Thursday, December 26, 2013
It's Beginning to Not Feel A lot Like Christmas
And it gets worse year after year. Every season, the Christmas jingles start playing on the radio earlier, the Christmas decorations go up on houses earlier, the stores put out their Christmas stock earlier (there were Christmas items out before Halloween even passed this year), and people start their mad rush and lavish spending earlier. Doesn’t anyone catch on besides me? Corporations and businesses do these things so that we will spend more money so they get richer! They have put the idea in our heads that we NEED to spend money at Christmas and if we don’t, we are bad people. Seriously, if I had a friend who thought less of me because I didn’t spend a large amount of money on them for Christmas, they wouldn’t be my friend anymore. Material things do not buy love or respect. They just take up space and eat up money.
I don’t have any children so Christmas is a quiet time now for me. Most of my family is living away, most of my friends are living away and now with my mom gone, that Christmas spirit died just a little bit more this year. When it comes to Christmas for me now, it’s the memories that keep any little bit of spirit I have left alive. Fortunately, I have some very good memories.
You already have a good idea what my Christmases were like as a young child but after I moved away to another province when I was 19, Christmas time in that new faraway place away from my family back home took on a new meaning; sometimes I didn’t have the opportunity to travel home for the holidays and that meant starting my own traditions and joining in with my new friends and their families in various parts of Newfoundland. Christmas in Newfoundland is special. Well, everything about Newfoundland is special but Christmas is a very magical time of year on The Rock. I was never alone during any of my Christmases in Newfoundland even though I didn’t have any family there. I always had invitations to eat dinner, attend holiday events and join friends to celebrate the holidays with their families. This allowed me to be introduced to some new Christmas traditions unique to Newfoundland. Purity Syrup, Mummers, Peas Pudding and gathering around listening to talk radio or Open Line as many people called it. Over the course of my time there, I developed my own Christmas traditions. Walking through freshly fallen snow in Bannerman or Bowring Park, sitting on a park bench by The Basilica and listening to the beautiful sounds of a choir singing Christmas favorites before Midnight Mass, blaring the Christmas music and decorating my own apartment with the decorations that were handed down to me by parents and grandparents before I moved away and going for drives out around the bay to see all the beautifully lit homes.
There were some years that saw me traveling back to Cape Breton to celebrate Christmas with my family. There were lots of things I liked about Christmas at home too. Mom’s homemade baking, random drives with dad to Framboise, trips into Sydney to just drive around looking at the decorated houses, the 12-foot tree in the living room and those good ol’ movie marathons that never changed since I was a kid; still the same old holiday classics! Going home was always worth it in the end but getting home was the tricky part. Every time I traveled home from Newfoundland, there was some sort of delay. Bus break downs, ferry cancellations, delayed flights. One of the last times I made that trip saw me arriving in Port Aux Basques and boarding the ferry, only to be told there was a storm brewing over The Gulf so we wouldn’t be going anywhere for some time. A major blizzard struck not long after that I ended up stuck on that boat, in port, for almost two full days. When we did finally set sail, the seas were still rough. So rough that an announcement was made for passengers to stay indoors and away from the outside decks. The waves were so high that they were coming up over the sides. After a scary (and stomach turning) sail, I made it home on Christmas Eve. Than there was a the time I made it to Port Aux Basques and exited the DRL bus only to discover that someone else had accidentally taken my luggage – with all the Christmas gifts for my family in it! Thankfully, the person realized their mistake and they drove back to the ferry terminal just in time to pass over my luggage to ferry personnel who delivered it to me before we sailed away.