I had a conversation yesterday with a colleague of mine and we were discussing Christmas traditions and the role they play in making the holidays special. As per Google, “Traditions” are the transmission of customs or beliefs passed down from generation to generation. Like me I’m sure, most of you are familiar with these annual festive rituals, and also like me, they most likely started when you were a kid. It’s something each year, that has to absolutely happen in order for you to say it was a Merry Christmas. They become more and more necessary, helping recreate those nostalgic feelings that we’ve all become so attached to. One example of that is being home for Christmas, there’s something about being home for the holidays. The memories of being home with your family and friends are memories that will last for the rest of you life.
My grandparents passed away some time ago and I used to have a hard time with the fact that Christmas would now become different. So different that I felt like the holidays would never have the same feeling anymore, like I would never be as happy. The tradition of going home and spending time with the family at my grandparents’ house, my house, where I was raised would become just a memory. Forced to turn the page on that chapter of my life and say goodbye to something that was so dear to my heart was very hard for me. The house was sold, family slowly drifted apart and we all began to move on. Yeah, for many years following I struggled, holding some resentment that the nucleus of the family were no longer the highlight of such a celebrated time of year. It made me mad, upset for sure, but mostly, it left me with a void that I felt would never be filled again…until.
Until one time, a Christmas or two ago, I was sitting around reminiscing, and dwelling on what was missing. Then something spoke to me, even to this day I say it was my grandmother herself. Like a real life scrooge moment, I heard her gentle voice, her soft whisper fell upon my ears, she told me that it was not like me to be feeling the way that I was. She knew me better than anyone else on this planet and she was upset that I gotten lost in the past, mad that I was being so stubborn. “Enough of that” she said, and just as she had for my entire life she consoled me with her words… “Places don’t make memories Ash, people do”.
After that, I started to look at this time of year differently. It made me understand that thinking that way was only hurting me, and ultimately hurting the people around me. Sometimes we have to leave the people we care for behind, sometimes people we care for have to leave us, but what we have to remember is that our heart is a very big place. It’s big enough to hold as much love as you can imagine, and extra big during the holidays. Christmas is not about what you don’t have, but it’s more of what you do have. Take those traditions of the past and share them with your present, there may be a chair or two empty at the dining room table but no matter what you’ll always have plenty of room in your heart.