Charity, generosity, kindness and love
This article first appeared in “The Hinsdalean” in December 2018 as part of a group of guest columnist essays describing our “Best Christmas Ever.”
The theme is Best Christmas Ever? So, “best” as in “I got this great stuff” or as in non-material Christmas Miracles in which to rejoice? I was told I could go in any direction I wanted which meant, naturally, I went in the direction of the wine cabinet.
I was explaining my dilemma, wine in hand, to a good friend at our annual Halloween party. “I don’t have a best Christmas ever,” I lamented, “they’re all pretty great.” She, rightly, pointed out that this is not a bad problem to have.
As a kid, I was surrounded by family and showered with love and gifts. My dad read “T’was the Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve; we had home-baked cookies for Santa; watched all of the holiday movies (“White Christmas” is still my sentimental favorite – movie and song); had personalized stockings and ornaments (even the dog); Atari, Barbie Dream House, Benetton sweaters; I was truly indulged – and blessed.
As adults, my husband and I forged our own Christmas traditions. When we had our children, we were able to pass down a combination of both family’s traditions. We still bake cookies, watch holiday movies, have personalized stockings (even Bob the Tortoise) and indulge most of their wishes. My children are now surrounded by family, showered with love and gifts and are truly blessed.
Of course, there have been a few blips. I never did get “Horace Louie,” the Cabbage Patch Kid I coveted (I think I got Mary Sue and I just have to believe that Horace is with the family he was meant for). Then there was the year my mom told me not to buy a top because “it’d make a great gift, hint, hint..” but forgot to buy it, sending me into a New Year’s Eve party wardrobe panic (I managed to recover). And there’s always the rookie parent’s worst nightmare moment when you realize the huge box with “some assembly required” means “grab the wine bottle because you will be up until dawn trying to put this together.”
In all seriousness, there have been a few really lousy years (a tragic miscarriage, a potential life-threatening surgery, a Christmas night ER visit with a toddler) but what those years put in perspective for me is that my family continues to be surrounded by love, gifts of all kinds and is, indeed, blessed.
I guess my “Best Christmas Ever” is that rare gift that keeps on giving and that I continually endeavor to pay forward in acts of charity, generosity, kindness and love.
So my sentimental but sincere wish for all is still, “May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white.”