I’ve written here before that Christmas is not my favorite holiday at all. With past family tensions from when I grew up Christmas brings up more ugly memories than happy memories.
The short version is something like this- I’m the youngest of five kids. My sister is 16 years older than me and there are three brothers in between. My parents were awesome at Christmas when I was little. It was all the fun and magic- Stuffed stockings, fun presents and they’d even set up a treasure hunt for us with clues to find some of the presents. It was wonderful! The presents were always things I loved and it was so fun. I’d go to candle light Christmas service with Dad too. I loved it all.
Then 3rd grade came…that was end of Christmas as I knew it. My sister (along with her husband and family) changed from Catholic to a different religion that didn’t recognize Christmas. It was awkward. My parents couldn’t buy them gifts so they just bought nobody gifts. My sister wouldn’t come home if there was a tree so no tree…the only thing that didn’t change was that there was still fruit and still Christmas candies-Dad still went to candle light Christmas service. I no longer got a present…no stocking…no family get together-no joy-just another day all because my parents let my sister’s beliefs rule the house. It was always super awkward when asked what I got for Christmas and I’d just say nothing. When I got older and could drive I’d buy something for myself just so I didn’t have to say nothing when people asked.
For some reason, it’s been hard for me to get over….My sister has since changed and now celebrates Christmas in a polar opposite way…..for me Christmas is still a little hard. This year was way better than most-I think the hoopla with the new house masked it- but still, that sorrow of Christmas’ missed is always a little hard for me.
When I was about 22 my mom was cleaning the cupboard and asked if I wanted a three tiered dish that she had. I immediately said yes. I hadn’t seen that dish in years….MANY years…not since Christmas of second grade. It was the dish that my mom put out Christmas goodies on. For me, it represented happy Christmas’ before my family fought over religion-when Christmas still held joy.
I took that three tiered dish home and vowed I would try to make Christmas hold some joy for my family. I put the dish out each year and filled it with goodies. The act was always hard for me…it was a huge reminder of the responsibility I had as a parent to bring joy or sorrow to the season. I admit, sometime the sorrow side won…but sometime the joy side won.
Fast forward to about five years ago Christmas. Kalissa was getting the dish out of the cupboard for Christmas and the middle tier of the three tier dish fell to the floor and shattered. I did too. The one thing I had to remember happy Christmas’ was gone. I know it’s silly but that’s the way I looked at it. I was angry. I was upset. I have never been so emotionally screwed up as I was that day-all because a dish broke. I yelled and didn’t act much like a parent should.
Time passes and of course things do get a little better…For me I don’t know that Christmas will ever be picture perfect. I’ve learned that that’s okay too. I’ve learned that my kind of Christmas is okay. Christmas Eve candlelight service and a big meal with family is a fine way to honor Jesus’ birth.
So as I was packing I came across the now two tiered dish that came from my mom.
I’ve kept it with the hope of someday finding the middle tier at an auction or flea market. The bottom of the big dish says CALIF USA 8020. The little one says 3018. So far, no luck.
It’s something that I’ll keep looking for..just like I’ll keep looking for a way to feel happier about the whole Christmas season. I do know now that the dish isn’t the thing that adds or takes away the joy of Christmas. I’d still like to replace it though.
I’d love to be one of those people who claims that a person’s childhood doesn’t affect them as an adult..but from personal experience, I know that isn’t true. It does. I am a lucky one though, I have more good childhood memories than bad ones…it just that most of my not so good ones all fall around Christmas.
If anyone can tell me about this three tiered dish, I’d love to know more about it. The information just might help my hunt be a little more successful.
UPDATE: I’VE SINCE PURCHASED A DISH….THANKS TO ONE OF MY BLOG READERS.