Holidays gone by

Memories of a different day.

Holidays gone by

When I was younger, the holidays were great and seemed to last a lifetime. It seems that back then families did so much more together but maybe it's just that it's my family so I don't notice it anymore. When I was younger our family got together for the annual party. It was my Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles, cousins, siblings. My grandmas house stuffed so tight the kids mostly sat on the floor, or perhaps the front porch because with so many people congregating it was overly warm.

Our family grew so large that we started having these parties at my Grandma's ward. She would reserve it and we would go up and set up tables and chairs. There was always some kind of entertainment, but not something with a screen like today. We did a gift exchange but the Aunts usually all got together and made something. One year they made us dolls, another year pillows. We would get a present from whoever we picked out of a cup.

My grandma always had her house all decked out and her tree was always lit with those great big lights like you put outside on your house. She also had lights that had water in them and they got warm and made bubbles. we had big dinners and there were lots of treats. Divinity, fudge, cookies, and pies. Christmas candy, all in christmas plates and little christmas dishes.

There was laughter and noise and not a mask in sight. When you got hot you would step out on to the porch. After a bit you would be cold as you watched your breath go in and out in little puffs. Family catching up, cousins and siblings like best friends. Growing up together until one by one the elders passed away. Grandma was gone as well. Parents and cousins. Some going way to soon.

I can still hear the echo of those holiday parties. We grew a part and moved separate ways. Some never speaking at all. My kids are missing out that we don't have it anymore, and they all live to far for it to matter.

The holidays now are nothing more than me and a millions memories that just don't matter anymore. I don't even think the people in them remember who I am. So many friends long gone. So many family have moved on. Even the ones you thought would be there for a life time.

I'll never forget the home ade gifts, the smell of the Turkey and the many casseroles and salads they all would provide. The laughter the smiling the hugging, the love that was spread all around.

I'll always remember the nastalgia of the metallic oraments. They old fashioned Santa's and angels, and reindeer. The little plastic set of Santa with his sleigh. The metallic star way up top. The presents wrapped so carefully below.

When I decorate now I still see some of the nastalgia but from my childhood this time. The decorations from lifetimes long gone by. Some my kids made for me, some I bought. Some we crafted together, like the wood ones we made out of the cut off bottom of our tree. We sat at the table in the shack we lived in, in that lifetime. We painted them, while listening to Christmas Carols, and drinking hot cocoa.

Or the ones that were bought each year all dated with the year. The made in class at school ones that are way to big for a tree but you hang them up there anyway. Your childs face laminated right there for all to look. Little hand prints reindeers heads and candy canes made from pipe cleaners.

Babies first Christmas and our first second and third Christmas together. Another lifetime gone. The past crumbling to dust that makes me wonder if every person has felt this same old way or if its something new that we are suddenly asking today.

Seems like things now are moving so fast. The holidays over before they begin. Nobody around to celebrate, nobody to catch up and reminisce old memories of Christmases gone by. Just me, hanging up my ornaments and thinking how it's never meant to be.

I aim to change that though. I want to go back to having a house full of love and Kindness. Family and friends gathered around talking, and eating. Laughing about the stories being told and the memories being shared. The food smelling so welcoming as we all gather.

This year is the worse I've seen so far. The year has flown by and crawled all at the same time. Everything we thought was real, just maybe is not. The time speeds by as we all fight about everything from politics to religion to who is better than the other.

There are always the select few who just sit and wonder why they all don't see that there is no reason for separation. Nothing to be gained from the fear and the hate. We fight to wear a mask, we fight to keep them off. We fight for our religion, we fight to believe what we want. We fight because of the color of our skin, although we are the same.

We fight because they tell us to. We fight because we are scared and so tired of the darkness. We fight because we have forgotten the smell of all the pine. Taking naps under the Christmas tree staying up late with Mom, wrapping presents and laughing uncontrollably because everything is funny when you are up so late.

Family dinners and friends coming over and memories that I can still feel, and hear like echoes of a past Im not sure I even lived. Each life has left me here alone and starting over. Telling myself it's made me stronger but wondering stronger for what. Does it matter when you end up alone? The time that passes now, is so quick we don't even see that it is gone.

The sky seems fake and the clouds like a painting hanging in the sky. People seem to be zombies walking the direction that they point to go and not asking if they should. I see the comfort in the fear, the thought it's safer to stay here, and yet I fight each to day to see more clear and be gone to another place, where the division is not our saving grace.

I want to go where the sun shines real. Where leaves fall and crackle and the sun winds down to winter. I want to go where family have gone where we can laugh and talk once more. I'd like to see the snowflakes sparkle in a quiet solitude. I'd like to taste one on my lip as it falls from the perfect sky.

I'd love to remember the echo of a dinner I can only dream of. Too many gone now way to soon, and I look back over the years. Seeing so many happy times so many moments to be thankful for.

I want to go where the trees smell so good and I fit under them for a nap. I want to recapture the feeling of joy as you open a present up. I want to snuggle up and watch a movie and feel someone's love. I want to matter to someone, be needed somehow still.

In life number 4 I found myself and lost all else I knew. My life ripped out from under me, a family gone like the wind, probably never in thinking of me. Left alone and undone. The holidays now just an illusion of something I thought was for family. Its really just a memory that already died.

I wonder often what will bring me in lifetime number five. Im hoping for laughter, abundance and family. Peaceful snowfall glistening in the nights sky. Street lights calling us home and presents wrapped around the tree.

I hope for Christmas dinner, and parties with goodies galore. I hope for love and grace and the kindness of the heart for all. I hope for warmth and my life going somewhere. I meditate and keep my thoughts and Im not perfect by far, but I'm sure trying to make number five the best of all.

Each year I say the same thing but now I'm almost there. I'll keep moving on a shadow of the lives that came before. Remembering the laughter and the moment that lived before. They may not remember, or even think I ever was. I know that I had good intentions and so I hold tight to each new thought.

Nastalgia in each thankful moment that crosses my mind. I have a memory in lifetime 3 of pulling into Yellowstone, trees all around and then straight up nothing but a dark black sky and stars that never end. I remember once upon a time in lifetime one, cross country skiing. Bundled up in coats and gloves, and hats, our noses still bright red.

Nothing beats lifetime one. From the music to the breaking free, each one of us needing something more. We head banged all together and we sang. There were metal bands and giant hair and phones that hung on the wall.

There were Christmas dinners with the family and tv dinners on little metal chairs around the only tv that stood right in the corner, antannae sticking up so far. with tinfoil folded around it. There was the song of MASH and knowing the whole neighborhood was listening to it.

There was Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents, our parents, and cousins and siblings we thought would be around forever. Gone now just like everything they taught us that turned out to be so wrong.

I remember how the cold wasn't so cold, more crisp. The air not filled with so many things that don't belong. I remember not wearing a mask or worrying about getting a cold. We lived our lives to the very best. We ate such treats through out the month, we always gained holiday weight. Now most of us can't eat.

I always knew I would be here for this I just hoped I'd have no fear. I keep smiling through the days and dreaming through the nights and wondering when we will all see what is just beneath. How many will hold on to peace and how many will choose to stay wrapped up tight in fear. For if you are feeling fear then you should run right to it.

The sooner we all learn to face it the sooner our light will shine through it. So decorate and laugh and sing, and bake and cook together. Enjoy the holiday that makes your soul sing brighter. Grasp each life within your mind and hold on tight.

They may be gone but they are not forgotten and I remember most of them at their best. The holiday lights so big and bright and the smell of a real tree. The laughter and the treats so sweet, and the dreams my head made up. The smiles and the twinkle of an eye.

extended family
Read next: Allie on the Sand
Lee Naylor
See all posts by Lee Naylor