Since I caved and went to get our family a Christmas tree on Saturday, I’ve been really getting into the whole spirit of the season. Having the lights twinkling and the greeny smell wafting around our home makes it real that December and the anticipation of the holidays are finally here.
I’ve heard many times before that the sense most strongly tied to memory is smell. In university, it was suggested to me to study with a small bag of lavender (a calming scent), and to bring the bag to exams to spark the memories of course work with aroma. I never tried it, but I don’t doubt that it works. Certain smells bring me very vividly back to certain points in my life.
Working in the room, taking in the scent of the tree, I can’t help but be met with memories of Christmas seasons past. Pulling out decorations from the Christmas box, the mistletoe is something I always get excited about. I wrote earlier this month about making memories and starting family Christmas traditions with our wee little babe. Well, mistletoe belongs in our list of traditions, too.
My mom would always get into holidays. Easter, Valentines, Thanksgiving, St Patricks Day. She seemed to enjoy all of them (except Halloween for religious reasons). I always remember her decorating the house with little things and wearing appropriately festive earrings. She made an effort to make occasions special and celebrated.
One of the ways she would prep our home for Christmas was hanging mistletoe. Maybe it was plastic, but it was mistletoe nonetheless. The little ball of greenery was always hanging in a doorway, ready to catch any unexpecting twosomes and turn an ordinary moment into an intimate exchange. I don’t remember anyone ever specifically sharing a smooch underneath, but it’s always been one of my favourites when it came to decorating for the holidays.
My childhood family would celebrate the season, not with Santa as the centre, but with love and family. We knew of Santa Clause as a character in a fun story, and we knew our parents, relatives and friends as people who loved us and saw us in our good and our bad, and who bestowed carefully selected gifts on us – regardless if we made mistakes in our doings and choices throughout the year.
I liked this. I still do. I don’t feel I missed out on anything as a kidlet. I appreciate being raised understanding that, even though we didn’t have a lot of money, my parents were the ones who went all out to give us a special Christmas in every way they could.
Whether your family follows the North American cultural traditions of a man in a red suit, celebrates Christmas without a jolly old soul, or celebrates a different holiday all together doesn’t make a bit of difference. It’s the people you have around you and in your heart that matters. It’s being with your families and doing whatever it is with them that you all enjoy doing.
Because at the end of the day, your loved ones are all that matter.