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Carol Perkins: How quickly Christmas came, was gone

The build up for Christmas is wonderful. But, Carol Perkins says, 'Resembling a picked over turkey after a Thanksgiving meal, the beautiful decorations don't look so beautiful on December 26.'
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: A side trip (eventful of course) to the Apple Store

By Carol Perkins

How quickly it came and how quickly it went. Another Christmas. We prepare for the holiday weeks in advance and then as quickly as wrapping paper peels off a box, it is over. Finished. I don't know about you, but the day after Christmas I want to remove all signs of the season and move on.



Resembling a picked over turkey after a Thanksgiving meal, the beautiful decorations don't look so beautiful on December 26. By then, I have gotten the "good" out of twinkling lights, snowmen, and the tree. The taking down is much more grueling than the putting up.

Guy and I had a very quiet Christmas at home. (Our family Christmas begins this weekend.) It was different but actually very nice. It was the first time just the two of us spent Christmas morning together since our first year of marriage forty-five years ago. We opened gifts, drank coffee, and then later had dinner with my mother and uncle.

Of course, we talked to the grandkids who told us what Santa had brought, each one talking so fast we barely understood a word each said. (I don't hear fast!) Jon was worrying about the snow that was going to face him as he and his family of five begin their long journey to Kentucky on Wednesday. I heard his oldest in the background say, "Just take another route." Wise boy.

I like the idea of children being home to play with their toys on Christmas Day. That is why we don't get together until after Christmas. We parents have (or had in our case) so many places they are obligated to be, we sometimes short change the little ones by taking them away from their Santa gifts and carrying their sleeping bodies out of the car and to their beds at the end of the day.

For years and years, our children barely had time to open their gifts before we had places to be. At the time, I was stressed over all the rushing and being at so many places, but later I knew how precious that time had been.

For many years, my mother's siblings and their families went to my grandparents on Christmas Eve. Then after we married, my brothers and I and our families also went to our parents on Christmas Day for breakfast. Then Guy and I and our kids went to the his parents for lunch and to be with his siblings and their families. We loved being with all of them, but at the end of the day we felt we had been in a whirlwind. I wished for a little less rush and the gathering to have been spread out a few days.

Then my grandmother passed away and we gathered no more with aunts, uncles, and cousins. My mother moved her gathering to Christmas Eve, so we had more time to spend at home on Christmas morning. Then Guy's parents passed away. Then we had no more Christmas Day gatherings with his family. Then I realized just how little the rushing meant compared to the having them and all being together. Now I have only memories.

I no longer fret about whether our children come before, during, or after Christmas. I don't worry that crumbs are on the floor, wrapping paper under the chair, or the noise level is over the top. As long as we gather under one roof, I am happy. As Phil would say on "Duck Dynasty," Happy, Happy, Happy. - Carol Sullivan


This story was posted on 2012-12-30 15:28:26
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