Christmas is perhaps the most emotionally loaded holiday of the year. Christmas--so pregnant with significance, so romanticized in popular culture--carries with it great expectations.
For some, our Christmas memories are cherished in our minds; our own personal experience of the moments of instagrammed, facebook-worthy revelry promised to us in advertising and the stories we have heard from others.
For others, Christmas is a testament to the imperfect state of our affairs: the mother whose son is in Afghanistan instead of at home with his family; the teenager whose numerous gift-opening sessions only serves as a reminder of how fragmented her life is after her parent’s divorce; the man who is spending his first Christmas without his wife.
Each Christmas is an opportunity to make new memories that lives up to our expectations and hopes. Our idea of what Christmas should be.
For me, Christmas is inseparable from my grandfather. A man who seemed made for this season. He was beloved by his grandchildren, admired by his children, respected by the large, Italian family he led. Regardless of whatever other familial instability was going on in my life, he was consistently present, consistently making Christmas his and mine all at the same time. So it was bittersweet that I happened to be cast as Scrooge in my high school’s production of A Christmas Carol (his absolutely favorite Christmas story) just a few short months after he passed. And like some supernatural passing of the baton, Melissa, my wife, was cast as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and she led both Scrooge and myself through those tumultuous times. Melissa has been my Christmas memory ever since.
I had the opportunity to ask three friends to share their favorite Christmas memories. Here are their stories, that shine a bit of light on how we experience this season:
Let's remember to cherish these tender moments over the next few days. We carry Christmas memories with us for a lifetime. I wish all of you great new memories with family and loved ones this Christmas.
What is your favorite Christmas memory? Share it in the comments below.