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Christmas Season

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

I've had a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit ever since 2015. It's been eight years since our family went through a pretty tough period with our parents. I blamed Alzheimers. Now I don't know what to blame. We moved our parents up to Montana from Arizona on December 22nd. Mom, brother Bruce, daughter Megan and I spent the days keeping Dad occupied until Christmas. I had gone up into the mountains nearby and brought home a tree I thought we could all decorate together. I set up all kinds of lights and Santas, garland, and Christmas stuff hoping it would feel like Christmas. It was a brilliant performance on all our parts to feel like we were in the spirit of things. The food was great all day and after all the gifts were opened we watched football. We never got around to decorating the tree.

It almost felt like Christmas but weighing heavily in most of our minds was the next day where we would move Dad into memory care and Mom into an independent living apartment. How would it all work? What would Dad know and feel? I think we all felt the sadness of this new chapter of aging parents and we had emotions none of us talked about because that would make it real. That was Christmas 2015. Dad passed less than 4 months later. Ouch.

I can't even tell you what Christmas was like the next 5 years. I know we had them but I know my heart was never really into them. I went through the motions of dragging stuff out and pretending to be festive but it just never felt right.

Now that I've depressed myself and probably you, I feel much more festive this year. In fact, the last couple years have brought out more Christmas spirit. I think it's because I realized it wasn't about how much I decorated (or didn't), or listened to Christmas songs, or planned and cooked a super yummy meal, or presents I bought or got. It was about being okay not doing all those things and that I would get back on board when I was ready. And I've slowly come out of the darkness.

This year I'm excited. I got a big tree for me, a little tree for 4 month old Rowan and a swag for the front door. I'm not dragging out every Christmas decoration I own just because I have them. I'm keeping it simple and reaching out to people I miss and feeling content after a connection is renewed. Mostly family who aren't blood but are family nonetheless. I'm telling every person I see Merry Christmas with a song in my heart. I have a new granddaughter I get to spend the day with while we eat and watch football. Nothing exciting but it feels great to be happy about Christmas 2023.

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