Sunday, December 26, 2010

First Christmas
By Windy

Eleanor and our tree
These days it seems everything is our last. Our fireplace mantle is graced with holiday cards, many inscribed somewhere with "final" or "last." We've had last birthdays and a last Halloween, a last Thanksgiving and now our last Christmas.

Weeks ago our tree became the subject of a battle between practicality and sentimentality. Mike wanted to sell the eight-foot plastic behemoth before Christmas (out-of-town neighbors offered us theirs). Eleanor was appalled at the potential tragedy of selling our tree--and on this, our last Christmas! Sentimentality triumphed.

This year Mike and I were thinking journals for gifts, not bicycles. The dearth of gifts under the tree caused Eleanor anxiety--she could do the math: three small wrapped presents divided by four family members equals Worst Christmas Ever. (We're working with her on the true meaning of Christmas.)

This Christmas was decidedly more spare. That is not to say we didn't receive plenty of generous gifts. Family and friends thoughtfully gave consumables (gift cards, tasty treats, cash) or portables (DVDs, Chico Bags). Donations were made to charities in the girls' names. We received two lovely handmade calendars. (Laura made hers extra small to fit nicely on a boat's bulkhead. Amy Jo considered ending her calendar in May, symbolizing our upcoming departure.)

With our lives shrouded in finality, I find significance in once pedestrian activities like going to a park. Casual gatherings with friends are often poignant, and holidays have an added layer of complexity. Interestingly, the Worst Christmas Ever was one of the best. Maybe it was due to an exaggerated appreciation for what we have, or maybe it was because it was short on material goods and long on time together. Perhaps this christmas is a harbinger of future Christmases. Perhaps this is not a last Christmas after all, but a first Christmas.


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