There is a house on a hill far, far away, across the ocean, across huge fields and deep forests, and my mom is writing a Christmas card to me sitting at her old table, wearing a blue warm shawl around shoulders in her small lovely room. Letters are lining up unevenly, and the card always starts with “My dear daughter”.
Christmas time is very special time not only because we are trying to do something good for others, to give more than take, to support more than we usually do, but also because it brings back memories. If you’re older like me, you are having plenty of memories, as well. Each year has been marked with some event, some person, some special gift, somebody’s birth, wedding or death. I intentionally sometimes do not look through photos. These are the old, real photos on paper that I’m talking about; a few are grey-yellowish already since they’ve been taken more than 50 years ago. I don’t want to hurt myself too much because that is the past and it’s not in our power to return to life those people who have walked away either from us, or from this dimension.
If you are like me, your friends and family live very far away in another continent. My husband’s family is in Canada, but nobody resides close to us. Our Christmas means only two of us, and I am so grateful it is two, not only one. I have had completely lonely Christmas and bad ones, too, when there was no food on the table and when I even couldn’t get a bus ticked to get to my family back then in Latvia. I have been sick during some Christmas and I have been extremely happy also. I have been even freezing terribly during some Christmas, there was very little firewood at home, and we needed it badly to keep the fire in the stove going and ourselves from freezing.
If you are a very sensitive person who easily slides into depression, you should keep yourself away from the most painful memories, too. Some tear or a few running down the cheek is absolutely fine, but we shouldn’t submerge ourselves into a deep, dark, lonely lake of tears and melancholy. It helps to be among other people, at least chatting with online friends or somebody over the phone will make it feel as if together with somebody. There are always events at the church, and nobody feels lonely there. It is wrong to assume that one has to be only smiles if they want to cry in reality. It is fine to let your memories unfold as long as they don’t wrap you up in a too thick layer of regrets, feeling of guilt and sadness. The worst companion for a lonely grieving person is alcohol. It can create the illusion of joy and pleasure, but it fades away very quickly leaving one in deeper depression than ever. Whatever you do, do not use alcohol as a pain reliever. The blurry mind gives us wrong instructions and takes onto wrong route.
Whatever our memories and situation at Christmas, there is always something to be grateful for. It is fantastic to be with somebody. It is great to have good food. It is excellent to have lights and candles and to be warm. It is a blessing to have somebody who loves you and who you can love in return. Don’t have a party? So what? Have to stay in bed? Well, next year should be having a better ending then. Things did not happen as you expected? They here and there do, and they very often don’t. Too busy, too many guests, too boring and tiring party? Relax; take your time, one can always find an excuse to sit down at some quiet corner.
My best Christmas memories are associated with family which is far away at the moment. We were very happy together. Celebration was not that much about plenty or expensive gifts those times, but mostly about the great feeling, Christmas warmth, delicious self-made meals, Christmas songs. Our tradition also includes saying a Christmas poem at the tree, and all kids were doing that in order to receive their gifts. It was always a bit different in Latvia: the biggest celebration is on December 24. We are supposed to have 9 dishes on the table; we are supposed to eat something 9 times during this night, we sing a lot of special Christmas songs and we have also other 2000 year old traditions: like dressing up in special costumes and visiting other houses in the neighbourhood. It used to be so much fun that sometimes we returned home only by 3 or 4 in the morning. We were laughing a lot, even dancing. Giving, receiving and unwrapping of gifts was always done on December 24, as well. Therefore, Canadian Christmas seems quite boring to me. It’s most likely a very nice celebration when somebody gives a Christmas party, but it is a really slowly unwinding night for people who do not have any guests, visitors and who are simply lonely.
We cannot buy love or happiness with a gift, but we can show our love and gratitude. Giving somebody an opportunity to feel safe and preventing somebody from loneliness is a valuable gift, as well. There are people who only need you to be with them, and not much more. To light up a candle, to make a place for joy.
13 thoughts on “Christmas memories that can make us cry”
This was a sad post, but I understand it. After my Mom passed away it was just my Dad and myself at holidays, all by ourselves, but now our house is full of our grown kids and grandkids which makes for a noisy gathering, which I love. I love to look at old photos, because it takes me back to when my mother was living and caring for us. I want to wish you a great Christmas and holidays with your husband and I will be thinking of you both wishing I could know you in real life and have a cup of tea with you, although I am a coffee drinker. Take care.
Well, my mom is alive, she’s 85, I’m simply scared every time I get a sudden call or whatever. Dad left us in 2005. Thanks so much for your comment. I didn’t intend to make it very sad, but this time actually has some sad note to it because so many people have disappeared from my life, and I unintentionally return to all previous years in my thoughts. There are so many lonely people and we should think about them, too, as opposed to shiny parties TV offers. I just wanted to pay attention to those who do not have millions of followers and admirers and who still want to have nice Christmas. I’m mostly a coffee drinker, too. I drink it a lot. German coffee because I don’t like the local. Well, my husband is always quite happy with everything, I’m the sad one here and there. Merry Christmas!
Inese, your pictures are so pretty and suit the mood of this post perfectly. I like how you focus on what you have rather on than what you don’t have. And like you, I have lost people, but I’m happy to be with my husband and children.
Blessings & hugs for a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas ~ Wendy
Thanks Wendy! I simply thought it would be nice to send out another message because TV and media are all about glamour, shine and superficial sparkling accents. I think those who won’t attend parties, won’t receive guests and won’t have the most stylish tree need to know that it’s ok to have a silent Christmas, too. Hugs and blessings to you Wendy; there are still a few days before Christmas, so I think we will get an opportunity to send greetings.
Good post Inese. It is not easy to be far away from our family and traditions back then. We just need to live anyway, also in the Christmas time. To give away and to remember lonely souls are important too.
Wish you a good time anyway.
Thanks Irene! It’s different for sure, however, I wouldn’t want to be perceived as a hero of a tragedy, why would I stay here if I didn’t like it here? You know, sometimes people suffer and continue doing so. I’m not one of them. The only thing like you’re pointing out is that some of our closest family is at a huge distance. It’s luckily not a spiritual distance because we can still skype and have face time, send and receive love thoughts, etc., but it’s the understanding that some part of our life has irrevocably ended. It’s a fact we have to be fine with, or such memories will make us sad and destroy over time. I believe I can get over this just by starting a new day with a good outlook and doing some meaningful things again. New day, new ideas, so it goes.
Wishing you great time, as well!
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I appreciate the internet for contact with family by Skype etc. too.
You are right Inese.
Well, it’s nice at least we can do something like that. I have skype on all devices, so it can feel like I’m right there with the rest of my family. Have a great weekend, Irene!
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My dear Inese! Thank you for sharing your Christmas story! These are precious memories and traditions. The photos are really lovely. I’m so glad you let me know about this blog.
Happy Christmas holidays!!
Thanks so much Carmen for taking your time for reading my posts and leaving all nice comments! I have no doubt you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you fantastic holidays and lots of happiness in the New Year!
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I found this old post by coincidence. Sad to hear about the bad Christmases you have had. Made me think about an old lady I once knew. She also originally came from one of the Baltic States, but already emigrated to Denmark after the first WW. This made me think about the stories she had told me.
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Thanks! I used to feel like that sometimes, yes. Mom is gone now, and that was a big loss last year.
The older I get, the easier I take anything.
Well, I still feel way younger and I dare to say I look younger also. I’ve never had any weight issues and any real troubles except for an accident about 27 years ago when I almost or practically passed away. I am generally very strong, and it certainly comes from the family.
Well, memories are all we have one day. Experience becomes everything compared to material belongings.
I do allow to feel myself any way I want. I think many people get depressed just because they block any upsetting feelings. Life is everything, therefore it is silly to ignore the not that happy moments. They are woven into the fabric of our life canvas.
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