Monday, December 10, 2007

Complicated Holidays!

In this time and age, when everything has become so complicated...the Holidays take the prize! What happened to the simple pleasures of family celebrations? Remember the careful selection of our gifts? the wrapping and the hiding of said gifts? How about the real Christmas tree, the time spent in decorating with the family, the ornaments that had some meaning or history attached to them? Let's not forget the plans to spend the Holidays together. These things were almost as wonderful as the Holidays themselves.

Where has all this gone? Lost in the swirls of massive shopping, theme decorating, outjonesing (my new word of the week!) the Joneses and other stressful endeavours. Have you been out in a mall lately? A veritable stampede of shoppers, lines to end all lines at any register and obnoxious people looking for the latest gadget to give....not the best or the most appropriate mind you, but the must have present!

For my family, spending Christmas and New Year's together has always been priority. Everything else was just icing on the cake. As the children grew up, we had no trouble at all. They lived at home and we bought their presents, we had our family dinner on Christmas Eve, opened our presents and went to bed late. Christmas morning was even nicer.... beach day!

Through the years, this pattern was satisfying and welcome. When they left home to go away to school, the Holidays became even more important. It was the time of the year when they came home, spent time with us, saw their friends, slipped back into their island lives. Parties were added to the routine at some point, but decorations were still the same and their trips home were my best present every year.

With our move to Miami, things continued quite the same, we even managed a trip back to Curaçao last year. Ah, the good old days! I would say....Ah, she is whining friends would think! So be it. This time of the year is sacred, with its traditions and its pleasures. I didn't want that to change, but it has.

Frank is working in North Carolina, so he'll have to travel back and forth for a couple of days at Christmas and then a couple for New Year's. Camille is in London, and traveling back and forth is not a option. Since we got married and had the children, our family has spent the Holidays together....with two exceptions: the year Camille was born on December 28th, I was in the hospital on New Year's Eve and the year we moved to Miami, Frank and Frankie did not make it to celebrate Christmas in Curaçao.

So this year, I am caught in the middle, not knowing what to do. It is amazing, isn't it.? When you have done something for so many years, stopping is difficult. I am caught between decorating (don't feel like it), going to visit Camille since she is the one by herself (feel a bit selfish by leaving the men in the family by themselves) or just ignoring the whole thing! Now, really, is that possible? Maybe not, but I wish it was January 5th!!!!

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