Christmases Past

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Do you have any special Christmases that stand out from all the rest?  I think most of us do. I have two that are very special to me. They are as different as day and night but equally memorable.

The first one is the funnest Christmas ever. It happened six years ago and can be described as the McWilliams version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We had 22 people for Christmas Eve and then 22 again for Christmas dinner. My in-laws were with us from Vancouver and our son and his wife came with our grandson, who was 2 at the time. There were 4 generations in our house. Not only was it fun to have so many people, we also had a lot of glitches. One of them was that there were so many lights on the house, that every time anyone went to the bathroom and turned the light on, the house went into darkness. Yep, the breakers were screaming, “Overload.”  Our turkey, unlike the Grizzwalds’,  which was overcooked, was undercooked, and we had to wait an additional 3 hours for dinner. Then there was the matter of the fire that I started in the kitchen when toasting pecans.  I think the glitches added to the memory of that Christmas but it was also the fun of being with family, the late night Scrabble games that we fixed so that Kay, my mother in law would win,  and  the joy of having a two year old running around.

The other Christmas that stands out for me is the one where we only had one person for dinner.  That was my grandmother. My grandmother is not with us anymore and that Christmas will always be special  because I was able to sit and talk with her for the whole day. My grandmother was a story teller and that day, she told a lot of stories to me.  She had a lot of stories to tell. Stories about her mother dying when she was 12 and having to go out to look after other people’s children to earn money, stories about the war and after the war when she and her two daughters were in a prisoner of war camp, stories of survival in the camp and eventually escaping from it.  Stories of coming to Canada and making a life here while leaving her son behind. My grandmother was very special to me and I miss her a lot but that Christmas she had my full attention and I am so grateful for that.

What strikes me is that both Christmases are special to me because of connections with the people that I love.  And to me that is what Christmas is about, seeing your friends and family and making those memories that will remain special in years to come. I hope that all of you connect to the people that you love this Christmas and take the time to realize just how special those moments are.

The little girl in the card is my great niece Sarah, a very special girl in my life, and my dog Taylor, who will sit for pictures and even let me dress him up!

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