First Christmas without my Mom. Christmas was her deal. The decorating, the cooking, family all together, the gifting – toute la kit; she loved it. I thought that if I had to hear White Christmas one more time, I would have stuck a pencil in my ear but today, this start of the Christmas season? I would give my all to hear it because she had played it “one more time”.
I wasn’t going to do Christmas this year. You see, for starters, I am not Christian – haven’t been since my very early twenties. My family – Dave, the boys and I celebrate Yule. Christmas celebration in our house was, primarily due to societal pressure (the boys having to explain the whole deal) and my Mom. Oh, I would give her the song and verse about commercialism, that this Jesus guy wasn’t born on Dec. 25th – in fact, he wasn’t born in December at all. The money, the phoney “good will toward men” thing – the parties and the hypocrisy of it all; she remained steadfast and every Christmas morning, we would dress the kids, load up the car with gifts, food and other necessary items when you have 3 boys to maintain and schlepp over to my parents where, inevitably, we would have a good time, with fabulous food and lots of laughter – debates and most of the time, my Dad imbibing a bit too much cheer and falling asleep at the table, after dinner.
I remember, in my thirties – when I thought I knew it all – resenting the hell out of this “obligation” hefted on me by another religion. Some twenty some odd years later? I now know – I knew and know buptkus. I would do anything to get those years back. To suck it up and allow the holiday to unfold without the patent self-important lecture on the commercialism and irrelevance of Christmas. To walk into my parents’ home – smell the food, being surrounded by red, green and gold decorations – to hear White Christmas playing on their stereo.
I decided that to not honour the Christmas holiday would be such a hurt to my mother, to her memory. So we’re doing it and we’re doing it big time. I’m going to decorate, I’m going to cook and I’m going to buy gifts. I am going to stuff stockings. We’ll have turkey and roast, stuffing and vegies, those little salad rolls, heated so the butter melts – we’ll have plum pudding and sauce. I’m making Figgy Duff in honour of my Dad. And Christmas Eve? Prepare yourselves – I am going to go to mass. (Watch for lightening hitting St. Edmunds Church in Beaconsfield).
Oh we’ll do our annual Yule thing but this year; we will do Christmas and we’ll make Mom proud.
This is for you, Mom.