Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Memories

I want, perhaps even need, to find some time to write about the spirit of Christmas and what it means to me. I can't do much justice to this until the presents are wrapped and the cookies are baked and the groceries are finished. Still, in between the self imposed and elective hustles and bustles, I find memories of Christmas' past all around me. The ornaments on the tree. The scent of pine needles. The multiple red candles that are lit this long only at this time of year. The Christmas coffee cake that will be shared at 8 am on Christmas morning, along with bacon and cut up fresh honeydew melon and strawberries that look as festive as our anticipation. The menu planning. The special get togethers and the impromtu fun. The cards that arrive daily from family friends who make me smile just by seeing their handwriting.

It's so easy to recall every Christmas eve with Mike and Clara and Dani--how we give eachother all these little presents and then eat jb's chili and cornbread and reiminsce about our lives and friendship. And Jessica's face as we each open the one present of our choosing at midnight on Christmas eve, and again at precisely 7:45 am when we are all up and cannot contain our impatience to get to our stockings. And the stockings themselves: filled with all these little gifts that matter in some personal way or offer us a private laugh that only our special intimacy allows.

I'm surrounded by memories at the same time I create new ones. This year: my son-in-law continues to take his place in our hearts and on our sofa, sharing gifts and traditions; a baby boy who will introduce himself within the month; a new and enduring friendship that delights me with its laughter and love; a community I am finally calling home; a career that bumps and pushes me forward, insisting write, write. I fold these into my already precious life and I am left with amazement, even as I bitch and muddle through the stressfield that is Christmas.

I think it's really all about memories. Good memories and bad memories, past and present memories that may not fit into the wrapped box of "ideal" that is so humanly easy to wish for, but memories that none-the-less find your heart and take up permanent residence. The presents and the bustle are merely undercovers.

Here's the ending paragraph of Anna Quinlan's back page article in Newsweek this week. She says it better than anyone:

"The most enduring tales about Christmas are about recapturing those small moments, Scrooge and George Bailey on a guided tour of their own wonderful lives. But you don't really need the help of ghosts or angels. The truth is that once you've watched kids on a Christmas-morning high of ripping packages open, gloating over the contents for a nanosecond, and then moving thoughtlessly on to the next thing, you know that's not what they will ever take away from the day. You understand the power of that uncommon humdrum thing that glows in memory. That's what I would tell my younger self if I could go back. Find that. Worry about that. Make sure they have that.

The spirit of Christmas is a time machine.

Everything else is just plastic"

The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.

Merry Christmas with love.


  1. This is the best Christmas post I have read in blogland. Only you can give it credence. Your eloquence touches my heart. I started reading your blog in July and saw the unfolding and awakening of a marvelous writer and a beautiful poet, then I had to go back to the beginning to savor more. Sometime between my scrolling, log-ins and commenting I stumbled upon someone who in a short period of time surprised and shocked me by thrusting me into sudden feelings and emotions that normally take time and patience, that trust and love once the domain of lengthy and careful maneuvers happened in such a short period of time is something that still boggles my mind. But rather than analyzing them, I delightfully surrender and immerse myself in glee. Yes, Virginia there is a Santa and there is also KJ, my beloved friend who I have yet to meet and when that time comes it will be like meeting a friend I have known forever, an ancient soul mate. Merry Christmas KJ, and to JB and Jess and Mike and your future grandson. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life, your beautiful home and your much welcome joyful proclamations of life. You are my friend and I love you.

  2. ancient soul mate: you keep forgetting we have known eachother forever.

    thank you for your words and friendship--the best gift i could ever receive.

  3. This was a beautiful Christmas post and it showcases your writing talent. Merry Christmas!

  4. A wonderful post. I wish you happiness and joy.
    Merry Christmas to you and to your expanding family.
    Caroline x

  5. Gorgeous, KJ.

    Please email me, even to say nothing.

    I've lost my entire contact list when Microsoft decided to update my Outlook program.

    Apparently they weren't Looking Out much for me.

    All the best to you and JB and the entire KJ crew.


  6. Whow, KJ, what a beautiful post. You are definitely a very good writer. I also wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2007. Greetings from the Netherlands and especially from me. ;-)
    PS: Did you come and sing with us all on my blog???

  7. kj,

    this was just beautiful. you are such a talented and eloquent individual and i am so glad to have known you through your blog and mine (and Ces'! :D). 2006 will always be special to me because of the blog friendships i have formed.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope it brings you joy and peace with the ones you love.

  8. Yes, you are so right! It's the memories! What a beautiful and well written post kj, it's like poetry! I try to capture that old fashioned feeling in my houses and you helped me articulate that thought in my mind. Thank You! I'm so happy we are friends! Have a beautiful time with family and friends and try to harness a few more of those memories on paper and with pictures!

  9. A lovely post which I am reading on Christmas Eve just as it turns into Christmas morning over here in NZ. I am about to trot off to bed; looking forward to waking up to a wee Christmas-morning-breakfast and present-opening time (a little like the way you described what happens at your place.) Then we head off to the in-laws - who live about 3 and a half hours away - for Christmas dinner.

    Have a lovely Christmas with your family.

    (Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.)

  10. beautiful, my friend ... I will be thinking of this post tomorrow when the girls eyes are lit with expectation and joy ... and I'll remember that it's what we're giving their hearts that matters ... not what's in the wrapping paper ... xoxo

  11. KJ, I just wanted to greet you a very Merry Christmas Eve. May your celebration with your family be safe, happy and blessed.


  12. What a really special post - so full of good things that are real. So much that people write about this season doesn't ring true; it does seem plastic. But this speaks of friends, family, and growing new moments to remember and cherish.

    I want to wish you and your family a peaceful and happy Christmas full of love and blessings.

  13. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones !! (and yes, who knows, one day we can meet)

  14. KJ,

    I am late with my messages. I have been away from the internet for abotu a week and a half. But I have caught up, enjoyed your posts and hope that you enjoy your holidays. I loved the Christmas post!

    Greta Jane