Christmas Through My Ages

The title of today’s post comes from a piece of music one of the HNHS Bands played in the recent concert called, “Christmas Through The Ages”, which combined old caroles with classical music of the era.

…through my teen years

My parents divorced when I was 12 and I was the oldest of 5, so during my teen years, my siblings were all still in the exciting years of childhood, Santa and the quantity of presents to unwrap. Knowing that my mother struggled with providing much, Dad would bring over some toys and stuff late Christmas Eve so there would be things under the tree on Christmas morning. We always started Christmas at home, but at some point during the day, would load up into Dad’s car for Christmas at his house. If there has to be a positive out of divorce and multiple families, it is multiple Christmasses.

…through my college / first teaching job years

Mom always wanted us to draw names so that we weren’t all buying presents for everybody. We would draw names at Thanksgiving. There always seemed to be at least one of the siblings each year to break that rule and get something for everyone. I was guilty a few times, especially after I got out of college and had a real job.

… as the children came

Joan and I were the first to parent any of the next generation, so the rules for name swapping changed slightly. We all bought one present plus everybody could by for the children. Eventually, all my siblings had children and the Christmas morning tear-into-the-packages became more involved.

With only a couple exceptions (one year we convinced all the KY and OH people to drive here), Mom’s house was always the meeting place for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. You could have multiple Christmases as long as Christmas morning was at her house.

We went through a few years where we refused to pack up our boys’ gifts and travel with them, but instead, would have our personal Christmas first thing in the morning and THEN travel.

As our sons went through college — and after, they were with us when they were home and we would travel to the mama’s house with whoever was home at the time.

…when the Mama matriarch could no longer host

Sadly, now that Mom is in a nursing home, no one has stepped up to be the host/hostess for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We generally let the siblings know when we are coming to town and meet up with those who are available. Less than ideal, but still good. We’ll have to start some new kind of family tradition.

Holiday Season 2011

We were blessed to have both boys home with us for Thanksgiving….that hasn’t happened for a few years. For Christmas, David came home again from Philly at the same time John and his family are flying to visit Laurie’s family in PA. We got a lot of good pictures at Thanksgiving.

So Christmas Day was a little calm. We actually hadn’t bought David anything since all the things he was asking for are so personal taste in nature, that we are taking him shopping the day after Christmas — he didn’t get here with enough time before and I wasn’t about to fight the Christmas eve eve crowd, even for him.

John and family are into getting biig things outta the house, so we sent a SMALL box with some LITTLE toys for Nate and a wallet-sized gift card for the parents.

We did Christmas dinner at Lila’s (she is the one who fell down our basement steps on Thanksgiving so we weren’t going to ask her to come here again for a while) …. so we had her stuff in bags.

So David is the only one who saw the tree this year.

A quiet, lower key Christmas, but good. The family, although scattered a bit at the moment, iis all healthy and happy. If you haven’t read our Christmas letter, I added to what I posted earlier because I forgot to include a big part of David’s life this year…..so I have an updated version below.

Gardner Christmas Letter 2010

Remember the Reason for the Season as you relax and get ready for the after Christmas grind.

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