When I was a little girl I loved Christmas. I remember going to look at the Christmas tree down stairs in the dining room. It was up on a table in the corner of the room. I would look at all the presents under the tree trying to guess what was inside. I always knew which ones were socks.
My experience with parties growing up were with my dad’s family. I remember one Christmas my aunt had the whole family at her house. It was a ranch style house with a long narrow living room. There were about 15 adults and twice as many kids. It was so packed in that house. I think it was one of my favorite Christmas’ as a child. I loved spending time with my dad’s family.
Not all of my memories of Christmas were great as a child. One memory that sticks out the most was when I was between the age of 8-10. I remember waking up early one Christmas morning. The sun was up already, but the house was quiet. I was excited as I got out of bed and headed for the stairs. When I got to the top of the stairs I froze. At the bottom of the stairs was my mom lying on the floor. I can’t remember what thoughts went through my head as I made my way down the stairs. My mom was an alcoholic and I knew, even at my young age, that she had a problem. Maybe it was that knowledge that lead me to step over hear and head into the dining room to the Christmas tree. I didn’t cry. Nothing. Just stepped over her. At the tree I started to separate everyone’s gifts into piles. I thought I was being so helpful. Mom would be happy that I had separated them for everyone. I was still in the middle of separating them when she woke up and made her way to her room. When she saw me in the dining room she yelled and said to put it all back and to go back to bed. It was a bit of a shock. I don’t remember what happened after that. I guess it wasn’t worth remembering.
I don’t know why I remember that Christmas more than most. I am glad my mom took care of me while I was growing up. I never went without food. Sometimes she did. She protected me and fought for me. She finally got victory over alcohol about 11 years before she died. The last Christmas I celebrated with her we exchanged simple gifts. I had basically whined that no one had bought anything before I had arrived. Even sometime small. I think that was another case of me manipulating the situation. At any rate, I got a couple of small gifts. I also gave gifts to my mom. I think that was 2006.
Mom died in 2011. I went to a friends house for Christmas last year. It was nice to spend time with friends and new friends. This year I am spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his family. They are Mexican Americans. Tamales are made at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love tamales. They are so good. I love to eat. It’s probably my favorite part of the holiday. I’m glad for this new family.
So after all that rambling I guess I should say what Christmas means to me. While Christmas doesn’t have the same wonder and excitement that it had when I was a child, I still like the holiday. Here’s what the holiday means to me. It means friends and family. It means love and connection. It means giving. It means spending time with those I love. I’m glad I can do and have all of this at any moment of the year. It’s just fun to have one day to really focus our attention on each other. I’m glad we have several holidays in America. We have several days where we can focus the entire day on someone else. Oh wait. I can do that every day. 🙂 But I think you know what I mean.