Posted by: chlost | December 2, 2012

Holiday season musings

It has been nearly three years since my sister’s death on the day before her 50th birthday. She loved Christmas, and was the kind of person who always found the perfect gift for everyone in the family. She wrapped the gifts in a manner that was a gift in itself. The past two Christmas holidays have been very hard for me. There just did not seem to be any joy in it. I forced myself to do some of the traditional things, but my heart just wasn’t in it.This year, I am determined to reclaim the holidays as a time of joy for me and for those around me It was very difficult for my husband and children over these past two holiday seasons as well.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, I was even able to convince Merle to put up outdoor lights. The weather has been relatively warm. Last night we made the trip to Target to purchase lights and we put them up this morning. Nothing fancy. Just a little rope of lights across the porch.  The lights are so small that we aren’t even sure they can be seen from the street. We can’t be too wild, of course!


It was a bit of a project for us, though. We aren’t as flexible as we used to be. We had to take a little break to rest our backs!

The holidays change as you age, I guess.


I have been getting a lot of holiday catalogs in my mailbox lately. I understand that the post office is struggling, so I suppose the catalogs might help with that. But I am also getting a pile of ads in my email boxes. In fact, on some days, the only snail mail and email that we receive are catalogs. What does that say about us? No one other than retailers is sending us anything.

I guess it beats bills.


Artificial Christmas tree

Artificial Christmas tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When do we capitulate and get an artificial Christmas tree? We still go out for a natural tree about two weeks before Christmas. It is usually a full day to do this. We used to go out to a tree farm to cut one, but that lost its appeal once the kids were all out of the house. Now we have found a garden store that has very nice trees. But the next step down is to have an artificial tree. Is that the step that says that we are officially old?

Or is it that we would now be sensible?


Over the past few weeks, I have realized that the new knee along with the weight loss has left me feeling at least ten years younger  I am so glad that I had the surgery now rather than waiting for the four years that one surgeon recommended. In response to my comment, my daughter asked me what I would have done with that ten years. That made me think….what would I have done differently if I had felt stronger over the past ten years?

I would have been so much more active. I realized how many things I did not do or did  not fully participate in because of my knee pain. Recalling the struggles I had just walking and the fact that I couldn’t keep up with my husband on a walk or make it around the block, I see how confined my life became.

I would have lived life more fully for ten years. That’s all.


My positive attitude has been challenged. My sister called me the other night because she was overwhelmed and depressed while putting up  her (artificial) trees. She was depressed and missing our sister. While I truly wanted to commiserate with her, I had to protect myself from being dragged down into the depression again. That means that I had a very challenging balancing act to be helpful to her while not going down there with her. I know that there will be more times like this. There are 30+ days to get through.


There is a lot of shopping to do. I will be doing most of it online. I absolutely hate shopping, and to do it at a time when thousands of others are in the same place is pure torture. Merle is a mission shopper. He goes into a store on a mission for one item at a time. He has to know exactly what he wants. Then he goes from store to store looking for that item. After getting that, he goes on to the next item. Shopping with him at the holidays, when there is a long list of family members who will receive gifts, is a recipe for an argument. I think that the online shopping should reduce our  my holiday crabbiness.



  1. Oh, this touched me so…I cannot imagine the loss of one of my dear sisters. How sad, but how wonderful you are determined to rejoin the celebratory mood of the season. I struggle mightily for other reasons, I am miles from my children and grandkids, and although I can go see them, my husband cannot – and I hate spending the holidays without him. The holidays are tough for many people, I pray you’ll find joy and happiness in whatever you do. Here in Florida I cannot even get into a holiday mood – and Salvation Army Santas wear tropical shirts and flip flops. It’s bizarre.

    We have used artificial trees for years, my younger son is allergic to conifers (all pines). Cleanup is definitely easier.

  2. The holidays get more difficult as we age for all the reasons you mention. However, I shop the same way as Merle. Must be a man thing. If you need a tree I’ve got hundreds growing around the edge of the pastures. Help yourself! Besides, in three weeks the days start getting longer. Yippee!

  3. Losing a sibling is difficult. I lost my sister when she was 50 and my brother when he was 59. It took me a long time to get over the sadness. They were my older sister and brother… so now it seems odd that they never got to reach my current age of 67, never got to enjoy their grandchildren, etc. But I feel them with me, so I try to share my life with them. And I feel very grateful that I’ve been given the chance to do this.

    The holidays are a bit more difficult as we age… but I believe there’s still magic there. If we do our best to share the magic with others (kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, even strangers) in any way we can, then the spirit of Christmas will make us whole again.

  4. Much of what you said, could have come from my own thoughts. Christmas is often a struggle. Why is it that we let the season rule our thoughts and what we do? Trees. Its not what kind, but what hangs upon them. I’ve reduced from 3 full-size trees to one and the only ornaments are precious one’s made by my family.
    Rejoice in the fact that you get to see, hold and love your grandbabies. That your knee doesn’t hurt. That you felt joyous enough to put up lights.
    Re-read the last paragraph from Rian…that truly says it all.

  5. I think of the brother I lost in 2001 every year when I hang the wreathe he made me on my front door. I think he’d love knowing I still do that.

    I buy a tree every year, and I was just talking to a friend yesterday about whether I’d do that after the kids are gone. I hope so.

  6. Well, if having an artificial tree means you’re old, then I’ve always been old! We only had a cut tree one year but they dry out so fast, I worried about the fire danger. I love our artificial tree!

    I’m glad you’re feeling so much better after surgery. Feeling younger and more energetic is definitely a good thing,

  7. RYN: Yes, I notice a major change toward the positive when G uses his light, The first thing, is that his voice has more richness and more variations in tone. 🙂 Then all of him perks up.

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