Sunday, December 12, 2010

Waiting for Christmas

For many years I have said that my mother was Christmas to me. The wonderful things she did for us during the holiday season, the way she decorated our house with abandon, the thoughtful and plentiful presents she wrapped just for a child's heart. She created holiday glamour in a small ranch house that rivaled any Gilded Age mansion. My mother made sure the anticipation was deliciously excrutiating as our excitement built with the daily opening of the Advent calendar that was tacked up on the kitchen wall.

I don't have those feelings of eagerness any longer. My run up to Christmas is rather quiet. I never promised to provide extravagant Christmases for my daughter even though I learned from the best Christmas arbiter there ever was. Yet, it remains the happiest of seasons for me and always will. Christmas is the keeping place of memories and my mother gave me more than thrills and gifts - she gave me Chistmas joy that visits my heart each and every year..

It's what I have done with these memories that create my holiday today and I find that it is the simpliest of things that give the greatest glow of happiness: a dusting of snow to make everything just white enough, my grandmother's handmade Christmas ornament, the sound of church bells in the village where I live.

It's true that when my mother waved her magic wand on our Christmas, everything became gold and glittered. My wand performs another trick and makes everything soft. And as I stand at my window and keep vigil for the arrival of Christmas this year, I will recite to myself that great Agnes Pahro quote that satisfies all types of Christmas sensibilities: "What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future..."
And just what is Christmas if it is not that?


  1. My grandmother was the same way as your mother. She made the holidays magical. It is sorely missed these days, but little things like italian cookies, or the smell of fresh pine bring all of those memories back. I am so lucky to have had her create these for me.

  2. My mother was a Christmas elf, too, but my Dad was the King of Christmas. A kid himself, he loved to hide presents, make up treasure hunts, decorate the house with truly awful Christmas decor (toilet seat lid with Santa face smiling up at you when closed, mittens over eyes when lid was up. Really!). Elf doorknob covers that prohibited you from entering the room (they just slid around and around!!). Oh, they were the best!!
    I follow my dad's lead...but with a tad more taste!
    Love this post, Donna, thanks for sharing.
    xox Karen