Christmas came and went again, as it always has but Xmas 2021 was a weird one. Family that usually gets together were divided up in different households due to COVID quarantine, an on-going feud between two brother-in-law’s that ‘peace on earth’ could not cure and weather. For our house, though we were COVID, feuding and bad weather free, but we celebrated on Christmas Eve and had a quiet Christmas Day; first time ever.
It’s always good, to be ready for things to be different. Traditions are good. They’re fun. They give meaning and connection to the past, to the present as everyone takes part and usually cast into the future as kids grow and move on. Change arrives with sweeping disregard for tradition, comfort, cherished, beautiful places and situations.
I’d like to say the answer is to embrace change. Take it in as a new friend and joyfully welcome it. That would be trite and not very helpful to the one who is grieving the loss that change brings.
One thing, like all inevitable things in life, resisting and hating change is not the answer.
So what’s in between welcoming and fighting it off? Process.
• Acknowledge that something’s not going to be as it was last time. That’s the doorbell ringing and you know the person is uninvited but you’ll have to be polite even so.
• Appreciate what normal looked like. Why it seemed perfect to go on forever. Happy memories are precious gifts, keep them and be thankful for them.
• Accept what the new might bring that is also good. Isn’t it great when something happens and you know, this is going to be a new tradition?
Each household in my family had to deal with uninvited change. Conversations were different. Instead of a bustling household all trying to catch up on each other’s news, it was two people sitting across the kitchen table eating a meal. Another household prepared all the fixings and then sat down also to a quiet, sedate meal. My mother opted to stay home alone and had her favorite foods all ready to enjoy in the company of her two cats. Our Christmas Day was lazy with brunch and naps and eating leftovers. Maybe we could have done it better with Zoom and such but we didn’t. I’m reflecting on this unexpected change that made Xmas 2021 unusual. I’m not sure I want anything about it to become tradition but if it does, no worries, change will come knocking again and I will answer the door once more.