The snow fell softly on the rooftops of the small town. No one really paid much attention, as they were busy with holiday preparations, such as procrastination, delaying, and postponing. Others were actively putting things off to the last minute. Oh sure, there were a few that had everything complete, right down to the last detail, but these were aberrant beings.
I had worked hard to make a mental note about creating a list of things to think about over the holidays, and had good intentions on committing it to a better part of my memory (that area usually reserved for ‘80s song lyrics, or embarrassing events from my teen years) but forgot when Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues played on Spotify.
My wife however, has always been the list maker. She has both soft and hard cover notebooks, white boards, and photos of the categorized tasks or groceries contained therein. The one thing she will not do is trust any of these to the transient nature of the digital world. Clouds come and clouds go, sometimes bringing rain, other times snow. I’d like to imagine that she thinks metaphorically these are equated with cloud storage, but I know it isn’t so. She’s an artist, and works best with the physical medium. During the days preceding Christmas, she somehow manages to manage everything, including me. I rely heavily upon her ability to organize herself, our house, five offspring, holiday preparations, and numerous meals that meet the dietary and scheduling needs of everyone.
My role has typically been breadwinner, driver, and moral support. For a couple years, I was responsible for picking up our older kids from their new homes in Waterloo and Etobicoke. Both locations include a minimum four hour trip, including a stop to charge our electric car. I miss the quiet solo drive part of the trip as much as the opportunity to share the drive with a captive audience. I’m sure they look forward to me pointing out all the places my ancestors lived, and historical anecdotes connected with them.
Everything culminates with the sharing of tradition with our family. Whether it’s the food we eat, the way we distribute presents, or the giving of socks and underwear to our boys, we value the way we’ve done things in the past. Time changes many things, and if you allow it, often for the better. I look forward to the potential of grandchildren, and going to our kids’ places for Christmas. Above all else, I look forward to spending time with my family. We’ve been through lean celebrations with thrift store gifts and donated food, and we’ve hosted others during times of plenty. The key to it all is appreciating what you have, and not thinking about what you don’t. Cherish tradition, but don’t let that prevent you from trying something new.
Happy holidays everyone!