My Christmas Letter for 2012…
Christmas time can be a time of contradiction. Even while we celebrate the joys of the season, we often struggle with melancholy memories of days gone by, of family no longer with us, or of worldly troubles. This is not a new struggle, song writers have written many tunes of longing and wishes for family, home, and peace.
Traditions of the Christmas Season help us hold on to better times; times of our childhood before we became aware of the melancholy struggles so many face each year. Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies still are a prerequisite for me. While grandma was still alive, I spent time learning to reproduce her cookie. After she passed on, I made it my goal to send cookies each Christmas to my grandfather and close family each year.
As a child, I was under the impression that my mother did not like frosted sugar cookies because she so seldom made them. Actually she loved them; she just did not like to make the mess. As soon as I learned this, I added frosted sugar cookies to the list of must haves in the Christmas parcels. Just last night we, my husband, children and I, frosted the cookies. Rather than admit to having fun, the boys take the attitude of grouchy bears. It is funny how traditions start, even the tradition of acting grumpy while frosting cookies; a tradition started when mom was able to frost with more flare than dad. It is funny how a fake tantrum by dad years ago aimed at helping the kids accept their limitations has now become the tradition, at least for the men at the table.
Homemade jams and jellies were the constant in my childhood home. Even after my mom stopped making them, grandma kept us supplied. Gifts of jelly have saved many a Christmas when the pocket book was limited but the friends were abundant. Jalapeño Bread soon joined the jelly and is now a favorite as well. My son has taken over the making of the jelly and the bread, but soon his sister will need to step in and not long after that, mom will have to return as the Christmas head chef.
Life does not stand still, and Christmas time reflects the changes of time. Years ago we would send four or five boxes of goodies to family each Christmas, but now we only have one box to prepare. In what seems like a blink of an eye, the family has grown small. Death is part of life but so is marriage and children. One day the family will be back to growing rather than shrinking and Christmas packages will again be numerous.
I really look forward to the Christmases where little pajamas are made by grandma in addition to the adult sized ones being made by mom. These are the visions that dance though my head as I prepare for this Christmas. The dreams of the future coupled with memories of the past make Christmas my favorite time of the year.
I would be remiss in my ramblings if I didn’t also include mention of the joys of Christmas present. There is such a wonderful quality about the time spent with one’s children, time keeping up the traditions of their youth. Sewing the pajamas and Christmas clothing with your daughter or baking holiday treats with your son are truly blessed moments, but the best tradition is decorating the tree. Each year we gather together to unwrap the ornament collection, reminiscing on when each ornament was received and remarking on our favorites. Over the years the kids have grown older and taller and need no assistance reaching the highest branches. During this same passage of time, my husband and I have grown to resemble Mr. and Mrs. Clause a bit more. This was not my husband’s desire but a reality I don’t mind at all, at least not in December. So in honor of our growing resemblance to the jolly North Pole couple, we (meaning me) have decided to begin sending Christmas greetings once again.
Our wish to you during this Christmas Season is that you will always find the comfort of the Savior in your lives, and that His presence will help you through the melancholy as well as the joys of life.