It is so easy and wonderful to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas. So many presents to give, so many places to go, so many foods to eat, so many lights to see. I love this holiday on my own, but Story’s excitement in going to my parents’ house and spending time with her grandparents and aunts is contagious. As a child, the wonder of Christmas could sustain me for weeks, long after the decorations came down and the candy was gone. Now, as an adult, the aftermath is an immediate letdown. The decorations come down, the pine needles are vacuumed up, and work and regular life take over again.
It is two days after Christmas, and this morning, I had already begun to create the post-holiday to-do list in my mind. We had one more get-together to attend, and then, as much as I hated it, I had to seriously think about getting back to work. My dad’s family doesn’t gather often, usually only once a year, if schedules allow. This year, we met for dinner and good conversation. It’s always nice to see them. We aren’t what you would call close, but we all genuinely like each other and are interested in each other’s lives, so it is always a pleasant experience.
This year was different.
Following dinner, we gathered at my aunt and uncle’s house. I expected to sit around the living room, broken up into smaller groups and conversations for a bit, swap a few stories and new contact information, and then be on our way back to my parents’ house for an early evening. Instead, we all went down into the basement entertainment room and made ourselves comfortable in front of a television screen. Playing was an old VHS tape of our family, back when my grandparents were still alive and Christmas was an entirely magical event. My grandmother defined the holiday—that’s really the only way to describe it—and she knew how to do Christmas. I had forgotten the warmth, the smells, the sounds, and the love. Voices, especially, were amazing to hear and remember. I hadn’t realized I had even forgotten them.
My grandfather was forever behind a camera of some sort, and we were able to witness what he found wonder in—my cousin’s first few days of life, my grandmother’s roses, another cousin’s toddling about, the church congregation releasing balloons, his wife holding his grandchildren . . . his family. My family.
We broke out the pictures soon after and spent what felt like a lifetime in remembrance. I can only guess what everyone else felt as they flipped through picture after picture, sharing and laughing, pointing and questioning, telling story after story.
It wasn’t the Christmas that I remember from my childhood, but it was my adult version of the wonder of the holiday that will sustain me for several weeks, I’m sure. I went home for the holidays in more than one way this year.
The adult version of #christmas can be just as nice. #homefortheholidays Click To Tweet