Betty Heath: Thinking About Traditions and Changes
It happened while I was sitting by my crackling fire. I was thinking about how different Christmas will be for us this year. I guess you could say we are ’waxing in our old age.” My head has been swimming as I made and addressed Christmas notes to our friends and family who live so many miles away.
I am so grateful for all who take the time to stay in touch with us. We are so thankful for all who have been kind and thoughtful to us all year. I think I must be a traditionalist who enjoys the many traditions of Christmas. But, as I sat by my crackling fire on this day I had a visit from my mother. She doesn’t come very often anymore, so I was a bit amused by her presence.
When she does drop by it’s when I least expect it. This time she came through the door without even knocking. Before I knew it she was chatting away with me. “Stop being so hard on yourself,” she said. “But this is Christmas and I want certain things to be like they have always been,” I replied. She pointed her finger at me and reminded me that change can be a good thing.
With that, she turned and left through the same door that she had entered; the door to my heart. Christmas is such a traditional time of year for me. I get teary eyed when I think of the Christmases past and how much I enjoyed witnessing my children embracing the traditions that were passed on to them. The anticipation of Christmas was almost more than they could stand.
Putting up the Christmas tree was always exciting for them. Deciding where to place each ornament was often akin to a real theatrical experience. For years we used the same artificial tree until one year my daughter and her younger brother decided to surprise me with a real flocked tree. This was after both had graduated from high school and had jobs. They still remember that year and still say that tree was the prettiest one ever.
I’m not one that likes changes. In fact, changes can be scary and often give me the dry heaves. But, this year The Mr. and I opted to make a major change in our Christmas and opted out of putting up our fabulous Christmas tree. It is a joint effort and quite a production for us to put our big tree up, string the 1,000 lights on it then decorate it. Friends have told us it should be displayed in the lobby of a hotel or some other place of grandeur it is so beautiful.
Several friends offered to help me put it up this year, but I declined. It just wouldn’t be the same. By the time I decorated our house with my eleven Santas, the elf on the shelf, the nativity, candles, and evergreen boughs with snowflake lights on the mantle, plus the nutcrackers our house looks very festive. I still have special ornaments that I use to decorate the small tree that sits on our hearth including one that hung on my Christmas tree when I was a child and the two Waterford Crystal ornaments my daughter gave me years ago.
Traditions are to be enjoyed even if only in memories. Sitting by my fire today I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my mother pays me another visit. In fact, I just looked in the mirror and saw her staring back at me. It’s scary for me to realize I have become my mother. But that’s all right because even though traditions have their place, sometimes change can be a good thing.
What changes might you chose to make in your Christmas traditions this year?