Apparently I’m getting into a portion of the holiday season where I feel nostalgic. I already wrote a post about some of my past holiday traditions.
As I progress through some of the traditions I left out of that post, I’m feeling a little sad, a little sentimental, and a little nostalgic.
Last night I found Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer (the Rudolph one has a lot of ads) free for streaming online. As I started watching them, while drinking my hot apple cider, I got teary eyed.
One of the things I thought of as the tears welled in my eyes, was of Charlie Brown’s search for a non-commercial Christmas. Maybe Charlie Brown got through to me at a young age, because when I was perhaps 10-years-old, I wanted to get the commercialism out of my family’s Christmas. I made my parents point out the appropriate part of the Bible, I coerced my brother and my aunt to be part of the show, and we acted out the part of the Bible Linus refers to in Charlie Brown Christmas.
I remember aunts and uncles talking and smiling as we put on the show, and me feeling like they weren’t taking it seriously. I remember feeling incredibly self-conscious throughout our little act, short though it was.
The feeling that our show of solidarity with the “reason for the season” wasn’t taken seriously persisted as we organized around our presents after we finished. The tree and the decorations still held a prominent place in the decor. Everyone bickered like they always did.
It just didn’t really seem to matter. The themes of forgiveness and thankfulness seemed to be bypassed. The gifts and Santa seemed more important to the adults.
I guess now I get it. Those decorations and Santa, and even the bickering, they were how my family connected and pulled together. I still think the gifts were mostly unnecessary, but there was tradition in the way we opened presents. Bickering was even a part of the tradition!
Even though the energy was settled around the presents, that tradition got us all in the same room and concentrating on each other for a few hours at least one day every year.
To the outside observer, or to an eccentric child who didn’t understand nuance, our holiday festivities may have appeared to be very commercial. But a wiser adult realizes the love and connection in the bits, baubles, and bickering.
And even with the bickering turned into outright arguments, we still got together that next year.
Maybe that’s where the thankfulness and forgiveness comes in.
When the next holiday rolled around, we let bygones be bygones and we chose to be in each other’s company again.