As soon as Halloween and Thanksgiving are over, the stores bombard us with the commercial remembrance of Christmas.
Assuming we are lucky, we may be able to buy a Remembrance Day wreath for Nov. 11 before the Christmas wreaths are on display for Dec. 25. Now, if this is the reality that the commercial celebration of Christmas is so much in our face that we couldn’t possibly forget it is the Christmas time of year; Why is the header for this column ‘Remembering Christmas’ ?
Perhaps, because my challenge for each of us in reading this column is we take time during our Christmas celebrations to share one or more memories of past Christmases with a family member, a friend, or a stranger. Share what it is about this particular memory you want the other person to receive. Let precious memories be among our Christmas gifts that we give to one another.
Remembering does not have to make us feel sad, depressed or lonely, rather it can make us more grateful we had someone or many who loved us. When our memories make us grateful we start to create new memories instead of living only with old memories. This is what the gift of sharing gives us in return.
When I shared my childhood memory of what happened in my home Christmas 1957 with a friend, new memories were created. As a result, both of us experienced more joy in the Christmas of 1978 in Ilo (pronounced E lo) Peru, South America.
A few days before Christmas 1957, a knock came on our front door and two large Christmas hampers were deposited in our front hallway. My mother was embarrassed and initially refused to keep the hampers. But the lady explained, “we have given out all the hampers to the needy but these two hampers are left over. You have four children and your husband has been off work for three months due to his heart attack so please accept these hampers.” And with these kind words, my mother accepted the Christmas hampers.
To this day, I cannot remember what the presents were that were hidden among the tins of food in the hampers, but what I remember vividly is each of the four presents had our individual name on a little card attached to the present. The remembrance of this personal touch (of having my name attached to the present) meant so much to me that it bore fruit for 100 Peruvian women during Christmas 1978.
A week prior to Christmas 1978, a donation of $100 was given to my friend from her mother to use as needed. My friend and I went to the open market and bought 100 toothbrushes, 100 tubes of toothpaste and 100 bars of lovely facial soap with the donation money.
The exchange rate on the dollar to the sol was triple back in 1978 which enabled us to buy three toiletries for each woman in the group. We wrapped these articles in small packages and attached a card with the name of each one of the 100 women to the package. I wanted each woman to know that she was important in and of herself as well as an important member of the group. And so it came to pass.
Wishing you a wonderful memorable Christmas 2019 and the opportunity of creating new loving memories in 2020.
(Kathleen Kelly is a Chemainus resident and author of the book ‘The Tornadoes We Create.’)