Our last episode was about Hanukkah, and as is the case with many of our topics, I learned so much about this one. In fact, I was embarrassed that I knew so little up to that point, and I was so impressed with what I learned about the beautiful Festival of Lights. I was on more solid ground with Christmas since I grew up with Santa and Christmas trees. I decided to focus on the celebrations and traditions of Christmas in this episode. It turned out to be a fun one to do.
Anything involving lights, songs, sparkle and color is my thing, and Christmas at our house incorporates all of those, as I suspect is the case in many homes. I began by taking a ‘tour’ of our Christmas tree and pointing out ornaments that have special meaning. We have ornaments our children and grandchildren have made for us, ornaments we brought back from our travels, and ornaments that just say Christmas to us. We looked at some of my nativities, and I took the opportunity to point out why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, namely the birth of the Christ Child. I emphasized the traditions that many people celebrate around that all important event that Christians everywhere celebrate. I talked about who Santa is in other countries and some of the traditions surrounding the various incarnations of Santa. And I introduced La Befana, the witch who visits children in Italy in early January. I had never heard of her until Charlie was introduced to her while they were living in Italy. Coincidentally, my other three grandchildren met La Befana in Disney World only weeks later at Epcot’s World Showcase. I fell in love with La Befana’s legend.
I read poems called “Christmas Cheer” and “When Santa Stops By.” As has been my habit with many of our episodes, I mentioned that Christmas this year could be very different for all of us, but that family and many of our familiar traditions would still be there for us to enjoy. My concern all along has been the jarring differences in the lives of little ones in the face of the ongoing pandemic (a word I resist using in any of the episodes). I try to reassure them that their lives will go on, their families are there for them, and eventually things will return to some sort of normal.
While it’s important that our kids feel safe in this uncertain world, we adults need to have that as well, at least enough to allow us to celebrate the holiday. I think we’re all so weary at this point that we, in fact, almost feel like we need permission to be happy as we dodge illness, and bob and weave through the minefield that is 2020. I’m giving myself that permission to celebrate and, for what it’s worth, you also need to give yourself that permission. I’ve seen more decorated houses and Christmas lights than I’ve ever seen before, and I think these people have the right idea. We all need to take a breath, power through, and have as merry a Christmas as our circumstances allow. We owe it to our kids, yes, but we owe it to ourselves as well.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Stay safe and healthy, and here’s to a better 2021. ❤️