CHRISTMAS: THEN & NOW

Sometimes getting what you want is not actually what you want.
  1. When I was growing up, we used to have a big family party each year on Christmas day.
  2. It would be at my grandparent's house. My aunts, uncles & cousins would be there. There would be so much food. Grandma really went all out on the food.
  3. Grandpa would dress up as Santa. In the Australian summer this was a big deal & shows a commitment to how much he loved his grandchildren!
  4. When I was a child, I used to love these parties. I would catch up with my cousins, we'd play games all day and get upset when we were told it was time to go home.
  5. When I got a bit older, I still loved these parties cause I got to sit with the adults & drink champagne. It was fun to watch my aunts & uncles get tipsy. I learned a lot of family secrets this way.
  6. When I got older still, & I was working (especially in hospitality where it was insane right before Christmas), I started to dread these parties.
  7. I was no longer 'on holidays' from school. I was working, I was tired & all I really wanted to do was stay at home & curl up with a good book. Basically I craved solitude which was the complete opposite of a family Christmas party.
  8. Over time, the parties shifted to my Aunt's house. This was after my grandparents moved into a 2 bedroom apartment in a retirement village.
  9. But this feeling I had of wanting to be alone on Christmas Day was still there. And I began to resent being forced to attend an event that I didn't want to go to.
  10. My grandparent's health declined & Dad kept saying that this Christmas might be their last, so I had to go. This went on for years & my resentment grew.
  11. Then, a couple of years ago, Grandma passed away, leaving Grandpa by himself.
  12. This was the first Christmas in a long time that I really wanted to go to a family Christmas party. We all wanted to give Grandpa the best Christmas ever to somehow make up for the fact that Grandma, his soulmate & the glue that held our family together, was gone.
  13. We all had a great time. And for once there were no family dramas!
  14. It was the last Christmas we all spent together. A few months later, my Grandpa passed away.
  15. Now, all my aunts & uncles are grandparents themselves. And so they have their own parties, much like we used to have when we were kids.
  16. And since my sister & I have no children, only cats, our family finally spends the day just by ourselves. My sister lives interstate & sometimes she doesn't come home. This year she's spending Christmas Day with her boyfriend's family.
  17. However, since it's 'just us', we don't really go to too much trouble. Once the presents are opened in the morning it's pretty much just another day.
  18. So, I finally have my ideal Christmas Day. There's peace & quiet. I can read, watch movies, or do anything I want.
  19. You know what I want?
  20. I want to go back to the times when the whole family got together under the one roof for Christmas.
  21. I guess I should have appreciated those times more than I did.