Instead of the traditional Christmas letter that everyone writes, myself included, I am taking advantage of the quiet in the few days after the Christmas craziness to reflect on the holidays and my family in a more personal way, instead of just listing accomplishments. My favourite holiday moments actually come after Christmas is done. There is always that sense of satisfaction at a job well done, or, at least done. This year, we hosted a family dinner, got all the must have Christmas presents, sent everything out on time, and had fun (for the most part), so it was a great success!
Seeing family and friends, opening gifts, baking Christmas cookies, opening gifts, and eating and drinking everything under the low winter sun makes the time fly by so quickly. Once I have the mess cleaned up and a cup of coffee, or two or three, is when I really feel the peace of the holiday season. Children playing happily with new toys with all the fun décor of Christmas still making the house all cozy marks the completion of another year and more family memories to carry forward.
Both of my parents passed away years ago, so I don’t have them here to spoil my kids with presents and treats and just to share this time of year with them. I miss them both every day, but this time of year is a reminder of all the special moments that my parents missed out on and what my children are missing too. I truly love and appreciate my in-laws and my extended family, but, for me, a little melancholy and the holidays go hand in hand. That doesn’t mean that everything at the holidays is a downer, but it is maybe a little bittersweet at times.
I want to honour my mom and dad, and other family members, by talking about them, but I am a very private person. It is hard to balance sharing memories, traditions, and sometimes regrets about who is missing with not wanting to dampen spirits and the joy of the season, especially for my kids. I am still working on dealing with things in an emotionally healthy way. For now, I will enjoy my time with my family and ensure that they have their own memories, whatever may come. There are so many photos and moments from the holidays and I love looking at the photos from previous years, so I am creating a Christmas themed photo album that we can enjoy and add to every holiday season.
And in the knowledge that life is short, I am going to add some new items to my to-do list, because apparently I am insane and do not know when to stop. Inspired by the epistolary tradition, and defeated by the blank pages of the journals that I bought to fill with my wisdom and love for them, I will write letters to my son and daughter. I love the tradition of letters, which is being lost; people barely even email anymore. There are so many thoughts, moments, and wishes that I want to save for my kids. Hopefully, being free to write when the mood strikes will relieve the pressure of feeling that I need to write something perfect and profound every time.
As to actual 2017 highlights, it has been a fun, but mostly unexciting year, other than a great new job for me. Lots of activities and parties for the kids, and general silliness throughout the year, but not enough travel or even just dates for me and my husband (a dinner, a movie, anything please!). As beautiful as it is, and as much as I enjoyed a week at the Whiteshell, being in Manitoba all year round is not for me, so, in addition to family time and some much needed couple time, travel is a must this year. All we need is time and money. Life goals for 2018!