However, on second thought, what’s wrong with wishing someone Happy Holidays?
The holiday season begins the day after Halloween and ends with New Year’s. So we have about two months of the holidays; however, unfortunately, Thanksgiving is sometimes overlooked.
Down through the years, the Thanksgiving dinner has become a family tradition. This year will be different, but right now we don’t really know what to expect. We may be back in the lockdown, or only a certain number of people are allowed at a gathering.
I may end up sitting home alone with my memories and eating leftovers. Memories! That is something to be thankful for, especially good memories.
Thanksgiving memories: Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma’s with the whole family. Grandpa sitting at the head of the table with a pile of plates in front of him, as he asked the blessing, then carved the turkey. Other family memories down through the years.
David was already married with two children when I married his father. So I gained another family. I enjoy each member of the family, watching the grandchildren grow up, and now seeing the great-grandchildren. I send birthday cards and gifts to the children and sign them from “Grandma Marion.” When the boys were little, they would ask, “Who’s Grandma Marion?” and were shown my picture.
One special memory involves my great-grandson, Everett. I was sitting in the dining room holding Everett’s baby brother while the Tickner ladies were in the kitchen getting the food ready. Everett stood before me, and in all seriousness asked, “Are you Grammie’s friend?” I told him I’m Papa’s mommy (leaving out the step part). I thought that was a pretty smart question for a two-year-old. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but when I’m there with the family, Everett’s so busy playing with his cousin that I’m only a little old lady hanging out. At the time, I should have told him that I’m Grandma Marion.
As for eating leftovers this year, I don’t have to. I can begin even now planning a tasty meal for myself. Maybe something to put in the freezer to eat later.
Then comes Christmas, another family holiday. My husband and I had our own special Christmas morning together, then drove to David’s house an hour away. After Norman passed away, I continued to celebrate Christmas with his family. Everybody looks forward to a white Christmas, and I agree it’s a beautiful time of the year. Yet, it can be a stormy time as well. I remember twice having to turn around and come back home. Now that I don’t like driving in bad weather, one of the family picks me up. But at the end of the day, everybody is enjoying each other’s company and new gifts, and I have to find someone willing to bring me home.
One year the weather was such that I didn’t feel like going down to spend Christmas Day with the family. My daughter-in-law called in the afternoon. I could hear the little boys playing in the background. She said, “I’m talking to Grandma Marion.”
Four-year-old Everett said, “She’s ALIVE!” Since then, the boys know who Grandma Marion is, and when I see them, they run to me for a hug.
Usually, when I go down for Christmas, I take a car full of gifts with me. I enjoy Christmas shopping and try to pick out the right thing for each person on my list. However, since the Covid-19, some of the stores have closed, and for those that are open, many empty shelves. This year I have made the decision to spend Christmas Day at home. Each person will be remembered with a small gift, mostly gift cards. Easy to purchase and easy to spend.
My family says they don’t want me to spend the day alone, but I have my memories, books to read, and a television.
But Christmas is not over. On Boxing Day, I prepare brunch for my sister, brother and sister-in-law, and we celebrate Christmas together. Even if once again we’re in “stay home” mode, we live close enough to get together at another time.
Marion Tickner writes from New York.