for me even now that the home place is empty and falling in, the parents and grandparents are gone, and the grandchildren are grown up and scattered around the country. Still, I'm very glad I have those memories even if thinking them brings conflicting emotions.
Now, I'll go listen to "Sleigh Ride," which always makes me happy, and think of my own grandchildren and what I can do to give them happy memories this Christmas.
Stores at the mall display a wide variety of things to want.
Some of my family and grandchildren Christmas 2010