A Christmas Story: Rediscovering magic of the season
Throughout the majority of our adult lives, I have witnessed both of my sisters’ struggles with their annual Christmas blues.
Twenty years ago, my older sister, Celia, announced to her family that she would not be participating in the preparation of Christmas dinner.
Celia’s decision to fade into the background on that Christmas marked the beginning of her gradual retreat from all family activities until her sudden death at the age of 63.
My younger sister, Heather, has long suffered from anxiety, which is usually triggered by financial worries that increase during the Christmas season.
Celia lived in Ontario, while Heather lives in Virginia.
I have remained in our home province of British Columbia and I have not celebrated Christmas with my sisters since 1968.
Although I have experienced my share of less-than-enthusiastic during December, I usually happily anticipate the Christmas season.
Five years ago, I moved into a new apartment complex and was quickly befriended by a tenant who was also retired and managed without owning a vehicle.
Within a few months, the Christmas season was upon us and, much to my dismay, I discovered my new friend, Marie, was plagued with the dreaded bah-humbug syndrome.
Finally, this year, I felt confident enough in our friendship to give Marie a pep talk in hopes of snapping her out of her annual bout of misery.
Two weeks before Christmas, I hosted a luncheon for three of my closest friends, who have constantly lifted me up during the past 25 years.
These special women have tirelessly given of their time, energies and emotional strength since my marriage dissolved in 1988.
I can never fully repay them for all their much-needed support over the years.
More than any previous December, this year I really got into the giving mood, which has involved more of my time and creativity than monetary investment.
The large pot of vegetarian chili and bowl of spinach salad also provided lunch for the secretary in my building and dinner for another retired single woman friend the next night.
I have also been busy making copies of photos of get-togethers with my childhood friends and including these pictures in my Christmas cards.
These acts of kindness have given me such joy and I couldn’t wait to share my experience with Marie.
After my luncheon, I invited Marie to my place for tea and I immediately outlined my philosophy on how to combat the Christmas blues.
Make your No. 1 New Year’s resolution that December will be the best month of your year and begin immediately to work toward achieving that goal.
Throughout the year, be constantly aware of all the many good deeds that your friends and family bestow upon you.
These deeds could include giving you a ride to the doctor, inviting you out for coffee, phoning to check up on you, remembering your birthday or just being available to listen and laugh together.
Two days after my pep talk, Marie invited me to her place for tea and she shared her shortbread cookies she had been busily baking, along with butter tarts that she planned on delivering to several people in our building who have really helped her during the year.
Her home was bright and cheery with a glow of Christmas.
I am delighted for Marie and amazed at how quickly she has turned the season into a time of joy.
That’s my Christmas story.
Pass it on.