Holidays—Goods & Bads

Have you lost anyone near the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays? If you have, you have a sense of what I might be talking about with this title. We have this movie & song version running in our heads of what the holidays should be: that perfect time with family and friends, everyone feeling loved, finding exactly what you want under the tree, beautiful snow on the ground but all the planes running on time, enough time and money to do everything you want to make the holiday perfect.

IMG_2333 The lights on our fence aren’t perfect, but sufficient to spread a bit of joy in the dark night.

And there’s that word again. Perfect. Is anything ever really perfect? It can be really, really good, but perfect? We’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment if that’s what we’re expecting.

Partly, because the holidays generally involve people and none of us is perfect. Well, maybe a few are, but mostly that’s not the case. LOL

IMG_2323 Our table top tree. Almost all the items on the tree connect us to a memory.

I have to protect my heart during the holidays. I’m beyond blessed for so many reasons and seeing those less blessed makes me sad. I can’t fix it all. I can do my small bit. For instance, this year our church prepared stockings for 34 kids 4-19 who live full time at the Presbyterian Children’s Home in Itasca, Texas. (Another church adopted the children for larger items, which we’ve done in the past.) But oh, my goodness, these kids don’t have anyone besides the staff and people in various churches who help out. Maybe they are better off than kids in foster care. You hear such horror stories. (Certainly not true of most foster parents.

IMG_2327 Ultimately, we had two buggy’s full of stockings. Our congregation is very generous.  

It’s just that at this time of year the difference between the haves and the have nots seems so much more extreme.

And then I worry about my Jewish friends. Despite some folks complaining that religion is under attack, to all intents and purposes, the whole country revolves around the Christian calendar. Jewish folks must get very tired of hearing Christmas carols 24/7 on some radio channels. Not to mention the continued violent attacks on Jews. (And the whole gun thing is an entirely different subject.)

Star of David I don’t remember where I saw this, but it was turquoise, I had to take the picture.

So, yeah, I find this a difficult time of year as much as I love it, too. “Bittersweet” is the term that fits my feeling.

My father died many years ago on December 14. His funeral was on the 17th. For five years after that my mother became ill in November and was sick for about two months. Every year, I thought I might lose her, too. Bob’s mother died in December, and so did his brother. We have two very good friends at church who died in December a year apart.

It’s the very pits. Losing a loved one at any time is tough, and you’ll be faced with the first for all the holidays, but when someone dies close to Christmas?

So, while I have good memories and traditions I associate with Christmas, for me, it’s a bittersweet holiday. And most of the time I’m able to bury those emotions. But you know I’m doing Noom, and I’m learning to “feel my feels.” They are what they are. Running from them or trying to stuff them down being super busy or with eating all the cookies in the jar aren’t the best way to deal with them.

IMG_2322 We are all about deer and moose.

So today, I faced them with you. If you’ve got any of this going on, I hope this post helps you to “feel your feels,” too. I also hope you’ve enjoyed the Christmasy pics I’ve scattered throughout what is something of a downer post. Not like I normally write, but you know I write where I am at the moment.

IMG_2321 My mother made me the 2nd stocking from the right. I made the 1st one on the right for Bob the first Christmas we were married. the one on the left is for Charley. I made ones for our daughters when they were little. More deer & moose on the mantle.

So, how about you? If you put up a tree, is it up, decorated? Is all the gift buying completed? Do you still do Christmas or holiday cards? Are they “real” or emails? Do you have any traditions that you do no matter what?

Love to hear from you.

Three of my books are featured on NN Lights’ site. Authors are listed alphabetically. Fair, but that means you have to scroll all the way down to find my books. 😊 https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/holiday-gift-guide

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website & blog at https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites.

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

https://www.instagram.com/marsharwest

 

11 responses to “Holidays—Goods & Bads

  1. We are very low key here. When the days get very short in late November I put a string of tiny colored lights across the mantle and they stay there until spring just to brighten the place up in the evenings–this year I added a string across an armour..
    We quit buying each other gifts some years ago, because there is nothing we need or want and we live in a very small space. But we do a nice turkey dinner for two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Kathryn. I like how you’ve downsized. Since we’ve moved into a smaller space, I’ve noticed I’m not as inclined to buy “stuff.” I always stop and think, where will I put this? Sometimes, I give something away to make room for the new. That was my mom’s mantra. I have lights up on the lakeside of our house all year long. It’s so very dark out there without them. Never turn down a turkey dinner, though this year think my daughter who hosts Christmas is having ham and shrimp. Also, yummy. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

  2. Your comment about ‘perfect’ hit home. I have a vision in my head of how the ‘perfect’ holiday should go. It never goes the way I envisioned, but it’s always wonderful. I need to let the perfectionism go.
    My best friend’s father passed away on Christmas Eve. It’s now a solemn day for her, no matter how many years pass. I’ve been fortunate not to experience any familial losses near a holiday–and I pray I never do.
    Thinking of you and your family during this time, Marsha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Lisa. My heart goes out to your friend. My goodness to lose your father on Christmas Eve! So glad you’ve not had this experience first hand, and second hand is hard enough. Thanks so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Like

  3. I haven’t had anyone close to me killed on or close to Christmas. But almost 15 years ago both my parents died in an accident close to our Thanksgiving. I think about them then every year. And many other times in the year as well I must admit. As an ER clerk for years we saw some horrible traumas close to Christmas. One tip – never ever put Christmas lights on the roof or take them down after Christmas unless you are completely anchored to said roof. Really, pay a professional to put them up. A bad accident will ruin Christmas for family and friends for years. And go easy on the Christmas cheer if driving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Pat, sorry for the loss of your parents especially at the same time. Gosh, that had to knock you over. Thanks for all the good advice. We never climb on a ladder if no one else is around. And while we’re at it, don’t climb on a chair. Get a ladder. (My years as a principal with safety training kicked in. :)) Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. 🙂

      Like

  4. Marsha, we’re traveling again this year. So our Christmas is low key as well as Kathryn’s above.

    As for your post, very poignant. Some people dread the holidays, and for some they are not perfect — far from it. I think of the law enforcement, medical professionals and first responders who will not be with their families. My daughter in law, an RN, will be working nights. Your point about children in foster homes is also sadly the truth. Domestic violence is at an all-time high over the holidays. For some it’s about survival.

    Now the good stuff…You’ll also find that volunteerism is at at all time high, and so is giving. The good and the bad, indeed. I am grateful for all the good people in the world who circumvent people’s thoughtlessness and carelessness. Because although we have a planet-full of suffering, we also have a universe of good will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Donnel. You’re right own about the goodness of people. Yes, there are bad folks, doing bad things, and yes, bad things happen to good people. However, all you have to do is look around to find the good and usually in great measure. (Your words are so beautiful! You could be a writer. LOL ) Safe travels and thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

  5. Hi Marsha, I can understand how the holidays can be bittersweet for you and your family. I can identify with your sadness at this time. But so glad to hear NOOM is helping you through it. I lost my brother 2 years ago this month. I miss him, but I know he is much happier now singing with the angels and playing his trumpet in the angel band. He suffered with cancer. I have good memories of him to help me get through the loss. No traditions nowadays since we are in FL and the kids are up north these days. But they do call us every year when they get together on a Sat or Sunday to open gifts. So our gifts are bought and opened at our Thanksmas or Christgiving dinner in Oct before we leave for FL. I never thought of that as a tradition, but only about 5 years for that one.
    You have a fabulous Christmas with your family in TX.

    Like

  6. Hey, Janet, sorry I’m so late replying. I apparently got caught up and forgot to check back. My sympathy for the loss of your brother. It seems to me the first year was a blur and the second worse. Hope that’s not what you’re experiencing and it’s got to be comforting to no he’s well now. You have traditions, Janet, you just do them at a different time. Do you get together with you FL friends on Christmas Day or do something with them after church on Christmas Eve? I think it’s important for folks to find what works for them, and we don’t have to be all the same. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays to you, too. 🙂

    Like

  7. Hey, Janet, sorry I’m so late replying. I apparently got caught up and forgot to check back. My sympathy for the loss of your brother. It seems to me the first year was a blur and the second worse. Hope that’s not what you’re experiencing and it’s got to be comforting to no he’s well now. You have traditions, Janet, you just do them at a different time. Do you get together with you FL friends on Christmas Day or do something with them after church on Christmas Eve? I think it’s important for folks to find what works for them, and we don’t have to be all the same. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays to you, too. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s