Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A magical nothing

These are my own thoughts and opinions.  They are not meant to offend nor hurt anyone in anyway.  I did not write this to bring to light my terrible childhood or any injustices done to me when I was young.  I had a good childhood.  Please keep that in mind as you read it.  


The holidays used to be a time of misery and sadness for me.  When my family would gather together for our Thanksgiving feast it wasn't a pleasant experience.  There would always be bickering that would unavoidably lead to arguing and then fighting.  It got to the point where I would do a variety of different things to distance myself from my family.  I'd play my game boy in order to ignore them.  I'd stay in my room until the last moment.  When I was at the table, I would eat my food as fast as I could so that I could leave.  I did all of this, so I could avoid the fights.  But, as I said previously, the fights were unavoidable.  They always happened, and most of the time were unprovoked.

You'd think however, as we grew up that the fights would lessen, tensions wouldn't mount as high, and peace would welcome itself back into our family.  Everyone wishes that their family could be like a Norman Rockwell painting.  That never happened in my family.  As we grew, certain members of my family grew louder, expecting their voices to be heard, and making sure to do everything they could to have them be heard, while others became quieter.  My dad had given up on ever having a good meal as a family, and my mom always had hope that there would be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.  She initiated the "what are you thankful for" clause for our Thanksgiving dinners, with without much success.  We would always end up arguing that we didn't want to give thanks for anything.  It was almost worse than pulling teeth for my family.    

The holidays had become void of any sort of feeling in my house that we didn't see the point in giving thanks for what we had.  We just wanted to sit down and eat.  When it came to Christmas, we gave each other gifts, knowing that we were going to receive one in return.  That was the only reason we gave one.  If someone didn't give us one, we didn't feel an obligation to give them one.  We had lost the true meaning of the holidays.  We didn't know what it meant to sacrifice, to give.  We had lost the understanding of service.  I grew up in a religious home, and even Christ and his birth was hardly talked about.  My father would put up his priceless nativities but we never gathered around and even spoken of The Savior and His birth.  We didn't bring Christ into our Christmas.  We didn't even bring Santa in.  We were so void of anything that, although we would put up a tree and decorated the house, we never even talked about Santa and the magic that is Christmas.

I remember when I was very young, the sounds and the smells of the holidays.  My parents had this small ladder that you would prop up next to the Christmas tree.  You would place wooden elves on the ladder and they looked as if they were placing ornaments on the tree.  I remember pretending I was climbing that ladder helping them.  I remember Christmas music blaring throughout our house and Christmas goodies baking all day everyday.  My mom would read us a Christmas book every night before we went to bed. When all of that stopped, the Holiday went along with it.  My parents would still bake goodies but it seemed like a burden. We didn't hang out stockings anymore and we didn't make gingerbread houses.  We didn't do all of the things that made the holidays so magical. I was still a child when it stopped.  That's when the holidays became a burden to me as well.

My friends would often tell me that I needed to be the difference.  I needed to fix the wrongs that I saw in the holidays.  If I didn't like it then I needed to change it for myself.  I still lived at home, so how could I change that.  I didn't decorate that house, my parents did.  We never talked about Christ in our home, it was just understood that he was a baby and we celebrated him.  I never fully understood that until I left on my mission because I was never taught that in my home.  I never knew that I needed to be the difference until I had children of my own.  I I hated the holidays, until I got married and had kids.

When Paige was born my world turned upside down.  Finally, there was this little one, who was my own, that wanted to know all there was to know about all things magical.  She wanted to know who Santa was, what reindeer were, who the baby in the crib was (Jesus), and she wanted to watch Frosty the Snow Man over and over again.  To say it melted my dead holiday heart is an understatement.  My daughter, in one year, at the age of 2 years old, completely re-opened my eyes to the wonders of the Holidays. 

She reminds me of the imagination that I had as a child.  How I would sneak the cool ornaments off of the tree and play with them.  How I would stare at the Christmas lights for hours, mesmerized by all of the wonderful colours.  My daughter brought all of that back to me.

My children have managed to undo almost 15 years of harbored emotions that I had towards the holidays.  Melissa and I have started traditions that we are bound to keep.  We decorate like nobody's business.  We start with Halloween and decorate from ceiling to floor.  We move to Thanksgiving, the forgotten holiday, and move on to Christmas.  We make sure to watch movies for all three holidays.  The glow in our children's eyes when they see the decorations is enough to wonder why my parents stopped.  Every morning Parker wakes up and looks at our ceiling and points to all of the Thanksgiving decorations we have hanging and wants to touch them all.  Paige is obssessed with the amazing turkey that Melissa made. 

My children love the holidays and I want them to always love them.  I don't want them to have to look back when they are 27 and see how things were and how drastically they changed.  I don't want them to ever have to wonder why.  The holidays should draw families closer together, not drive them farther apart.  I want each holiday that we have as a family to bring us together in one way or another.  I want to make memories that will last in my children's minds forever.  I want them to be 27 and remember that we always did amazing things as a family.

-J. Scott     


Once again, this was not meant to offend.  If you feel as though I have slighted you in some way, please talk with me.  I am not upset, and I hope that you are not either.  I speak specifically to the members of my immediate family who might read this. 

1 comment:

Caudle family said...

Very good Jeremy. You are right. We have forgot the magic of holidays. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I too have felt that the holidays have become a burden. I too love the lights on the Christmas tree. I love to turn the lights off and sit and glaze at the tree. Haven't done that in awhile. You also remind me, that family is important. Who needs presents when you have the love of your family. We need to see the holidays through the eyes of children. It will bring back the magic. Love ya,