If you hosted your family’s Christmas celebration this year, let me simultaneously give you a hug and a high five. To all those who created the magic, frosted the cookies, set out the good china, trimmed the tree and decked the halls in the name of memories and tradition, this post is for you.
The photos above are of my main living areas this Christmas. Every year I change it up a little bit, and for those of us who love styling and decorating our homes all year round, the Christmas season is a wonderful excuse to go hog wild.
But in the middle of my loving decorating for Christmas, keep in mind I still work full time. I’m in sales in the tech field, which means I’m either buried in email and conference calls in my home office or earning Platinum status on Delta Airlines. So adding, “Make Christmas” to an already long and full to do list is slightly daunting to say the least. Case in point, that garland on my stairs went up over my lunch break on December 21st. And after tugging and pulling, draping and burlap bow tying all while covered in faux flock from hair to sock, I’ll probably leave that baby up until February 1st. (It was too much work to take it down already!)
But my point of this post is a shout out to the women (and men) whose responsibility it was this season to magically manifest Christmas out of thin air, the ones who carried the torch of Christmas spirit for their families.
Our long standing family tradition is a grand event on Christmas Eve that begins with a traditional meal around an extended table with all the linens, massive amounts of presents, enough Christmas cookies to feed Santa’s elves and yes – even a visit from Santa Claus himself.
But on whose shoulders do all these details fall? When I was very young, it was actually my great grandmother (Gram) who hosted an elaborate Christmas in her humble home. (She even played Santa herself when I was a toddler, we have pictures of me screaming in her red suited arms.) Here she is in her hostess mode, complete with a red corsage for the special occasion.
No clue what logistical Christmas detail is in the paper bag – forever a Christmas mystery I guess, as I was only four months old at this, my very first Christmas. I’m the baby in the walker below, and the beautiful 1970’s super model is my pretty mommy, all dressed up for Christmas in a flowing skirt. (Yes, I was a chub of a babe – get a load of those cheeks and that double chin!)
When I entered grade school, the Christmas torch passed to my mother’s mother (Grandma Cyndee), and as a mini Martha Stuart, she put her own magical spin on the event. She hosted for over a few decades and the memories made around her beautifully set table and among an array of different themed Christmas trees in every room are ones I’ll treasure always.
The torch passed to my own mother when the hoopla of it all got to be too much for my Grandmother and she hosted for at least a decade when my children were small. Lots of great memories of Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning at Granny and Grandpa’s! After my divorce from my first husband in 2007, I took on the torch and began hosting Christmas Eve myself. (I remember being pretty dang proud of that ham in the photo below!)
And so, ever since I’ve been the one carrying the Christmas Eve torch . Forty five years of Christmas memories and traditions whisper to me as I set my own table now and carry on the traditions that the women in my family so gracefully executed with resolute precision and genuine love. The faces around this massive table are forever evolving, but the spirit of the torch bearers of Christmases past are very much here, for Grandma Cyndee and Grandpa Alan may be too fragile now to travel, but they are here as I spread the linens on the massive table that was such a staple at our twenty years of Christmases at their home. And even though Gram has long since left us, she is still here, too, as I set out the good china and make sure Dad is bringing the new Santa suit my mom sewed him.
But of course, the best part of Christmas is the people you do it all for. Because let’s be honest, the carrying of the Christmas torch is not easy. There are a million details to balance precariously from groceries to gifts, and if you are like me and have honest moments bordering on a break down when you are asking yourself in the middle of the chaos, “Why do I do this?”
This is why.
This last picture sums it all up – Christmas is about one basic thing, love. So if you find yourself in the phase of life where you’re the one carrying the Christmas torch? Hold the honor high, even in the chaos of it all, and know how very appreciated you are by the people you did it all for.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Peace, Joy and Blessings!