I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I can’t believe that Christmas is just a couple of days away. With finals and waiting for my infusion to kick in, it took a bit for it to really hit me that it’s the holidays, but now I’m all about it. To get further into the season, I’m strolling down memory lane and sharing my family’s traditions as well as some large memories of Christmases past.
Growing Up – I grew up in southern Maine (outside of Portland), and we spent the vast majority of our Christmases there. We went to the earliest mass on Christmas Eve, which was 4 PM (and it actually gets dark that early!), and it was also the family mass. This was the one with the most families and children, and you needed to get there 30 minutes early at least if you wanted to have enough space for your family. I also spent many years performing at that mass; some years I played the violin with the other instrumentalists, some I sang with the choir, and some I did both. After church, we went to a friends’ house if someone we knew was having an open house or went home and watched Christmas movies. Christmas day was spent in the Portland area, and usually we went up to the Bangor area either Christmas day or the day after and spent time with our family up there.
Christmas since moving to Boston – My family moved to Boston in 2012, and since then we have spent Christmas in Maine. For the first few years we spent Christmas Eve in the Portland area and went to the same mass, but in the past couple we have stayed up in the Bangor area and gone to church up there. The benefit of spending more Christmases up there is that we’ve gotten actual Christmas trees in the Bangor area! In the past, we got our actual tree for our house in Portland (since we, you know, spent Christmas there) and chopped down a Charlie Brown tree for Bangor. While it would still be festive, it wasn’t the same as a proper tree.
Moments That Stand Out:
Post-Infusion Christmas – One of the first years we lived in Boston, I was due to have my infusion right before Christmas because I was living in Nashville at the time and teaching. As in, I flew back on December 22 and had the infusion on the 23rd. This was miserable because I had one day of proper recovering before going up to Maine. My dad and I took the bus to the Portland area, we went to mass, and then it was another 2 hours driving. This isn’t fun for me on good days, let alone the day after being pumped with chemicals. As for actual Christmas, I was okay for the first few hours (although not okay by normal standards) before crashing hardcore. It was definitely not one of my favorite Christmases.
Falling tree – If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you might remember this story. I was sitting on the couch when a movement caught my eye, and when I looked up, the tree was falling in my direction. There wasn’t enough time to do anything but brace for impact, so I held my arm up and caught the tree as it fell right on me.
Photo recreation – We have this wonderful picture of the 4 of us from my sister’s first Christmas (she’s a January baby), and we decided to recreate it nearly 2 decades later. It’s still one of my favorite things.
The giant present fake-out – One time in the past 5ish years, my sister and I each had a large-ish box sitting under the tree for us. They were clearly the same gift, so we waited to open them together, and since we’re at the age where we don’t often get large boxes, we were very excited. We saved them until the end, we had no idea what they could be, we tore the paper open … and they were plastic containers to hold our Christmas ornaments. Great idea, just not what we were expecting.
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