Tag Archives: christmas dinner

Only Child’s Christmases past and Christmas present

tree05It is nearing midnight Christmas Eve. Mom and I are struggling to stay upright as we walk along the icy sidewalks in the dark. We hang onto each other. Maybe we should have worn our skates – the ice is thick enough, but it is bumpy. We have to make it to Holy Cross Church on time for midnight Mass.

It is something different for both of us as morning Christmas Day Mass used to be the norm for Mom Dad and  me. We would eat a small snack before, check out our stockings hanging from the mantle and then head for church. Afterwards, back home it would be a big breakfast, then the magic of digging out the presents from under the tree. Presents that Mom and I had wrapped – her at the table in the kitchen and me at the table in the dining room. When either of us needed more wrapping paper or scrotch tape, we gave the other warning so there was time to cover the presents not yet wrapped.

After the ceremony of the presents, Mom would finish preparing Christmas dinner – turkey, sometimes goose or a duck, if she was feeling adventurous. Sometimes instead of eating dinner at home, we took a bus and streetcar to my aunt and uncle’s place in mid-Toronto to celebrate Christmas with them, my grandma who lived on the third floor of this old house, and my three cousins.

But that’s when Dad was still alive. He died the month before Christmas. The year was 1965. I was 16.

Fast Forward to 2016 and Christmas is so different. Not just because both my parents are long dead, but I am now past the age where each parent died. I no longer go to church as I  no longer find it relevant or helpful in my life. Life for not only me, but most everyone is changed so much. And it’s not just because we are older; it’s what’s happened, what is happening to us and to the world. We have too many problems, too much sickness, too much poverty and don’t forget the weather. Used to be snow was snow and it was normal. Now, we get ice storms, freezing rain, even regular rain, flooded basements and communities flooded out  their homes, often forever. This is good?

Within all this bleakness I still celebrate Christmas ,but it is a secular Christmas. I don’t mean shopping till I drop, although the past week it’s been difficult to get out even for a loaf of bread, with all the snow, ice, rain, bitter cold and today the winds which are supposed to howl down on and at us. Not to mention an unexpected and unwelcome dental problem and more house problems, some related to the weather. Somehow I can’t help feeling that the Christmas baby in the manger has failed us all so miserably.

My Christmas is spending time with family and close friends – friends and I eat out and sometimes stop at their house afterwards to continue the warm visit. In my old age, I have fewer close friends. One died from cancer earlier this year, but beyond that I am just picky. I think the bottom line has to do with friends who are reliable, friends who are there for you and you for them. In family, it is my son and his girlfriend. My son has helped me so much   – now with this dental problem (the actual dental extraction is after New Year’s Day) . They will share the Christmas presents under the tree, and a Christmas dinner (chicken, not turkey as I’m now allergic to turkey – that is if I can find a chicken for a reasonable price, a chicken that isn’t so small and scrawny there is barely enough for one meal for the three of us. There seems to be a paucity of roast chickens and turkeys on sale, or not on sale, this Christmas).

There will be no church involvement here, not even on TV. Instead I have been almost binging on watching TV Christmas movies (old and new – White Christmas  with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney comes up this Thursday evening) and Christmas segments of the regular series I watch. Here I can get involved in other people’s problems instead of mine and know solutions will be found in the hour or two hours of the show. I know that some of these resolutions are too pat and don’t always happen in real life, but I need to get away from real life. To tell the truth, real life can well, really suck.

But I am not stopping celebrating Christmas – with the Christmas songs, trees, decorations, presents, food, music, good friends and family. And yes, even Santa. To me, he represents Christmas for children, maybe like a mascot. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget shovelling all that white shit (snow is a four-letter word) and keeping track of the weather that is coming so I know if I might be mopping up a basement or sprinkling salt on ice outside.

May all of you have a Merry Xmas, however you celebrate it.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

What I like about Christmas:

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and I ready to celebrate Christmas Day together

My son Martin, his girlfriend Juni and I ready to celebrate Christmas Day together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I hate about Christmas and winter

I do like the old buildings - it's the white stuff on the ground I don't like.

I do like the old buildings – it’s the white stuff on the ground I don’t like.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1960s, Christmas, Christmas spirit, Mom and Dad, Only child, Winter Weather

Only Child’s meaning of Christmas

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

The Christmas tree decorated brings Christmas joy to Only Child

Christmas means different things to different people. To show what Christmas means to me, I’m going to take you back to last December 2013. Close your eyes and remember.

Early morning December 22, 2013, the lights, the furnace, the fridge, the freezer, the heat suddenly went off. Ice pelted down on southern Ontario and Toronto was badly hit including many fallen trees on power lines. Toronto lost about one-third of its tree canopy. It was like the wrath of God was unleashed full force and we were being punished.

The boarder and her cat (still living with me then) and I were stuck. We had water, including hot water because that is a separate utility here and the hot water heat is gas-run. So is the furnace but years ago turning on the gas furnace switched to an electric-turn on.

Mid-day Sunday, my son Martin phoned. He still had power; so did downtown Toronto. He wanted to put us up at a downtown hotel. We resisted at first – partly because of the boarder waffling and partly because I was worried about leaving the house. He gave me advice about removing the ice from the veranda and driveway (put down salt and a couple of hours later go out with a shovel and hack away/shovel it). I did that.

Next day, the Monday, the phone woke me up (a land line, my life line then). Martin again insisting we had to go into a hotel downtown because the temperature was plummeting later in the day. The room included the boarder and her cat. So, after talking to some of my friends on the block and elsewhere, I got the house situation straightened out (except for no power and no heat, so I left a tap in the laundry room on dripping).

We took a taxi to the hotel and Martin met us there. He got us checked in and helped me set up my laptop with the hotel’s Internet while the boarder fed her cat. Then Martin took us out for dinner at Fran’s Restaurant and left me with a Starbucks gift certificate for hot chocolate for the boarder and me. Much later after Martin returned home, he phoned me at the hotel. Tanya, my friend next door had just texted him that the power had just gone back on. I called Tanya.

We stayed in the hotel for the two days booked. Christmas around noon, Martin in a leased car arrived, paid for our stay,  and drove us back home. That wasn’t all – he brought Christmas dinner – ham, potatoes, cream cheese, rosemary and cooked it. I supplied green beans and the dishes.

Looking back, I realize this is the true meaning of Christmas. Friends and family helping each other and celebrating Christmas together. To me, that includes taking time through the year to get small but useful presents for those close to me. I do it bit by bit when on holidays and afterwards. The only mall part was going to the Hudson Bay Company – but in a smaller mall and I focused on the department and the person I was buying for. To me Christmas is not about playing shopaholics at the mallChristmas is not about sitting in a church for Christmas services. You might say my take on Christmas is secular/spiritual, but definitely not religious. My Christmas spirit is (no, not in a bottle, although I like the occasional glass of wine) connected to family and friends, and helping others when and where I can. My Christmas spirit is listening to Christmas songs – secular and religious – it’s the music I like, watching Christmas movies – old and new – on TV, looking at decorated Christmas trees and decorating my two foot high artificial tree,  and walking around outside looking at the Christmas lights. May not be able to do that this year either as according to weather forecasts we are supposed to get very high winds with rain. Not happy about that and I’ve told God what I think about that and what is the right thing to do.

That’s my Christmas story and I’m sticking to it.

Happy holiday to all. And may it be safe, especially from bad and extreme weather.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, Christmas spirit, Extreme Weather, Hydro power outage, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto

Only Child deals with a mixed Christmas

Only Child likes the Christmas tradition of gift giving

Only Child likes  gift giving

It’s going to take extra effort to get through this Christmas because I’m feeling the pain of being what I refer to as an “only person” (no partner, etc.). I think the pain here is coming from real physical pain and having to deal with it alone. It’s been a bad year for me with health issues but lately something more has been brewing and one of these physical pains can partly be blamed on having no partner and no car, i.e., having to cart heavy bags of groceries in several trips – now my right shoulder hurts. That should go away if I take it easy. I may be able to carry my purse on my left shoulder and refrain from buying heavy groceries until the weekend. But if we get all this snow that’s forecast for Boxing Day, it will create problems and more aloneness.

I have no one near here to shovel snow for me (and this winter, so far, I can afford to pay someone a reasonable fee to do so). So guess who will have to be out there shovelling snow – probably two sessions in the next couple of days? Not Santa Claus or any of his helpers.

The other situation is that my son and I were planning to meet for dinner on Boxing Day in downtown Toronto (somewhat a central location for both of us). Today he has a gaggle of friends from overseas staying with him and he is cooking Christmas dinner there. His girlfriend is off visiting her sister out of country because of a family issue there. With this snow coming, my son’s and my Boxing Day dinner might be postponed. Although I don’t mind having to postpone if necessary, I do mind now because for Christ’s sake it is Christmas (pun intended). I’m spending today, Christmas alone and the odd Christmas this happens it doesn’t bother me. But then I don’t have all these pains every Christmas (the other one in my foot I’m suspecting is fibromyalgia, at least from the symptoms and connections to another disease I have). Reading about that online is enough to make you depressed. Oh, that is a symptom of possible fibromyalgia.

So, to get over the hump of this season’s next few days, I will call my friends and my son – perhaps we can have the “snow” option of rescheduling Boxing Day dinner. I will also email friends and family from out of town, be grateful for the gifts I have received, prepare my traditional Christmas dinner (the first one – the second family one comes in January when Martin and Alison will be here for a belated Christmas dinner), savour it and the wine and eggnog – try not to overdue eating chocolate and ice cream, listen to Christmas music, read the current mystery novel on my Kobo, and remember Christmases past with my late parents when I was growing up. I’ll leave you with this remembrance of my childhood Christmas.

Christmas Day began with breakfast and tearing into the stockings hung on the mantle. Then it was the obligatory Christmas Mass at Church (a tradition I no longer follow as the only thing that moves me there is the music and I can get that on my stereo). Once back home we dived into the presents and I think it was the sharing that I liked best. When we stayed home for Christmas dinner Mom liked to try roasting a different type of bird each year – sometimes a greasy goose, sometimes a duck, sometimes a chicken, and sometimes a turkey. Some years she had to cook the goose another day because we were off to my aunt and uncle’s on dad’s side of the family for Christmas dinner. We travelled by public transit (no car) and when we got there I’d hang out with my three cousins.  I don’t remember the dinners, but remember this as I write in my memoir:

I gaze around the living room beyond the corner where we are sitting. The grownups are involved in their grownup talk, but my aunt sees me staring at the tree in the opposite corner. Three presents, like lost parcels, lie underneath the tree.

“Those are for Felicity,” my aunt says. “Her birthday is December 26, so she can’t open her birthday presents until tomorrow.” (Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford)

Merry Christmas.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Christmas, Family and Friends, Health, Help and Support, Living alone, Mom and Dad, Only child memoir, Pain, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Winter Weather